New Vehicles won’t be a Drain on Coopers’ Resources

Cooper Drainage has been supplying solutions in water management systems for more than 25 years.

The company operates three depots – in Gloucester, Ammanford and Stoke-on-Trent – from which it distributes an extensive range of plastic pipes and fittings to the UK’s building, agricultural and civil engineering markets.

Cooper has recently upgraded the vehicle fleet at its Stoke-on-Trent and Gloucester sites with the introduction of two DAF FA LF45 vehicles supplied by commercial vehicle hire and fleet management specialist, Prohire Plc.

The vehicles were supplied on a five-year, fixed-price contract with maintenance.

The vehicles were modified in a number of ways to meet Cooper’s particular needs. For example, in both cases, the customer’s requirement was to increase the body length in the new build by one metre to allow the extra long cargo of pipes to be accommodated.

In addition, a rear step was incorporated into the build for improved access to the rear body section, while the toolbox was removed. The introduction of the rear step gives Cooper’s staff three points of contact to the rear of the vehicle – an important health and safety consideration – while dispensing with the toolbox allowed costs to be trimmed.

Also, the vehicles’ traditional mesh bulk head was replaced with a solid fronted version, which is expected to give improved fuel consumption and load security was enhanced with the introduction of additional load security poles along the length of each vehicle.

Cosmetically, the vehicles have also been upgraded with an improved livery and the introduction of full address details of the respective locations from which each new vehicle will operate added to the cab doors. Both the vehicle enhancements and livery design changes were handled by Prohire at no extra cost to Cooper Drainage.

Steve Skipp, a Cooper Drainage director, commented: “This is a new relationship with Prohire and they have impressed us with their proactive professionalism. Our Stoke-on-Trent facility is very close to Prohire’s head office, so we had no hesitation in turning to them for advice on the specifications of the vehicles and ultimately placing the business with them.

“Prohire listened carefully to our requirements and configured the DAF vehicles to exactly match the needs of our business.”

Ray Stephens, Prohire’s business development manager, comments: “We like to take a consultative approach to our client relationships and by doing so we are able to share best practice from a wide range of industry sectors.”

Nigel’s Night at the Museum

Prohire’s Non-Executive Director, Nigel Stead, was runner up in the Non-Executive Director of the Year category at the prestigious Grant Thornton Quoted Company Awards, which took place recently at the National History Museum in London.

Hosted by the BBC’s Naga Munchetty, the Awards is intended to reward excellence across the business world and attracts an audience of over 700 guests.

Nigel, who was shortlisted for his work with Vertu Motors, commented: “I have no idea who put my name forward, but it was a privilege to be a part of such a high profile event. The room at the museum was stunning and everyone had a great night.” Nigel Stead, Non Executive Director, Prohire Plc

David Barlow, Chairman and CEO of Prohire, commented: “Nigel has been a fundamental advisor to the Prohire Board since July 2011 and he has made a significant contribution to shaping our strategy and building our success. We are fortunate to be able to call upon the services of someone of Nigel’s pedigree.”

Nigel finished runner-up to Mark Laurence of Dart Group.

Prohire Announce Significant ‘Spot Rental’ Fleet Investment

Midlands based Prohire Plc, one of the UK’s fastest growing commercial vehicle hire and fleet management specialists, has announced a major investment in its ‘spot rental’ fleet.

The company has recently placed orders worth in excess of £2.5 million for some 40 new Euro 5 vehicles – including 20 Renault tractor units and a number of Iveco 7.5 tonne Rigids and Euro 6 DAF 18-26t rigids.

The investment means that Prohire now has more than 200 vehicles – ranging from car derived vans to 44-tonne tractor units – on its ‘spot rental’ fleet.

Prohire sees ‘spot rental’ as an increasingly significant part of its business and the fleet expansion follows the company’s acquisition, in Autumn last year, of RH Rentals.

Dan Stevenson, Prohire’s Rentals Manager, commented: “As the economy continues to move out of recession we anticipate greater take-up of ‘rental’ options across a range of industry sectors and we are well prepared to meet the increase in demand.”

Vehicles in Prohire’s rental fleet can be rented for any amount of time – from one day to seven years!

New Board Level Appointment at Prohire Plc

Commercial Vehicle Contract Hire and Fleet Management specialist, Prohire Plc, has announced the appointment of David Barlow as its new Group Commercial Director (effective March 3rd, 2014).

David is well known in the commercial vehicle sector having held senior management positions with companies such as Hill Hire Plc, Transamerica Leasing Inc and Trailerent in a career spanning more than three decades.

In his new role, David will be responsible for Prohire’s new vehicle procurement and all aspects of the company’s supply chain management through to contract implementation.

To avoid confusion with Prohire’s Chairman and CEO – who is also called David Barlow – David will be known to his new Prohire colleagues as Dave!

Commenting on the new appointment, the Prohire Chairman and CEO said: “We are delighted that Dave has decided to join us. As a member of the Board he will contribute to the future growth strategy of our business and help to build on the significant successes we have already achieved.”

David (‘Dave’) Barlow said: “Prohire is a company that I’ve watched with great interest over the past 10 years. The business is seen as a ‘rising star’ within our industry and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to play a role in the next stage of its development.”

