A year ago PM Commercials picked up the Independent Dealer of the Year trophy at the inaugural CM Awards, with one of the judges particularly impressed by the company’s attention to detail.
The company, based at an immaculate 1.6-acre facility on the Rushock Trading Estate in Droitwich, Worcestershire, has a clean, hard-standing yard with no sign of mud, puddles or oil, creating a highly professional image, similar to a franchised dealership. There are also attractive offices and a modern, purpose-built workshop and wash bay.
MD Paul May tells CM that despite the smartness and cleanliness of its yard, as well as the professional way it presents its vehicles, his company refuses to rest on its laurels.
“It was always going to be a difficult task to improve once we had been voted the best in the industry, but we have not sat back and rested,” he explains.
“We have tried harder than ever to make ourselves even better, and this is what we have achieved over the past 12 months.”
PM Commercials, which specialises mainly in the sale of rigids and drawbars of all makes to customers across the UK, normally has about 50 trucks in stock, most having covered between 200,000km and 300,000km.
They come from a wide range of sources including leasing companies, as well as direct from operators, and low mileage is usually more important than age.
May says: “Our turnover has gone up by 31% to more than £8.5m, and our profit is also up a healthy 42%. Sales of trucks are up from 337 to 398, which is one and a bit more per week than the previous year.”
PM Commercials can arrange for vehicles to be modified - for example wheelbase and body alterations - and offers a full painting and livery service. The firm appoints a dedicated specialist sub-contractor to handle each task, ensuring that its high standards are maintained.
In addition, every vehicle is washed and prepared before sale. “Our alteration and conversion service to chassis and bodies has grown, giving hauliers what they want and not just what is on the market, which traditionally was always the case,” May adds. “We have purchased the latest in diagnostic equipment from Jaltest to be able to access all manufacturers’ software, which means our vehicles are prepared and repaired properly.”
Over the past year PM Commercials has doubled its office space to accommodate growth in the business providing more room for its administration and sales staff. The company has also made improvements to its yard.
May says: “We have Tarmacked the entrance to our premises, not only to enhance the site but to try and minimise dust to keep the yard cleaner, something we are very proud of."
“All signage at the premises has been replaced with new illuminated ones displaying our new branding, and landscaping has improved the light quality in our vehicle photography area.” More than 50% of the company’s sales are now made over the phone, so the way it presents its vehicles online is of major importance.
When PM Commercials purchased a new company camera earlier in the year, staff were given a lesson onsite on how best to photograph its trucks. May says: “Many customers don’t visit our premises, so this has helped no end in making deals over the phone, once again showing commitment to getting it right and not misleading them in any way.”
PM Commercials rewarded its staff with a 10% salary bonus at Christmas 2016, has arranged trips to rugby matches, a four-day trip to Spain and facilitated days off for children’s school events and sporting fixtures. The company also recently hired a new member of staff to develop the company’s social media presence.
May concludes: “All in all, it’s been a busy time that has involved selling more trucks, working harder to find the right stock, preparing them and delivering on time for our customers. We may not be the biggest in our industry, but I think we won the award again through our consistent hard work, initiative, professionalism and ability to work as a team.”
Paul May worked with his father John - who ran second-hand truck dealer Chaddesley Commercials in Kidderminster - for 15 years. During this time May developed his preference for dealing in rigids and drawbars and picked up the nickname “the drawbar kid”.
In 1998, May parted company with his father to set up PM Commercials, and after renting a yard for about 12 years he purchased the current site, 10 minutes from the M5.
As a business with deep roots in the local community, this year it supported the local carnival by providing two DAF curtain-sided 18-tonners free of charge.
PM Commercials has the motto “where quality comes first” and key values include service, politeness and keeping the customer informed about the progress of a job through photographic evidence.
CM Awards judges commented that PM Commercials is a customer focused business with a loyal and hard-working workforce, specialising in a niche rigid marketplace and making it its own.
They said its impressive submission demonstrated customer commitment and investment and they liked the first-class testimonials from a wide range of customers that confirmed the dealer delivered on time.
- Check out our dedicated PM Commercials dealer page if you're in the market for a truck - it's full of the latest deals.