Fleet of Fancy

Sales director Tim Gibson explains why younger is better for Hireco’s trailer.

Although it might not have got all the attention of late, Hireco’s bread and butter has always been its trailer contract hire. We are the biggest trailer buyer in the UK and sports a gargantuan fleet in the region of 6,500 units. 70{65d183bc6f846ea3e638a301abf4df0dba82d5cf8dddf7fd02d48654b9407f00} of which are supplied to the country’s top 100 transport companies. Hireco has dived headfirst into so many exciting new initiatives – vehicle rental, a swish new truck stop, and leisure vehicles to name but a few – that the core trailer business has stepped out of the spotlight.

Anything over three years, if it’s not on a contract, is for sale.

One of the company’s trademarks is the age of its fleet, which is one of, if not the youngest in the business, as Tim Gibson explains. “It’s a high-volume, high-turnover business in terms of assets. Anything over three years, if it’s not on a contract, is for sale.

“We retain a lot of the trailers and we generally sell them at between five and seven years. If we had an influx of equipment and it was stood for longer than 30-40 days, we’d look to move it on. That gives us a good degree of flexibility with the fleet, and we keep replenishing it.”

Condition is one of the biggest concerns for hauliers and newer trailers from established manufacturers with a short working life naturally make for a low-maintenance fleet. That’s exactly what even the biggest customers need, for whom low-hassle and compliance are priorities. Our ethos is to make life as easy for customers as possible. Both in terms of the performance of the equipment and its attitude to service.

“Our approach keeps maintenance low and manageable,” adds Gibson. “The days of refurbishing kit at seven years and running it for 15 years are gone for us. That might fit some customers’ models, but most of the ones we’re dealing with won’t be interested.”

We hope to do more this year and push the 2,000 mark.

Hireco has traditionally bought stock at a rate of approximately 1,500 trailers a year. However, assuming demand continues at the present pace, Gibson expects that figure to increase by a third in 2019. “We hope to do more this year and push the 2,000 mark. Customer orders are showing no signs of letting up, which is good.” He believes there is still a degree of pent-up demand among hauliers. Which is a hangover from the post- recession years when trailer sales slowed right down. That, coupled with the company’s focus on customer service, is driving the current spate of orders.

“A lot of people held back in the credit crunch years, particularly with trailers, so a lot of them have since been playing catch up, and the registrations show that. It was very slow from around 2008 to around 2013, so there’s still a bit of pent-up demand. We’re always happy to help customers as they scale up their operations.”

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