David is married with two grown-up children and lists golf and motorsport among his leisure activities.

New Appointment to Customer Care Team


Commercial vehicle contract hire and fleet management specialist, Prohire Plc, has appointed Sarah Degg to its customer relationship management team.

Sarah will work out of Prohire’s Staffordshire headquarters and her role involves a broad range of business to business tasks.

Michelle Miles-Brown, Prohire’s customer relations manager, comments: “Good customer service is the bedrock on which Prohire’s business is built and Sarah’s appointment has allowed us to free up other members of our customer relations team and this, in turn, will ensure that we continue to deliver the highest levels of customer satisfaction.”

As part of its ongoing commitment to customer relations, Prohire undertakes telephone questionnaires with customers every time they take delivery of a new vehicle to ensure that every vehicle enters service right first time.

“We believe that monitoring customer feedback to our range of commercial vehicle hire and maintenance services helps us to sustain the industry-leading performance standards that we strive for throughout our business,” says Michelle Miles-Brown.

Prohire is one of the UK’s fastest growing commercial vehicle hire specialists. In the last four years the company’s fleet of trucks and vans has more than doubled in size and now stands at over 3,000 vehicles.

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End of the Traditional Dray?

The haulage companies that deliver drinks to customers are not the only area of the transport industry experiencing changes. Vehicle Contract Hire and Fleet Management firm Prohire has noted a shift in the type of vehicles operators are choosing as the rise in off-trade volumes continues.

“We have seen a move away from the type of traditional heavy dray transport that was predominately used to handle kegs towards vehicles with a reduced GVW and a more compact body, while tail-lifts are increasingly seen as a better option than vehicles with a low chassis height,” says Sales and Marketing Director Andrew Morley.

He adds that the emergence of more convenience stores in recent years has also affected the industry and led to the demand for more frequent deliveries of smaller loads.

Manchester-based Prohire client, LWC Drinks Wholesale Service, which makes same-day deliveries to around 6,000 customers nationwide, says it has had to change its fleet as drinking habits have evolved.

“We have now less need for 26-tonne lorries, so Prohire provides us with more 7.5 to 11-tonne trucks,” says Ebrahim Mukadam. “The latest additions to our fleets were 14-tonne vehicles with tail-lifts to allow easy loading and unloading.”

The Hard Truth About Vehicle Testing

Figures recently released by VOSA may show a rise in HGV annual test pass rates, but far too many of the lorries and commercial vans in operation in Britain today are below the general roadworthiness expected by VOSA.

That’s the view of Paul Hassall, operations director of Stoke-on-Trent-based commercial vehicle contract hire and fleet management specialist, Prohire Plc.

Paul Hassall comments: “According to VOSA’s latest figures 77.6 per cent of HGVs pass their annual test. The figure is up on previous years, which is encouraging, but it highlights that a sizable minority of vehicles still fail.

He continues: “The situation with commercial vans is even more alarming. A recent survey by the FTA showed that the first time MOT failure rate for 3.5 tonne vans was nearly 50 per cent.”

Paul Hassall contends that HGV and commercial van operators who fail to maintain their vehicles to the required standards are not only putting their ‘O’ license at risk but are costing their business money.

He says: “Not undertaking regular vehicle maintenance is a false economy. Quite simply, lorries and vans that are not properly looked-after will break down and fail their MOT. And the cost of repairing a fault is invariably more than that of carrying out an ongoing maintenance regime.

“VOSA is also putting more weight behind its ‘O’ license compliance schemes and any vehicle fleet operators whose vehicles routinely fail their MoT are likely to find their business under close scrutiny.”

Prohire’s fleet of commercial vans, HGVs and trailers has one of the highest annual test pass rates in the industry. In the 12 months to the end of September 2013, 99.7 per cent of the company’s on-hire fleet passed its annual test via its network of National Service Providers

“As part of our service to clients our engineers undertake regular routine maintenance programmes which flag up any issues before they become too serious, as well as periodic safety inspections on vans” says Paul Hassall.

“This gives our clients the peace of mind of knowing that their fleets are roadworthy and will not let them – or their customers – down.”

Prohire Announce RH Rentals Acquisition


Independently-owned commercial vehicle contract hire and fleet management specialist, Prohire Plc, has announced the acquisition of the capital assets and business of Nottingham-based RH Rentals for an undisclosed sum.

The RH Rentals operation will be fully integrated within the Prohire business and, to ensure RH’s customers experience a seamless transition, the migration of the company’s existing client contract base will be overseen by the Prohire Senior Management and customer support teams.

David Barlow, chairman and chief executive officer of Prohire Plc, commented: “RH Rentals has a significant rental and contract hire commercial vehicle fleet which is a perfect complement to Prohire’s. The RH fleet includes rigid vehicles, tractor units and vans and these will be added to the range of vehicles available from Prohire to further enhance our offering to the commercial vehicle sector.”

“I would like to thank Paul Jacques, our Group Financial Director, who headed up the acquisition along with the senior management teams of both Prohire and RH Rentals for their professionalism and cooperation throughout the acquisition process.”

Prohire will further increase its fleet size by placing a significant order for new commercial vehicles over the coming weeks.