Slowdown presents rental opportunites says UK consultant

By Murray Pollok13 January 2009

Rental consultant Will Leftwich.

Rental consultant Will Leftwich.

The current slowdown in Europe's main rental markets presents opportunities for existing players to diversify into new areas or countries, particularly with local entrepreneurs or investors who don't have the necessary rental knowledge or expertise, said rental consultant Will Leftwich of Will Leftwich Associates.

"This is the opportunity and this is the time to act: diversification into new markets...As knowledge of rental services spreads across international markets so there are numerous new entrants willing to start operations in these emerging markets", said Mr Leftwich, an ex-HSS executive with over 25 years in the equipment rental industry.

"We have been receiving numerous enquiries from entrepreneurs and investors looking to either purchase the skills required to set-up new hire operations in their market, or to form alliances with more mature operators either in the form of joint ventures or through franchise or licence arrangements".

Mr Leftwich said there were also franchising opportunities available in markets like the UK where big rental forms were closing depots and letting go of experienced rental staff. He said franchising arrangements could be used to match experienced rental employees who have lost their jobs with depots that are surplus to requirements.

"Many very experienced hire personnel would like to remain in the industry and yet this is unlikely given the shrinking job-pool", he said, "Some are setting up independent operations and others are looking for opportunities. As yet no-one is offering a franchise in the UK...This should be a clear opportunity in the UK just as with many other countries."

Mr Leftwich's consultancy has recently taken on some new consultants, including Michael Bellenger, who previously led HSS Hire's international and franchise operations. The January-February issue of IRN will include a full article by WL Associates on the opportunities presented by the recession.

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