TOOL hire giant HSS has continued its relentless pace of launches to mark the introduction of its 2002 Hire Directory.
The company has unveiled a credit scheme for small contractors, 44 new products and a Groundcare division to service the growing market for maintaining golf courses and other sports facilities.
The new products include a narrow-width, glass-reinforced plastic access tower, a portable band saw, a hydraulic post hole borer and a 10 tonne drum lifter.
Furthermore, the Hire Weld welding division launched an 800 amp dual-operator welder and an air-fed grinding visor.
The small contractors' credit scheme, called Tradecard, is aimed at companies that do not need a monthly account.
It allows them to acquire hire equipment on credit without requiring a deposit, and gives them a 10 per cent discount on hires plus free technical advice.
The HSS Groundcare division is unparalleled in offering short-term hire, said managing director Lister Fielding: 'The notion of doing a week's hire on these products is almost extortionate, they are so productive.
'There has been an explosion in the number of golf courses and sports grounds and, while we may have missed the initial investment, rental has to be an attractive option for the owner's future equipment needs.'
New equipment includes a powered flail arm, a 60 hp tractor and rotary mowers with blades up to 3.2 m in width.
HSS also unveiled an expanded one-way trailer service for customers who have to deliver plant to contractors on the move.
'It is remarkable that no one in the UK to date has got this service. It is no problem for our business to cope with the fact that people want to pick up in one location and deliver to another one, ' said Mr Fielding.
HSS also reported a good first year's take-up of its scheme for independent builders merchants that puts an HSS branch within the merchant's premises. 'It has been extremely well received. We are now looking at extending the agency concept to other areas.'
While Mr Fielding would not disclose the exact areas, the firm is more likely to be interested in targeting facilities management than DIY stores.
Mr Fielding reiterated HSS's antipathy to national supplier deals. 'We don't bid for them because we believe it is an excuse to drop prices. We have lost some volume from national suppliers, but we still deal with them.
We don't try to be the cheapest but we give good value.'
andrew. gaved@construct. emap. com