How will the hire industry in the UK bounce back after Coronavirus?
Covid-19, the pandemic and the different stages of lockdown that we have faced in the UK over the past year, couple with the impact of Brexit that is yet to be fully appreciated, will have had a negative impact on the plant hire industry and construction. This is a given, as these things have impacted on all areas of life, in every sector, in every household, and continues to do so as neither has come to a conclusion. As yet, we do not know when the world will get back to some form of ‘normality’, as lockdowns continue, and the vaccination process is rolled out across the nation. This could take another year to 18-months, and then we have the added complications of our uncoupling from the EU and the impact that will have on all aspects of commerce, import and exports.
It is difficult therefore, to really see what the full impact of Covid-19 will be on plant hire companies in the UK, or where we will be in, say, a year from now. Over the last few years we have seen that the plant hire industry has not been as affected as the wider construction sector, which has seen a contraction with the upcoming potential worries of Brexit and a general downturn in the economy. In fact, there had been growth in the sector over the last few years, but now we are starting to see a downturn in turnover, which will seemingly only decrease further once we have seen specific figures related to the last year and lockdown.
The idea for many plant hire companies is to come out of the other side with a strong foundation of ideals and robust plans for the future. Safety and the environment have always been two of the biggest priorities within the sector and this will continue to be the case. Driving forward with a focus on these two areas and pushing new technology that helps clients improve and maximise the potential of every single task and every single project will become more important than ever before and we fully expect to see quality continue to rise rather than stagnate, even after the rustiness imposed by Covid-19 and various stages of lockdown.
What we would say, is that if you have an existing plant leasing contract, speak to your contacts there as soon as you can. It is always better to be upfront about any concerns that you may have. If your construction site remains open, it could be that you are already dealing with lockdown restrictions and receiving plant hire equipment in a different way than you have previously. If you are looking at upcoming projects, give a little more time than you usually would to plan and make sure the plant hire delivery schedule is spot on and has room for any errors or potential disruption. None of us can be certain how exactly the industry will bounce back after Covid-19, but we know that the leading plant hire companies will continue to deliver an impeccable service that looks after customers, prioritises the environment and safe usage, and looks to build strong long-term relationships, no matter the wider state of play in the country.