Success by the skipful
9 November 2020
I’ve mentioned in a previous post the idea that the humble builder’s skip can be something of a barometer for the overall economy.
The reasoning is that the number of skips in demand provides a decent indication of general construction activity and the amount of home improvement work taking place.
I’ve been talking to Carly Carter who is hire manager with SkipUK, a sister operation to The Hire Network, which provides a re-hire service for these essential construction items throughout the country. Judging by her experience, lockdown 2.0 has not dampened demand.
“It’s been absolutely manic since it came into effect from 5 November, and it was the same when the first lockdown was imposed on 23 March. Everyone was at home on furlough doing DIY and garden makeovers.
“We thought we might not be so busy this time round because schools are remaining open and people are being told to go to the office if they can’t work from home. And the November weather might mean that people don’t want to work in their gardens as much. But the phones have been ringing non-stop.”
SkipUK deals with construction professionals and domestic cash customers, arranging for delivery through its extensive nationwide network.
“A lot of orders are from builders. We think they are busy working to get jobs completed by the end of the year, and some cash customers say they are having a good clearout before Christmas,” says Carly.
She adds that SkipUK is fielding many enquiries for RoRo (roll-on roll-off) skips which are the largest available in the UK. That suggests there are some big projects going on.
The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index for the construction sector showed that house building was the best-performing area of activity in October, with a rating of 62.4. Total construction activity has registered above the 50.0 no-change mark in each month since June.
All this should be good news for tool hirers. Indeed, one regional player with more than a dozen depots tells me that business has remained at high levels since lockdown 2.0 was announced.
Another hirer which has a branch close to a painting and decorating retail warehouse reported long traffic jams caused by queuing shoppers on the day the new lockdown started. People are apparently staying at home following the recent extension of the furlough scheme until the end of March, and they’re getting on with DIY projects.
Hopefully there will be enough skips to go round.
Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash