No HALT in expansion
14 August 2020
The pandemic hasn’t put a stop to HALT Hire’s progress. Far from it.
The business was founded four years ago in Stockton-on-Tees by Simon Whitfield. It currently has seven employees, all of whom were initially furloughed but they are now all back and working flat out.
“We got a lot of orders in April and May for PPE and hand sanitiser which gave us steady business, and we have been hiring out more equipment as sites have reopened,” says Simon. “And during the lockdown we served a lot of cash customers who were doing projects at home.
£200,000 fleet investment
“We’ve just bought four more new Bobcat mini excavators, taking our total number of diggers to 14, and we may be buying more if an enquiry for three machines on a three-year hire contract is confirmed,” he adds.
“Other recent purchases have included more Stihl cut-off saws, Wacker plates, Hilti breakers and Boss aluminium tower, and we must have spent around £200,000 in the last few months.”
Simon worked for Hire Station for 23 years before forming HALT - whose name stands for the core fleet products of heating, access, lighting and tools.
He has built up a strong local presence. “I initially joined the local branch of Business Network International and their events enabled me to make contact with many other companies in the area,” he says. “There is certainly a lot of work in Teesside, including utilities and telecoms contracts.
“In a sense, customers are almost becoming our salesmen! Tradesmen we deal with might join new companies who use a different hirer. They find the service they receive isn’t as good, and so they ask to hire from us us instead.”
HALT’s most recent recruit is Branch Manager Rob Winship, who has previously worked for a number of national hirers and has all-round sales and operational experience.
Simon tells me that he is in discussion with several potential new, large accounts. He also sees scope for opening other HALT depots in the next 18 months.