Hirepool Rental Vehicles
Hirepool’s LCV fleet is diverse and hardworking, reports Annie Gray.
Vehicle rental company Hirepool Vehicle Rentals has carved an important and growing niche for itself in the light commercial rental vehicle market taking care of recreational, business and commercial clients. And it has some pretty impressive diversity amongst its clientele. Hirepool’s national vehicles manager, Tony King, says about four and a half years ago the Hirepool Group took over Henderson Rentals in the North Island and Rhodes Rentals in the South Island rebranding the merged group as Hirepool Vehicle Rentals. It now has a fleet of almost 900 rental vehicles in the light commercial market and is growing. The Hirepool Group also has its own inhouse fleet of around 200 vehicles. The rental vehicles need to be versatile for the many tasks they are used for. The rental fleet comprises utes, cargo vans, mini buses, furniture trucks, flatdeck trucks, tipper trucks and curtain-side trucks. There are about 300 utes which are primarily Toyota Hilux and include single cab, extra cab and double cab, flatdeck and canopy utes. In turn the 200 or so minivans and cargo vans for hire are predominantly Toyota Hiace and Ford Transit. The trucks, which are all Isuzu, range from two tonne to 10 tonne and include mainly tippers with a mix of curtainsided and flatdeck or boxed bodies for clients wishing to move furniture. King says all the trucks have a door-lift for ease of shifting bulky items. As to its clientele, it is a diverse customer base, says King. Through the original Henderson Rentals business the company has a strong relationship with the film industry and before the merger the company worked
on Thehobbit films and at one stage had more than 100 vehicles rented to the film production company. Hirepool also has a major government account with the NZ Defence Force, and has been providing vehicles to the NZDF for more than seven years. King says the Defence Force uses rental vehicles for moving small numbers of troops around and for major exercises. Hirepool recently had more than 100 vehicles involved with Southern Katipo 2017 which the force’s website says is New Zealand’s largest military exercise, held every two years in different regions of New Zealand. The company also has clients in the civil, construction and transport industries as well as a good number of smaller clients. “We do cater for a mixed market, it might be people who want a 4x4 ute to go off the seal and tow with or minivans for groups, schools or sports teams.” There are also the furniture removal trucks for weekend house moves. The wider Hirepool Group has a 60-year history in New Zealand and has more than 70 branches nationwide. Along with the vehicle rental division, it also has its extensive general equipment hire division, a portaloo and portable hire division and an event hire division (Continental Event Hire). Replacement of the rental fleet comes via a vehicle lease model and King says the fleet is getting younger and younger with an average age of four to five years and they are aiming for that to move to three to four years. Maintenance of the rental fleet is outsourced to the manufacturers although the company has three inhouse mechanics within the rental business and the age of the fleet means they fall into the spot where the warranty holds until the three-year, or 100,000 kilometre, mark is reached. The fleet is operated by a rental vehicles programme designed for that market called mdrive which its manufacturer describes as “a fully integrated, functional management system … suitable for large or small operations, covering all rental activities as well as fleet and financial management functions”. King says the inhouse vehicles run on Hirepool’s own asset system. A lot of the company’s rentals are medium to long term or in the six-month to two-year bracket. So, is it a difficult business to run? King had many years in the tourism rental market and says the company does not have the seasonality tourism rental vehicle businesses must contend with. It’s very focused on the domestic market and is busy 10 months of the year. Accidents are managed internally and a good percentage of the large customers are self-insured although Hirepool also helps manage that. Health and safety is hugely important in the wider Hirepool group as a sector of the construction industry and with the hiring of tools, health and safety is always paramount. King says there are strict procedures and protocols around all aspects of the Hirepool businesses. All the rental utes include extra safety features such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits and beacon points. As to electric vehicles, King says they haven’t moved into the EV market as yet. The company is open to looking at electric vehicles but in the light commercial vehicle market there are not many EV models. However, in the wider Hirepool group electric excavators are starting to hit the market.