Father and son directors Mike and Paul Street are the first to admit that SHB Hire hasn’t always been great at marketing itself.
However, with some key appointments and a sharpened focus on blue chip companies, it is ready to change preconceptions and win new business.
Formed 40 years ago, SHB Hire is traditionally a specialist 4x4 rental company, but has been working to become a more rounded business offering all vehicle types for hire.
Key to the growth strategy has been the appointments of Nicky Simpson and Steve Harris, from Enterprise and Allied Vehicle respectively, coupled with the revamp of the company’s website, clearer branding and new products.
Simpson, a former Amey fleet manager, is head of fleet solutions, while Harris is head of business development.
“We are winning bigger contacts more often because companies are realising we can offer a complete rental package,” said Paul Street.
“Our customers want more from us. It is a great time for us to build these services.
“We can offer maintenance, help companies build up a car policy and reduce emissions.”
In 2010, SHB Hire bought part of the TLS fleet when the vehicle rental company closed.
This deal saw an additional 1,500 vehicles and two branches purchased, helping the company to grow to its current fleet size of more than 9,000.
It also has more than 50 mobile mechanics operating nationally, 13 depots and seven bodyshops.
However, Street said the company could have seen greater growth, but it has been held back by poor marketing.
“For the past 25 years we have been remiss in our marketing and not actually gone out and told people that we do more than 4x4s, but we are getting there now,” he said.
All of SHB Hire’s fleet, which includes 3,000 4x4s, about 4,500 vans, 500 cars and a number of specialist converted vehicles such as chillers, cranes, tractors and gritters, is outright purchased and managed in-house,.
“We have the knowledge and the ability and feel like we can offer a better management service because we have that experience across the business,” said Street.