Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 3°C

Search

Ipswich/Kesgrave: Plant hire company delivers a big lift in employment

10:45 06 February 2014

Fork Rent chairman Guy Nicholls with director Trudi Nicholls, left, and managing director Elaine Miller.

Fork Rent chairman Guy Nicholls with director Trudi Nicholls, left, and managing director Elaine Miller.

Archant

Plant hire business Fork Rent has carried on growing over recent years, despite the recession, and is now preparing to enter a new era.

shares

The firm, based in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, along with sister company Trucks R U, is seeking planning permission for a new headquarters on former quarry land in Kesgrave.

Fork Rent was launched in 1972 − originally under the name Guy’s Hire − by Guy Nicholls, now chairman of the company, and he was later joined in the business by his sister, Trudi, who is also a director.

Their father, the late Percy Nicholls, had launched a truck rental business, out of which Trucks R Us developed, in the mid-1960s, and the sibling team took over both businesses when he died, around 16 years ago.

Fork Rent, which has increasingly become the main focus of the business since the late 1980s, has grown steadily, first by supplying the larger building firms locally, then starting to work with national builders on their sites within the local area and, now, working with many of them regionally and nationally.

In 2011, Guy and Trudi brought in Elaine Miller as managing director, to support the further development of the business which, despite the ongoing recession at that time, was already achieving significant year-on-year growth.

The reason for this growth, 
said Guy, is that while many competitors cut back on investment 
in response to the tough economic climate, “we rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in”.

Trudi added: “They have battened down the hatches and stood still; we have invested in new machines and have gone after new business.”

Besides keeping the age of its fleet young, rather than attempting to extend the life of equipment with the attendant problems of reliability, Fork Rent has also adopted a policy of investing in specialised and high-specification units, so as to offer customers the best possible tool for the job.

Growth since 2011 has seen the company’s workforce grow from 35 to about 80 and the number of telehandlers, the mainstay of its fleet, from 900 to more than 2,000, enabling it to trade with more customers than ever before.

An investment in IT has also enabled it to offer an improved service, in the form of data on key performance indicators which can be shared with customers, showing how the machinery on offer can make them more efficient, as well as being used for Fork Rent’s own internal management.

Besides telehandlers, its fleet includes excavators of all sizes, suitable for uses ranging from digging garden ponds to building roads, together with rollers, sweepers, access equipment and utility vehicles, plus attachments. The total fleet numbers more than 3,000 vehicles.

The planned relocation to Kesgrave − to an eight-acre former gravel working off the A1214, more than three times the size of its existing home in Felixstowe Road − involves 
the construction of purpose-built offices and workshops which will also accommodate the Trucks R Us business.

The proposed design features separate office and workshop areas, linked by a continuous roof, together with landscaping, although the sunken nature of the site will itself limit the visual impact of the development.

“Green” features of the design include a timber screen to cool the office building, selective glazing to maximise natural daylight and rooflights to provide natural lighting in the workshops without overheating. Both locations are owned freehold, with the Ipswich site likely to be 
sold for residential development, subject to planning permission being secured for both it and for the new Kesgrave headquarters.

Besides offering the space to accommodate future growth, the new facility will also make operations easier, with the present site suffering from a relatively narrow frontage while extending a long way back from the road.

However, even if planning consent is received, the move from Ipswich to Kesgrave is still a year to 18 months away.

In the meantime, the company also has plans to add to its network of depots.

shares

1 comment

  • A good news story about a successful Ipswich based business. Well done Guy Trudi and Elaine and all the other employees etc . Shows what hard work and dedication can do for you .

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

Remi Morrison is pictured at Pump and Grind in Ipswich.

Love is the theme this week as venues in Ipswich celebrate Valentine’s Day with live music spanning from blues, reggae, rock and soul.

Poilce investigation work at the scene of the accident on the A12 at Martlesham Heath.

A 20-month-old little girl died on Friday afternoon after a crash on the A12 in Martlesham on Thursday.

Peppa Pig's Surprise

The half-term holiday is nearly here and Ipswich Borough Council has plenty of things to keep youngsters busy and active – whatever the weather.

The junior doctors strike at West Suffolk Hospital in bury.

A Suffolk hospital boss has denied supporting the imposing of a contract on junior doctors after his name appeared on the “key” letter that led to the decision.

Stock image of the area.

A teenage motorcyclist is in a critical condition in hospital after a two-vehicle crash in Ipswich last night.

Stock image.

A fire believed to have been caused by a mobile phone overheating under a quilt “destroyed” a bedroom in Colchester on Friday night.

The 30-acre Walton Green North field has been earmarked for housing by Suffolk Coastal.

Proposals have been put forward to build 385 new homes on the edge of Felixstowe – opposite another field where permission has been granted for 190.

Former footballer Marcus Bent. Pic: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

Former Ipswich Town footballer Marcus Bent has escaped being sent to jail as he was sentenced for confronting two officers with a meat cleaver and a kitchen knife while in a “delusional” state under the influence of cocaine.

Front elevation large single family home

Home re-possessions drop to an 11-year low

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24