Helpful Hirings

Helpful Hirings is a third generation family business located just outside Thame.

The Foundation

First established in 1963 by Eric Gladwin, the company was one of the pioneers of the hire industry, which at the time was fairly small. Back then, the local competition was limited to Ashtead Plant (currently A Plant) in Aylesbury, JHB Equipment (currently Hewdens) in north Oxford, and LPH (Speedy Hire Services) in High Wycombe. The company’s expansion hasn’t matched the multi-branch operations of huge tool hire companies; Speedy or HSS due to their preference to grow organically, emphasising quality and service. For the first ten years, Helpful Hirings’ office was based out of an old air-warden’s hut and the workshop was a converted chicken shed.


The 1980’s was a prosperous period for Helpful Hirings. In 1988 they took over the premises of Express Hire Services in Rabans Lane , Aylesbury. They are now the longest established hire company in that town.

After significant expansion of both the machinery fleet and an increase in staff, the current facilities at the Thames depot were becoming too small.

In 1989 the decision was made to commence construction on the purpose built premises which is still the company headquarters. The new 7000 square foot building and large concrete yard was duly constructed, which was nearly four times the size of the requirements back then. Low wattage sodium lighting, latest technology oil interceptors and a Klargester Biodisc mini sewerage plant were installed and provision for recycling of cardboard, metal, and oil demonstrated Helpful Hirings’ ecological awareness which was very rare in those days.

The Recession

Unfortunately, the building was completed just in time for the recession of the 1990’s with a mortgage of 15% finalised after the infamous Black Wednesday.

The early 1990’s was a difficult period but thanks to economic circumstances, the foundations were laid for the Helpful Hirings we all know and love today. The company required efficient operation systems, so an MCS Insitu computer system was installed issuing, tracking and invoicing equipment from the front desk to the back office and workshop. A sales showroom was set up selling many well known leading brands of tools and equipment such as Karcher, Bosch, Deaper, Stanley, Countax, and Tsurumi with safety equipment and work boots from SEP and Sterling.

Joining the Market

With the view of being a one-stop shop for their customers, Helpful Hirings formally joined the plant hire market. In line with the company’s ongoing philosophy of quality rather than quantity, leading marque brand such as Kubota excavators and Thwaites dumper were the initial acquisitions, quickly followed by Atlas Copco and Ingersoll Rand Compressors, Niftylift access platforms and Bomag rollers. Over the years they have added a full range of Merlo telescopic handlers, Genie platforms and a selection of Ifor Williams trailers.
In 2003 a new machinery store was constructed to allow them to keep the majority of their equipment under cover. That largely is Helpful hirings but they are continuing to expand and provide excellent customer service.