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HSS Hire

HSS Hire Service Group Limited
Type Private
Founded 1957
Founders Bert Taylor
Headquarters Heathrow, United Kingdom
Area served United Kingdom
Key people Chris Davies (CEO)
Services Tool and equipment hire
Owners Exponent Private Equity
Employees 2,300+
Website Official site

HSS Hire Service Group Limited is a supplier of tool and equipment hire in the UK and Ireland, as well as being a logistical and technical partner to businesses of all sizes. Operating under the banner of HSS Hire, the Group has a network of over 250 outlets. HSS Hire originated in Kensington, west London in 1957. Today it employs over 2,300 workers and has a fleet of over 800 vehicles.


  • History 1
    • 1970s 1.1
    • 1980s 1.2
    • 1990s 1.3
    • 2000 1.4
    • 2012 1.5
    • Minimum wage accusations 1.6
  • Business structure 2
    • Network 2.1
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The company was founded in 1957, by Bert Taylor on Baron’s Court Road, Kensington. Initially known as “The Hire Service Company”, the shop focused on tool and equipment hire.

Bert Taylor opened a further 5 shops during the 1960s across the West Central London area, and towards the end of the 1960s, The Hire Service Company was acquired by scaffolding conglomerate SGB, who owned 8 tool rental shops under the name “Hire Shops Ltd”. These company names were merged to create “Hire Service Shops Limited” or “HSS Hire” for short.


The 1970s saw further expansion of the company across the central and northern parts of the United Kingdom. The first branch opened outside of London was in Birmingham, West Midlands. There was also the first branch opened in Wales, in Cardiff.


Throughout the 1980s, specialist divisions of the company were introduced with the launch of HSS Event Hire and HSS Lift & Shift as separate business units.


In 1991, the first Irish branch was opened in Albertbridge Road, Belfast. Shortly after, HSS were acquired by The Davis Service Group Plc. The remainder of the 1990s saw international expansion with growth gained through global franchise agreements.


In 2003, the Davis Service Group, owners of HSS Hire, announced the sale of the company by means of a management buy-in, backed by 3i venture capital. The sale was completed in early 2004 and HSS Hire Group became an independent organisation.

Throughout 2004, to enable the company to concentrate on its core tool and equipment hire in the UK, the Event Hire division was sold to Johnson’s Hospitality Services and the German operation to Dutch company Pierre Boels. A new retail partnership was also signed with Dulux Decorator Centres, and the first major acquisition since the change of ownership took place with the purchase of A1 Hire and Sales in Bournemouth.

HSS were awarded the Safe-HIRE quality mark by the Hire Association Europe (HAE), in 2006 they were awarded with the HAE's ‘Hire Company of the Year’ award.[1] In the same year the training solutions division secured accreditation for one of its courses from City and Guilds.

In 2007, after 3 years of investment, 3i sold HSS Hire[2] to Och-Ziff Capital Management and Aurigo, the investment vehicle headed by ex-Asda CEO Archie Norman.[3]


October 26, 2012, private equity firm Exponent, buy the HSS Hire Service Group with a view to expand operations.

Minimum wage accusations

In June 2014, HSS Hire Service Group Ltd. was found to have paid several workers below the legal minimum wage.[4]

The company acknowledged that 15 employees were underpaid by a total of £149 in October 2013 but attributed this to an administrative error that had been quickly and proactively rectified. They confirmed a commitment to paying all colleagues fairly and legally and to investing in people and were reported to be 'outraged' at the accusation that they hadn't complied with minimum wage legislation.[5]

Business structure

Key UK services of HSS Hire Service Group:

  • HSS Hire
  • HSS Training
  • HSS Outsource
  • HSS Onsite
  • HSS Onecall
  • HSS Sales

HSS Hire won the Large Rental Company of the Year 2011 award at the European Rental Awards in Amsterdam.

The company holds a 4* British Safety Award. In addition, HSS are ISO9000:20, ISO 14001, Safe-Hire accredited and holders of Investors in People status. HSS Hire also work with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and the government's Health & Safety Executive to promote safety in the hire industry.

HSS Hire have also contributed to community support efforts, with youth training schemes set up for disadvantaged youths in London.[6]


The tool hire market comprises customer sectors ranging from the occasional DIY user to the largest national construction companies. In between falls just about every other industrial group, public sector organisation and specialist trade contractor. HSS is a logistical and technical partner to businesses of all sizes. It has a 250-strong network of Supercentres,[7] hire centres and agencies.


  1. ^ 2008 Hire Association Europe Awards List
  2. ^ : Acquisition by Och-Ziff and Aurigo
  3. ^ : Acquisition News
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Youth Training Schemes
  7. ^ Contract Journal: HSS Supercentres

External links

  • HSS Hire website
  • HSS Ireland
  • HSS Greece
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