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W.H. SURFACE Preparation was formed in 2002 by myself Nick Forbes to fill a gap in the hire market for a specialized hire company to offer a unique service across the UK for a range of equipment dedicated to the surface preparation market.

And so the creation of our tagline

"If you fail to prepare your surface, prepare for your surface to fail"


From day one, we have striven to ensure we take the time to offer an expert service with a concentration of the correct equipment for the task in hand, combined with expert knowledge of its use and application added to a strong service regime on all items. Following each hire items are fully serviced with sometimes up to a 50% strip down and rebuild to make sure there is less chance of mechanical failure whilst being used- since most contractors work evenings and weekends when everyone else is shut. We always have the backup to make sure someone is available to sort out any technical problems even if it means having to travel to a site 200miles away after hours.

We have also tried to network between contractors and clients and are frequently asked whether we know contractors who could do the job rather than the client doing it themselves - just as we have networked between manufacturers and end-users to ensure the right product at the right price.

Our client base has grown over the years and you will now find our products are hired by national and local tool hire companies. At the same time, we can offer our customers general hire on a local basis, so if we have a customer who hires a machine from us and travels to a job 100 miles away and then realizes they need an alloy tower or something of a general hire nature just one call to us and we can access a hire company within proximity and arrange what they need while they get on with the job.

In the early days we were asked what the “W H” stood for, it means many things but mainly “We Hire” since we are not contractors (as we would upset 50 percent of our customers who are) and yet with over 20 years in the surface prep hire industry we can offer valuable hands-on experience and pass that on to you. In turn we are always being asked for the names of contractors and looking to add them to our database for future use.

Another important aim of the company was to offer add-on products and ancillary items to give customers a full service from the start of a job or project where a surface had to be removed using blasters, planers, grinders, scabblers and strippers prior to new coating or covering being applied, but then hire of mixing, spraying and application equipment to apply the coating, followed by use of scrubbers, sweepers polishers and biodegradable chemicals to keep the surface looking good.


We have always tried to offer a nationwide delivery service either through our own dedicated vans (which are enclosed large space hi-top vehicles fitted with state of the art sat-nav-computer tracked and fitted with one-ton capacity integrated folding ramps our vehicles are economical to run and comfortable for our drivers) that helps us maintain an excellent cost-effective service - we can normally offer a next working day service before 12 noon if advised the working day before by 12 noon, Additionally, we can offer to our experienced contractors a next day pallet service for less than £120.00 helping to keep their costs down. We also use parcel companies to send smaller attachments and accessories around the UK for less than £25.00.


All confirmed reservations and bookings are non-refundable.


One major saving is that most of these machines can cost several thousand pounds to buy and need regular preventive maintenance to keep them fully operational, whereas they can be hired at a fraction of the cost from us. Customers also have the advantage that if it breaks down or stops working we can swap it usually the same or next day and when they are finished using it we clean, service, test, and store it ready for next user.

Should customers want to buy equipment, we advise them on the correct choice and in most cases refer them back to the manufacturers or when we sell them a machine we offer the service that should the machine break down, they can hire one from us the same or next day at a greatly reduced rate while we inspect and advise what is wrong with theirs. If it is found to be covered under warranty they may get the costs covered and can be assured that we will give back the item in a better condition than when we had it following our in house policy of only allowing clean machines in our building and to be worked on.

If you buy a machine from a manufacturer or other agent all you will get is an RTB (return to base) warranty and so you could lose the machine for several days and would have to hire one in (hopefully from us).


We currently employ experienced staff across all 4 sites in the UK including myself we can offer many years of experience within the hire industry from workshops and transport to hire desk and administration.

Our staff are very flexible and are able to operate within various roles in the business to make sure all departments are kept operational - from our service staff who can also do technical deliveries, to hire desk staff who can service our equipment.

our depots are supported by

Andy nightingale our Area Manager who is ex SPE and has many years of the industry and being from an ex-manufacturer uses his knowledge to give internal and external support to our depots and customers,

Chris Homer our Area Service Engineer is ex Speedy and Travis Perkins and role is to travel around our depots and make sure our workshops is operating all the same to our high standards and can also handle any exterior site problems.

Phil Makin our Call Centre Manager comes to us with many years of experience working for Sunbelt(Aplant) as their call center manager and will be the person who responds to most calls and emails in to the business, he can check stocks and send quotes and reservations immediately.

Nick Forbes, Being the founder of the company (over 20 years ago) and having over 25 years of experience in the hire business with many roles from sales manager, depot manager, plant manager and general manager for a variety of market leaders, I have a greatly varied role at W.H., from Technical Director which involves being able to read the job being requested, convert it into an approx price to hire with plenty of technical literature and instructions, and advise best use and practices, train and certify operators to managing the direction internally on a technical and financial level to ensure the company maintains its standing in the market place.

