HSS Hire is the UK’s original tool and equipment hire company - we’ve been around since 1957 when Bert Taylor lent his sister a ladder and decided it could be a good business opportunity.
Our very first shop – The Hire Service Company - opened in Kensington followed quickly by more branches throughout London.
The Hire Service Company merged with another local hire company – Hire Shops Limited – and formed Hire Service Shops Limited. (And if you’re wondering where our HSS initials came from, there’s your answer.)
We expanded just as quickly outside of London, adding branches in Birmingham, Southampton, Cardiff and Manchester.
We established specialist divisions, including HSS Event Hire and HSS Lift & Shift.
HSS franchises began to grow internationally, with agreements in Greece, Spain, Holland, Norway, Italy and the Middle East. Our first Irish brand opened in Belfast, and the first HSS Rental Store opened in the US.
In 2004, a management buy-in, backed by 3i, meant we became an independent company for the first time in around 50 years. That led to a more strategic approach with a co-ordinated network of ‘one stop shop’ branches that could hold larger stocks of kit and serve larger geographical areas more efficiently - and it also led to our first multi-million pound contract with Network Rail.
In 2007, 3i sold HSS to Och-Ziff Capital Management Group and Aurigo, the investment company headed by ITV2 Chairman Archie Norman. This provided us with a firm foundation for our ambitious growth plans as we moved towards becoming a more customer-focused business services support provider, rather than simply a high-street company.
It was a year of expansion as we acquired TecServ, an equipment maintenance provider, and UK Platforms, specialists in powered access. We also opened our Training Academy in Reading.
We aquired Scottish generator hire company, Apex, who would join with ABird to provide generators and expertise to over 700c customers across the UK.
HSS Hire Group PLC lists on the London Stock Exchange. But our story doesn’t end here - we’re continuing to invest in our people, our equipment, our network and our services. We’re aiming to win more major new contracts. And we’re committed to making sure that the story of HSS carries on, well, making history.
We won the coveted “Best Employer Brand” award the Recruitment Business Awards for creating a powerful employer brand that communicates our commitment to investing in our people and working environments, but also reinforces the valuable role our employees play in our customers’ lives.