Dawsonrentals has opened a new van centre near Milton Keynes as it moves to ramp up its presence in the light commercial vehicle sector.
The firm bought the three-acre site in Betchley in July 2013 and with a total investment of £1.3m has transformed it into a facility able to house up to 2000 vans for flexible business to business rental and contract hire.
Founded in 1974, Dawsonrentals has a long history in leasing HGVs and trailors and went into the van rental business three years ago under the Hiregate Vehicle Rental banner. With the launch of its fourth LCV site; the others are based in Skelmesdale, Doncaster and Newcastle; the directors have rebranded the division as Dawsonsrentals/vans to align it more closely with the main business in order to benefit across the established customer base.
Steve Millar, group managing director, said: “We see this as a springboard to driving our van rental division forward in the coming years.”
In 2014 Dawsons plans to open three more van rental centres, in Ipswich, Bristol and Maidstone, Kent.
Chief executive Mark Williams said a minimum of 500 vehicles are required to support a dedicated van site and added that currently 4000 of the group’s 18,000 assets are LCVs, sourced from Mercedes, Volkswagen, Ford, Nissan and Peugeot. The firm’s ambitious growth plans include purchasing 2500 vans in 2014 and expanding its fleet to more than 20,000 vans within five years.
Williams said Dawsons provides flexible rental deals usually covering a period of months.
“We provide everything, the vehicle and the support,” he said.
“You can change the vans for bigger or smaller models and you can take on more or less vans. It’s a competitive offering”
He said customers include service industries, delivery firms and telecom companies as well as small businesses. Most rental deals are for at least 10 vans and Williams said Dawsons is targeting businesses that currently buy their vans but want to move into contract hire.
With Dawsons’ service desk open to customers 24/seven Williams claimed: “Most manufacturers would struggle to give the same level of service.
“Flexibility is the key word, customers may not want a van for three years.”