Gulliver's builds on established base

Founded over 40 years ago by Chairman, Gabe Harding, and running a fleet of around 1,500 late registration vehicles, Gulliver's some two years ago extended its operations from its established truck and van hire to move into the municipal hire market. LAWE Editor, Alexander Catto talks to Managing Director, Philippe Harding, about the move into the waste vehicle hire sector

Gulliver's national self-drive rental fleet serves the national market from its strong base in the West Country from six depots - at Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Gloucester and Newport, plus a recently opened addition in Newbury. The group is also looking actively for premises in Swansea.

Philippe Harding explained that the company went into the municipal area "because three or four years ago we were looking for something else to enhance the business which would fall into the infrastructure we had, ie workshops, personnel, and skill levels. We were already doing crane vehicles and skip vehicles and we had a look around and what we liked about the municipal side of it was that, because of the costs there was quite a barrier to entry. We felt that was a very big plus point for us in that, whilst you can get a lot of small rental companies dealing with Transit vans it's not quite the same in the specialist, expensive market.." Gulliver's spent about a year researching the sector before purchasing its first vehicle.

Currently the company is in the middle of a buying programme, ordering about 300 different pieces of equipment and vehicles, the majority for the core business. The rental specialist serves several aspects of the municipal sector, from street cleansing and RCVs to vans , tippers and cages.

The company has specialised in the Kerbsider at 25, 28 and 33m3 and the fleet also includes skip lorries, crane lorries, gulley emptiers (medium volume), tipper grabs, 32 tonne hooklifts, RCVs in the 3.5, 7.5, 15 and 23 (narrow track) and 26 tonne ranges, plus sweepers at 3.5, 7.5 and 15 tonnes. With current purchases, in all size ranges, coming though, the RCV fleet will be rising towards the 100 mark by the year end. Gulliver's is also currently looking at access platforms.

Recycling market

Looking at the current market for recycling vehicles, Philippe Harding sounded a cautionary note, saying it would be wise to be cautious before investing too much in one product "because we could easily catch a cold two years down the road." Gulliver's for its part is concentrating on kerbsiders and basic vehicles for stillages.

Overall, in discussing the company's entry into this market, the Gulliver's Managing Director pointed out that it was not unknown to local authority customers, who were familiar with the company's skips and other vehicles. In this market overall the Bristol based rental specialist can offer a "one-stop-shop" to municipal customers, including street sweepers and RCVs on a short or long term hire. The company has notched up a contract hire deal, mainly for sweepers, in liveried equipment, with Kerrier Council in Cornwall.

That is an aspect of the business that Philippe Harding would like to see grow. The company is also winning contracts in the private waste management sector.


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