The HSS/Laois Hire Group is Ireland’s largest rental firm with outlets in every city and a large number of towns across the island. It’s the most well established plant and tool hire brand throughout Ireland and UK.
The combined HSS/Laois Hire Group is an award-winning tool and equipment hire company, providing a complete equipment management and hire service to big businesses, trade and DIY customers since 1957. As the only nationwide hire company, HSS/Laois Hire Group has an established network of 24 hire branches and supercentres across Ireland and has recently launched new branches in Portadown and Belfast, Connswater. In addition, the group plans to open a further five branches this year, including additional supercentres in Cork and Limerick.
Having such a large network of depots nationwide makes commercial and financial sense to their customers and clients, such as BAM Construction’s Plant Purchasing Manager, Brian Behan. “It’s a huge benefit. Wherever we are they’re within a stone’s throw,” he says, adding that, in a business where safety is paramount, “HSS / Laois Hire Service Group is second to none”.
Investing in the fleet
Michael Killeen, managing director of HSS/Laois Hire Group in Ireland, Scotland and Isle of Man says it’s all about giving the customers what they want. “We have consistently invested heavily in our fleet, even during the recession years, in order to maintain a modern up to date fleet and to ensure our customers receive excellent service throughout Ireland,” he says.
The HSS/Laois Hire Group focuses primarily on safety, availability, value and support; working with their customer base to help keep their businesses working safely and efficiently whilst driving down their costs. The group also includes a leading training company to ensure customers and their workforce is fully-compliant and safe.
In 2005 the Laois Hire Group joined with HSS Hire Group and successfully navigated through the recession to see year on year growth. Michael Killeen’s leadership steered the group through the worst the recession could throw at it and allowed it to emerge from the collapse of the economy in good shape to do business.
Part of the success has come from the company’s ability to work with clients on some of the highest profile projects in Ireland including the M50, M7 and M8 motorways, N9, Dublin Airport Terminal 2, Monasterevin Bypass and Intel.
An agile approach to the group’s stock is also an important factor in the success story. “We have an integrated logistics division that moves stock around the country effectively and efficiently 24 hours a day – most impressively when Laois Hire moved an entire plant range across to Beckton in East London for the Olympic Games where we supplied large plant equipment to the large customer demand,” recalls Killeen.
Growth and continued investment
The significant acquisition of Mobile Traffic Solutions, as well as the rolling out of HSS Power and Reintec cleaning service has enabled the group to establish the title of leading specialist tool and equipment Hire Company in Ireland. The company has also established a comprehensive Powered Access Division in the Dublin Greenogue Business Park.
The addition of HSS Power means that the group now offers a complete power solution service, providing a wide range of power generation and power generation related items. It also offers an efficient 24-hour, 365-day specialist back-up and repair service. New capabilities in larger capacity and specialist generators mean that the group can now provide power for all applications up to a massive 1250kVa.
Michael Killeen points out that the group is made up of a number of different sectors under the one umbrella, catering for everything from training, cleaning equipment services, powered access, power, plant, portable sanitation hire to VMS boards and vast expertise in cleanroom environments. Killeen highlights the group’s capability to “supply everything from the start of a site to the finish of a site.”
The recent purchase of JCB excavators from ECI JCB and Caterpillar excavators from Finning Ireland brings the excavation fleet total to well over 100 machines. With a core fleet of 1,600 product lines, available equipment ranges from electric scissor lifts to alloy towers, welders, coolers, heaters, specialist lifting equipment as well as large plant, diggers, dumpers, rollers, and telescopic loaders.
“We have made a substantial investment in our excavation division to meet the increased demands from our customers. We have found JCB to be an excellent brand, trouble free, very popular with our customer base and backed up by an excellent service. We have also found that certain customers will request JCB equipment for certain projects.” states Killeen.
“Regular investment is a vital ingredient in the plant hire market where customers are always looking for the latest technology and innovations,” he adds. “And the investment for Laois Hire doesn’t end there. We plan to make further substantial investments in a wide range of products this year.”
The company has recently secured the agency for Selwood pumps in Ireland and has already placed a significant six-figure order. That order reflects what Paul Mann, client director at Selwood describes as, “The revival of the Irish construction sector – both public and private.”
Selwood says it chose Laois Hire as their Irish partner because it has a remarkable track record, holds a dominant position in the hire sector, but also because of how well the business is run.
Paul Mann adds, “It’s no secret that Selwood is proud to work with family-owned companies. That’s our own story too and having researched the hire market in Ireland for three years, there was no competition. Laois Hire is focused, sharp, innovative and progressive. Michael Killeen leads from the front and has internationalised his business very successfully over three decades.”
Looking at business prospects in Ireland Mann comments, “We are seeing quarries gear-up which has been swiftly followed by construction gearing up. This is reflected in the growth in our pumps division and there can be no doubt we are seeing signs of rapid construction growth, lacking for the past seven years in Ireland, and so it’s fair to say our partnership with Laois Hire is timely.”
Michael Killeen has taken the group to new heights in terms of its business turnover, market share and international standing. By working closely with customers, providing them with a first class service at competitive prices and offering innovative hire solutions, Killeen and the HSS/Laois Hire team seem to have hit on a winning formula.
“Success for a hire company is all about continually adapting to the needs of the customer with the aim of providing a one-stop shop for hire needs across all industries with innovative solutions,” concludes Killeen. “At HSS Hire/Laois Hire we firmly believe that we can provide an unrivalled hire experience.”
Taken from Building Ireland magazine, Spring 2016, Vol 2, No 1