Meet the MD: Colin Inglis of Eagle Plant Hire

Meet the MD: Colin Inglis of Eagle Plant Hire

Colin Inglis took over Eagle Plant hire ten years ago, providing plant hire equipment to companies involved in construction, and has since grown the team from 2 to 18 employees. Business Growth is at the heart of what he does, and with no two days the same, Colin is always working to ensure he is driving the business forwards. He caught up with BQ to share how he does it....

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

I am managing director of Eagle Plant Hire, a company I bought in 2005. My role is quite varied and there is no such thing as a typical day.

Company growth sits at the heart of our activity.  Since taking over the business eleven years ago, we’ve grown the team from 2 to 18 employees.   

I’ve got a strong team to support me in driving the company forwards and I’m very focussed on constantly reviewing our offering to make sure that we meet and stay ahead of market demands.

What is it the company does?

We provide plant hire equipment to companies involved in construction - from house building and civil engineering to utilities.

Back in 2005 the focus was on providing local and DIY tool hire, but that has evolved to the point where we are providing equipment on a large scale from our Dennistoun base.

Now the business supplies all kinds of hire tools, plant and equipment to large and small companies across Scotland’s central belt.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

My first break was selling advertising space for a small publishing company, International Magazines, who published award winning magazines such as Homes and Interiors Scotland. I developed with them, and during this period of cutting my teeth I also invested in other businesses and property. I was looking to invest in some commercial property in the East End of Glasgow and heard about a building that was coming onto the market. It was a happy coincidence that there was a plant hire company in the building! We bought the company along with the building, and as they say, the rest is history.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Being hands on across all areas of the company to get a good feel for exactly what is happening on a regular basis. I also think relationships with staff are vital, working with them to achieve their own goals as well as the company’s.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Like so many businesses, steering the company through the last recession was the biggest challenge I’ve faced.  The skills and talent of the team and being fairly small and agile allowed us to take advantage of new opportunities during that time and the business came out of the recession in a stronger position as a result.  

That learning has made me very aware of the need to diversify our business model to ensure that our equipment suits the needs of the market - not only to fulfil orders to support Scotland’s increasing housebuilding activity and vital infrastructure projects, but also help to attract other people from varying sectors to hire from us.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Exercise definitely works for me - it helps me to see things more clearly. As the knees and joints are getting a little older I have stated cycling - or as my wife would say, having a midlife crisis!

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don’t know if I ever had a clear idea of exactly what I wanted to do, but I always wanted to work for myself. As for when I grow up, I will think about that one!

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
I am very fussy about the presentation of the equipment going out on hire. I would hate to see any of our plant being dirty or not properly prepared.

Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Continuing to build upon the solid growth we have seen since 2005 and operating across all areas of Scotland to support the country’s vital construction sector.   

Just a few months ago, we purchased 40,000 sq. ft. of additional space opposite our original premises.  This marks a big step-change in growing the business and allows us to invest in and store new equipment.   

We also plan to grow the team and will be recruiting for another three members of staff inthe coming months.  The future is certainly looking bright for Eagle Plant Hire.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Four things: always keep going; consistency in everything you do is key; listen to what the customer wants, and finally, surround yourself with a team of good people and perhaps people who are better at certain things than you are!