Eagle puts on weight

By Mike Travers



Colin Inglis: “What we are now seeing is a trend where rates are not the only criterion.”


Continued investment by a Glasgow plant hirer has seen it assemble one of Scotland’s biggest fleets of Kubota mini excavators.

Eagle Plant has almost doubled its Kubota holding to 27 machines over the last year and has moved into the 5-tonne sector for the first time with the acquisition of a number of U48-4 models. And managing director Colin Inglis said the spending will continue.

“We bought our first Kubota in 2008 and although we have a few other minis in our fleet, our preference is for the reliability and durability of the Kubotas. They’re tough machines and the customers like them so that’s a strong combination for an independent hire company like ours.”

Kubota U48-4

The U48-4 has seen Eagle move into the five-tonne sector for the first time.

In fact it was customer demand that convinced Eagle to bring five-tonners into the east end yard. “Companies who hired other plant and tools from us were keen for us to become more of a ‘single source’ type of operation where they could get everything they needed with one phone call. So when they started asking for certain types and sizes of machines it was logical that we consider adding them to our portfolio. The five-tonne Kubota was one of those machines.”

As well as the new five-tonne models Eagle’s Kubota holding now runs the gamut from micro K008-3s through to the KX015-4, KX61-3 and U27-4 models. A number of JCB and Bobcat machines complete the mini excavator line-up…for now. “We plan to increase by around the same amount over the next 12 months to move the fleet closer to 50 machines,” said Inglis.

The company has been spending freely across its equipment ranges in the last 12 months, doubling the size of the concrete equipment fleet with items such as ride-on and pedestrian powerfloats and setting up a traffic light division. It remains on track for another increase in annual turnover and Inglis said the reliability of the Kubotas has helped maintain margins. “What we are now seeing is a trend where rates are not the only criterion when customers look to hire. People want to deal with smaller independent hirers, with people they can put a face to. They want reliable equipment and high levels of service and during the recession we never compromised on that. Our customers appreciated that approach and it has paid dividends in the long run.”

Inglis is also happy working with Kubota dealer Young Plant Sales which he believes shares his philosophy on customer care. “We have similar thoughts on service and support. They’re responsive, react to our needs and understand our business.”



Kubota Jarvie-Plant-1024x682

FLASHBACK: David Jarvie of Jarvie Plant (right) takes delivery in 2014 of 50 Kubotas from Brian Young of Young Plant Sales. Another 50 followed this year.

♦ Eagle has a way to go before it can match Jarvie Plant, which has bought 50 Kubota minis this year to add to the 50 it acquired from Young Plant in 2014. The latest package ranges from 0.9 to 8.5 tonnes and includes a number of zero tail swing units.

Both hirers work with Young for other equipment. Grangemouth-based Jarvie runs Kubota tracked dumpers, recently adding its first KC250-4 to work alongside previous model KC250 machines, and its latest shopping list to the dealer also included 20 Socomec breakers for fitting to the minis and it has taken a number of Hyundai excavators. Eagle, meanwhile, recently boosted its Bomag roller fleet to 12 with the purchase of another two machines.



Article posted 17/11/2015