No-nonsense approach pays off for hire firm

Pat McCluskey

AFTER deciding to ‘give it a bash’ and start his own plant hire firm, the owner of Hireline is celebrating ten-in-a-row.

Pat McCluskey founded the company in 2010 after managing Ambrose Plant Hire’s Edinburgh depot. The Preston-headquartered firm decided to pull out of Scotland, leading to Pat’s decision to start Hireline.

The company started life with five mini excavators, five dumpers and some other ‘bits and pieces’ at its headquarters in Dalkeith. Today the fleet comprises of 150 pieces of plant and the business boasts a turnover of £1.3 million.

That achievement is no mean feat. Not only was the UK still suffering from the 2008 financial crisis at the time the firm was launched, Pat was also battling testicular cancer. The secret to his success, he said, is simply having the right customers and team.

“Having a good relationship with customers is massive, absolutely massive,” he told Project Plant. “Our customers know that they can pick up the phone and deal with me or manager, Rab Barber –  they know that we’re not going to give them any bull. If we say we’re going to do something, we do it. We make sure that everyone coming into the business is singing from the same hymn sheet and that we do what we say we’re going to do.

“We’re still dealing with companies that I was dealing with 20 years ago. If you don’t get the support from them, then you’ve not got a hope. Same with suppliers, you’ve got to know them.”

Pat insists that the firm is up there with the ‘big boys’ and constant improvements are sought. He said great emphasis is put on keeping the kit fresh and ensuring the machinery is young and well serviced.

“I want to grow the business,” he said. “We’re actively looking to grow the business – we’re planning on bringing in another couple of people. 

“We want to eventually get to have coverage of the whole of central Scotland. We need to relocate. Our lease is up at the end of next year so we’re going to relocate – we’ll have a place in Linlithgow, probably the Musselburgh area and in a couple of years a place in Glasgow as well.”