Stronger than before
25 January 2021
Markets like the event industry have been severely impacted by restrictions to control the coronavirus, and companies who normally serve these sectors have faced the major challenge of finding customers in new areas.
One hire business that has adapted successfully is the Energy Group. Before the first March lockdown, the company had three elements in its operation, namely Energy Generator Hire, Energy Generator Sales and Energy Haulage. Now it offers no fewer than ten, the new additions being AV (audiovisual) Hire, AV Sales, Plant Hire, RVs (recreational vehicles), Heating and Cooling, Communications and Power Distribution.
Equipment is supplied nationwide from the family-owned company’s headquarters in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
“More than 90% of our turnover used to be related to the events industry,” said Iain Cooksley, group sales, marketing and operations director. “We had a directors meeting the day after the lockdown was announced and we decided that we could either stay as we were and try to ride things out, or we could fight back.
“We worked round the clock making contact with organisations like the NHS and Crown Commercial Services, and many businesses to see what we could offer.
“Since then we have been able to grow. From having 30 employees we now have 61. We basically believed that if anything were to happen again – as it has in a sense with the third lockdown – we didn’t want to be dependent on any one market.”
As well as supplying equipment from its existing line-up, such as generators, mobile lighting towers, telehandlers and off-road vehicles, Energy Group has invested in additional machines for these new markets.
These include three more RVs for use at events, festivals or for holidays, and 15 refrigerated trailers targeted at various sectors and which the company hopes might prove useful in transporting coronavirus vaccines.
Other recent fleet additions include more static site cabins, mini excavators, dumpers, rollers, forklifts and powered access.
Interestingly, Iain says that the events market has not disappeared entirely. Energy Group last year supplied equipment for Christmas ‘winter wonderland’ attractions, drive-in cinema presentations and outdoor opera performances. He believes that when that sector really picks up again, there should be many more opportunities.