19 January 2022
A seasoned independent tool and plant hirer with 30 years under his corporate belt recently said to me that he wouldn’t like to be starting out now.
The costs associated with setting up any new operation are rising. Machinery costs more, the price of second hand equipment is on an upward trend and lead times for delivery are being extended in many cases.
Energy prices are increasing and inflation is taking off generally, with news coming this morning that consumer price inflation rose to 5.4% in the 12 months to December – the highest rate for 30 years.
Interest rates are also forecast to increase over the coming 12 months and, while still at historically low levels, rising repayment costs might be another hurdle for a fledgling business.
Against that background it might be argued that we will see fewer hire business start-ups in the next year or so. However, there is evidence to suggest that hire entrepreneurs are still out there.
Dean Hammond, global director of account executives with Point of Rental Software, tells me that interest from new startup businesses is strong.
“During the pandemic, many people on furlough had time to think about their future. A lot have decided to have a go themselves with their own operations.
“People who previously worked in larger companies have been phoning me to say they are now looking for a system to get them started. I noticed this particularly from August to November last year – which, coincidentally, was when the furlough scheme started to be unwound.
“Many are coming from a background in tool hire and we are also seeing people starting portable toilet and welfare hire businesses, as demand for on-site sanitation has increased sharply since the pandemic. They see an opportunity here.”
Dean says that interest is particularly strong for Point of Rental’s Essentials system, which is an online package, and for its Syrinx hire management software.
“The choice depends on the functionality needed for the market a hirer serves and whether they require integration with a certain accounting program or service.
“Once we have done an initial discovery call to work out their requirements, we suggest the most appropriate solution from those we offer.”
So there are positive signs. And I’m looking forward to covering stories about new startup hire businesses and expanding operations in the year ahead.
Look out for the first one soon.
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