Company News

An interview with Ian Brown, our Sales and Plant Manager

ian brown plant manager rabbit

Ian brings over 28 years of solid experience in the plant and tool hire industry to the Rabbit Group. Highly skilled in customer service and possessing a natural flair for communication, Ian’s true strength lies in understanding exactly what our customers need and ensuring they get the best service solutions from us. His efforts have significantly grown our plant and tool hire customer base by tapping into his expertise in sales and collaborating seamlessly with our teams to deliver a top-notch service experience. During our interview, we delve deeper into Ian’s background, exploring his extensive experience, expertise and the impact he’s made here at Rabbit.

Why did you choose to work in the plant and tool hire industry?

In the 1980s, I gained valuable experience working as a groundworker for several notable companies, including McCabe Civil Engineering, Storrington Contractors and A & G Johnson Civil Engineering. Building on this foundation, I advanced to the role of Site Foreman in Swanley, Kent, where I oversaw the initiation of groundworks and supervised the construction of 52 houses from start to finish. Shortly thereafter, I seized an opportunity to join Sparks Plant and Tool Hire, marking a turning point in my career path.

What was your first role in the industry?

Following on from Sparks Plant and Tool Hire , I was presented with the opportunity to step into the role of Depot Manager at Speedy Hire in Worthing. Taking on this position, I assumed responsibility for catering to customer needs and coordinating the seamless delivery of tools and scaffolding. Before joining Rabbit Plant & Toilet Hire, I worked at Winner Access Hire as a Director for eight years.

What are some of your notable achievements at Rabbit Group?

When I joined Rabbit Group as a salesman, my primary objective was to expand our client base in the waste and plant hire sectors. Leveraging my extensive network, I successfully secured business from several established companies I had been serving since the late 1990s, while also attracting new clients to the business. Building relationships with customers comes naturally to me, as I take the time to understand their unique needs and preferences.

At the time I joined, Rabbit owned and hired out 75 machines. However, with the new business that I brought in, that number swiftly grew to over 150. What’s remarkable is that we achieved this milestone in just two years, two years earlier than our original target. This rapid expansion necessitated the acquisition of a larger yard, expanded workshops and additional trucks to deliver the plant. Consequently, this growth also opened up more job opportunities within the company, contributing to our overall success.

What does your current job role involve on a daily basis?

In my current role, my day kicks off bright and early at 6:30 am. The first order of business is getting the kettle on! Then, it’s straight into checking the accounts and addressing any customer queries that come through via the phone lines. These inquiries start rolling in anytime after 7 am, as customers are eager to order their machinery and get their own day’s work underway.

To keep everyone in the loop, I make it a priority to book the following day’s deliveries into our shared systems. This way the team knows exactly which orders are going out and when, allowing us to keep our customers informed about the expected delivery times for their machinery.

Staying abreast of our customers’ projects is crucial to me, so I often engage with them directly on a one-to-one basis. You’ll frequently find me texting, emailing and calling customers to discuss their orders and address any issues.

I also stay closely connected with our workshop staff and drivers to ensure smooth operations and excellent customer service. That way I can promptly address any issues with the machinery, ensuring that we maintain our high standards of service delivery.

What do you find the most rewarding about your job?

One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is our commitment to always saying ‘Yes’ to every hire and ensuring timely delivery of machines. This dedication to service excellence consistently earns us positive feedback from our customers. Knowing that we consistently meet and exceed their expectations is incredibly gratifying to me.

What unique skills and expertise do you bring to your role and the Rabbit Group?

For me, every customer deserves nothing less than the highest quality of service. It’s simple: I treat others as I’d like to be treated. What matters most in each sale isn’t the price tag but the calibre of both the product and the service we provide. It’s nice to save a few pounds, but not at the expense of failing to deliver on time. That leaves a sour taste in the customer’s mouth and reflects poorly on Rabbit. Our priority is always to cater to our customers’ needs and, in return, they stick with us because they know we’ll deliver.

What valuable lesson have you learned during your career?

The importance of honesty. I firmly believe that it’s better to be upfront with customers, even if it means delivering less-than-ideal news, such as a late delivery. By managing expectations transparently and appealing to people’s understanding, I’ve found that most customers appreciate open communication about a situation. This approach generates trust, ultimately strengthening relationships with customers in the long run.

Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire is an established and expert supplier of plant hire for commercial and domestic building projects throughout Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.

To find out more about Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire’s plant hire services contact our expert and friendly team on 01903 851957 or

Rabbit & Dowling Plant Hire is part of The Rabbit Group of companies, which includes Rabbit Demolition, Rabbit Skip Hire and Rabbit Toilet Hire.