Keeping customers satisfied
Having spent the last 19 years building a machinery hire fleet to meet the needs of construction and civil engineering contractors, MSM Hire based in Telford, Shropshire, is diversifying into agriculture.
“Farming is the next phase of our business expansion,” explains Mat Smith, managing director of MSM Hire. “I worked on farms before starting my hire business, and it’s an industry that I’ve always wanted to be involved with.”
He says that after speaking with local growers, he identified a need for cost-effective, fuel-efficient short-term tractor hire. It is a requirement that MSM Hire reckons is now being catered for using Kubota M7 tractors.
“A lot of farms have stepped up with tractor power, and several now find themselves having to run expensive, fuel-hungry models for lighter duties,” he says. “This is where MSM Hire can help growers to save money, with fuel-efficient, cost-effective tractor hire packages.”
MSM Hire’s 150-machine fleet has recently been increased with the arrival of six Kubota M7-153 tractors, supplied by local dealer Battlefield Machinery. Two are on long-term hire working with water and fuel bowsers for the nearby HS2 construction project, with the remaining models providing short-term availability to cover harvest and autumn cultivations for growers.
“I looked at a variety of mainstream brands, but settled on Kubota for many reasons,” he says. “Firstly, the long-stroke four-cylinder engine offers good fuel efficiency; secondly, choosing the right specification is cost-effective; and thirdly, service plans have fixed the cost of ownership.”
“And if that wasn’t enough, there is Japanese reliability backed up by a five-year/5,000-hour warranty. What more reassurance could I need?” asks Mat.
He says the M7-153 tractors are not his only Kubota machines. A pair of RTV X1110 utility vehicles have also joined the fleet, and an R090 loader has been purchased for a specific materials rehandling contract.
MSM Hire’s six Kubota tractors are M7-153 powershift models with mechanical spools.
“I wanted a specification that would appeal to both a builder and a farmer, but also to suit a price-sensitive market,” he says. “After gauging reaction from customers, we’ve decided that front linkage and a 300kg weight block will be added, simply to provide greater versatility with field work.”
He says that row crop wheels and tyres are on the wish-list, to extend the appeal for vegetable and potato growers in the area. And all models have been equipped with fleet telematics for asset tracking, simplifying machinery management across the MSM Hire fleet.
“The feedback we’ve had from customers and operators has been encouraging,” adds Mat. “Unlike the construction sector, agriculture is very much a brand-conscious marketplace, though none of our customers can find anything wrong with the Kubota tractors. The M7’s will do the job as well as any other premium brand – I believe it’s all about getting bums on seats, to appreciate the M7’s capabilities.”
He says that looking ahead, the business is focussed on introducing fixed-term hire deals to provide a solid cost-base for growers seeking long-term rental agreements.
“Based on current performance, the plan is to grow the tractor hire fleet to over 20 models in the next five years,” he says. “And with great service and support from Battlefield Machinery, it’s a target that should be well within reach.”