Between us we are constantly marketing our products and giving great technical advice on the full range of equipment.


Our wide variety of equipment ranges from the smallest hand tool to the largest ride-on scrubber with vast stocks of diamonds and blades to chemicals and coatings - just about everything you would need to keep your surface prepared, cleaned, coated, and maintained, we try to keep a minimum of 3 machines available which is some cases means we have a core stock of 15 to 20 machines. We currently have the largest stock of SPE Floor blast machines for hire in the uk with over 10 machines on the fleet as well as selective specialist machines that very few if no one else hires out, such as ride-on tile removers and 3 phase floor saws to name a few.

We can arrange a site visit ( at a cost) where we come along with a selection of equipment to establish which works best for you and leave it there for hire with the knowledge that it does work.

Using our technical website and the full details enclosed therein on machines, approximate daily coverage as well as full prices, you can easily get a quote on what your surface preparation costs will be.

Some of our equipment can be technically challenging and may fail in inexperienced hands. We, therefore, offer to instruct your workers on-site or at your premises,

We operate from 4 sites in the UK


which (our 1st depot)  is a 4000sqft facility with close links to the m4 and can deliver to the southwest as well as across to Swindon and up to mid and west Wales, it has excellent warehouse and storage as well as workshops. 


operations is 4500sqft based at the busy Trafford park we can deliver and collect to most of the northwest and northeast of the uk within few hours of a call, this site has been operational since 2013 and well-stocked trade counter and warehouse, and can handle deliveries to Scotland on regular basis.

Milton Keynes 

where a 5000sqft building holds a large warehouse, workshop and trade counter facility, again this supports our customers in the east of the uk and has regular deliveries to London, Oxford Cambridge and Leicester with easy access to the Midlands and East Anglia,


in west midlands is a 6000sqft stand-alone building with a large warehouse and central stores to cover and assist the company in its support of its hire fleet from there and is frequently used as a central meeting hub for moving our fleet and central workshops for machine rebuilds

Inside our Dudley depot is  where our central call center is based, it handles all calls to our broadcast numbers for all sites across the UK so we endeavor to offer a full range of surface preparation equipment across the UK

Using modern technology, keeping control of costs and investing in the core equipment of our business as well as searching out new markets and new opportunities have helped us greatly in getting through the economic recession. We have invested in a world leader Orion software (Sirius) in a hire industry computer system which is based in Canada but has many varied users across the globe where a combination of backgrounds constantly feedback to ensure the system is at the leading edge of technology.

With this system, we can offer immediate hire and sale quotations which can be emailed to you within seconds. They can easily be converted into reservations that give us the daily operational needs and then quickly converted into hire contracts and delivery, pick up slips, and finally invoices all of which can be emailed immediately. Furthermore, it also gives us our workshop and fleet information which has helped us invest more than £1000,000 in our hire fleet equipment and accessories.


We have a technical website that we update on daily basis to make sure that all visitors have up to date info on the machine with their estimated work rate and prices, our website also uses an online chat facility where we can interact with visitors take their details and show them around our website to the exact pages they need, we also have a great youtube page where we try to upload as many videos of actual jobs being carried out and these can be used to advise future customers of similar jobs being done. We also use other media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn to keep everyone informed of our product ranges and changes.


We have also offered to purchase from our customers any unwanted equipment for surface preparation and after refurbishment either fleeted them or resold them to other contractors.

We have invested in our workshops and are happy to be members of the HAE and have the SAFEHIRE certificate for all sites to make sure it can handle the variety of equipment by daily testing using modern PAT testers with printers to computerized service records that are completely traceable and help keep track of any or all work carried out after each hire.

we are constantly evaluating our fleet to ensure we have the correct items and endeavor to keep with same products so we have compatibility when machines are hired and can move them around all depots with ease.


Looking to the future, our ambition is to have a network of depots across the UK in most major cities: all within a few hours of each other, all offering the same level of availability, reliability, and service, on a local basis with national support. We want to be the first choice for contractors, factories, construction sites, end-users, and most equipment and coating manufacturers when it comes to surface preparation equipment to hire.

We are constantly searching for new ways to make hiring the right equipment with the right accessories affordable and achievable to current and future customers. This will involve looking at geographical areas where we could benefit from having remote satellite branches to give better service to our customers and save them time and money, but all controlled from a central point so it is just 'one call does it all.

We use the support of our equipment manufacturers such as SPE who can offer on-site or in-house sales and technical training on their full range of surface preparation equipment.


The hire of surface preparation equipment can be less than 25% the cost of a job and yet can have the biggest impact on a coating failure or having to redo the same surface on a regular basis, so regardless of whether you spend £500 or £5000 on your choice of coating just remember our tag line:

"If you fail to prepare your surface to prepare for your surface to fail"