Refuse vehicle supplier and repairer HE Municipal is letting customers try out its latest vehicle

HE Municipal specialises in repairing and maintaining refuse vehicles. Founded in its current form in 2004, it offers a variety of services, including repairs, inspections and remanufacturing along with parts. In addition, from January 2019 they are proud to sell the Inco-Mol range of refuse vehicles.

Dave Prince, Sales Director at HE Municipal, is responsible for the company’s sales of Inco-Mol products. He told FACTS about the company’s expansion and its new demo vehicle.

Although historically a repair company, HE Municipal is rare for also selling vehicles. “We’re probably the only one in the market that offers the full package. We are distributing brand new vehicles, offering customer support vehicles and we do repair and maintenance packages as well as supplying parts. There’s no one else in the market that can offer the complete package.”

By providing the customer a full maintenance package, they can gain peace of mind over the course of the vehicle’s lifetime. When even a small amount of downtime can make a serious cut into a refuse company’s margins, the additional safety net is vital.

“We can fully maintain the vehicle for them over its lifetime,” said Dave. “We can also offer a refurbishment of the vehicle as well, extending its life. With our packages, we can effectively give a five-year warranty on a new vehicle. So apart from any damage that may get caused, there’s nothing extra to pay. They’ve got peace of mind for five years and at the end of that, they can either choose to buy another vehicle or they can have their existing one refurbished and remounted on a new chassis.

“If we get a breakdown called in, we will generally attend the same day or first thing the following morning. On the odd occasion that a vehicle can’t be fixed we are able to supply one of our support vehicles within 24 hours if needed” Dave added.

Expansion

In the last year, the company saw rapid expansion from its traditional stronghold. “Up until I joined in December 2018,” Dave said, “the company generally only covered the South East and London.

“We are now able to cover the whole country. We have service agents all over the country, so we can go pretty much anywhere.”

As part of its longer-term plan, HE Municipal is looking for premises further north to provide them with another facility in addition to their southern base.

Taking over selling the Inco-Mol range in January 2019 was relatively easy for HE Municipal as they already supported the product in the UK for service, parts and warranty. “Currently the Inco-Mol product gets mounted in Belgium and gets shipped over to the UK,” Dave said. “The plan going forward will be to have the body shipped over here and we’ll do the mounting. That’s part of the reason for expanding.”

“The majority of Inco-Mol customers are private contractors. HE’s customers are also council’s as well as mostly in the South East.”

Councils and private contractors

As a seller and maintainer of refuse vehicles, HE Municipal has a unique perspective on the buying habits of local councils. Specifically, Dave has watched as councils have tightened their budgets over the past 10 years. “Councils buy vehicles very differently to private contractors,” he explained. “They buy vehicles on initial cost rather than looking at the lifetime costs.”

“I think they’re going to have to change especially when electric vehicles start to come through, when you need to look more at lifetime costs as opposed to the initial cost.”

Developing new electric vehicles is on the agenda for HE Municipal. “Initially we need to ensure that the body will work on an electric chassis,” Dave said. He did not foresee any issues adding Inco-Mol Bodies onto electric chassis. “They will still work from a power take off which will be electrically fed,” he noted. “We’re coming from the PTO hydraulically, so there won’t be an issue.”

“In the next few years electric is one of the types of chassis to come to the forefront. Especially in London, as vehicles do not have long distances to travel, so electric is one of ways to go forward.”

London will see another important development for refuse collectors due to the imminent low emissions zones. “Private contractors are being forced to buy new vehicles,” Dave said.

Brexit is also causing problems for the industry as uncertainties cause buyers to hold off on buying new stock. “Very few are currently buying anything because of the possible import taxes on chassis coming into the country. So, the sooner this is all sorted the better it will be for our industry.”

Demo vehicle

However, the biggest development for HE Municipal is the development of its first demo vehicle. “Inco-Mol have never had a demo vehicle before,” Dave said. The refuse vehicle will be touring the country allowing perspective buyers to try it out before buying it. As well as offering outright purchase, HE Municipal also has the facility to offer contract hire and finance packages to the end user.

Based on the Econic chassis, it is a 26-tonne rear steer chassis that can pick up between 120-litre and 1100-litre bins. It also has skip lift for picking up skips. “It’s ideal for private contractors, as a lot of these collect construction waste, comprising of plasterboard, bricks etc, which shows what a robust piece of kit the Inco-Mol product is, but likewise it is equally at home being in a council contract collecting green waste or household waste, making it a very versatile vehicle.”

For more information: www.hemunicipal.co.uk