“Do you want a job?”
Self-employed at the time, recently married, not enough on his books to secure a mortgage, a young Les Bunce left his business as a mechanic and re-joined the business he’d started at as a Saturday boy when he was 13 years old. Originally, the deal was that he’d return for six months, collect some capital, and get back to being a mechanic…
25+ years later, and he’d become Travis Perkins’ Group Hire Operations Manager for National Direct Hire and a pillar of the hire industry.
“I’ve got the hire industry in my veins, I suppose,” Bunce said.
From Shop to Ops
He started off on the workshop side of the business, which he’d initially found most interesting. But when his boss left shortly after Les returned to the industry, Les applied for that job and found his forte in the operational side of hire.
From there, he joined Travis Perkins, where he ran the first branch outside of central London to achieve £30,000/month in hire revenue. As he made his way up the chain at TP, he became known for his ability to deliver on promises.
“I had the mentality of just saying ‘yes’ to everything,” Les said. “So I would say yes to every single hire, then regularly be panicking around where I was going to get the equipment from, what I was going to do…Part of my thought process with it is, if you’ve sold customers properly, that customer will always come back to you. Sorting their problems is a good trait for me.”
That trait also made him a great fit at Point of Rental.
A New Challenge
“Coming and talking to Mark and Simon…it’s reignited my spark,” said Les. “ How they want to build the company, grow the company, and develop the processes and product with the benefit of that industry knowledge.”
Les joined the team in December 2018 as the company’s 150th employee. He’s already enjoying life as an Account Manager, getting out and talking to customers, seeing what Point of Rental can do for them and how the company can develop its products to benefit current customers and customers in new markets. As someone who’s spent his career in the hire industry, he’s uniquely qualified to understand the issues companies are facing and to help them solve those issues moving forward.
“I’ve been there, I’ve probably suffered the same pain as they are,” Les said.
Cracking the Code
The hire industry hasn’t taught him everything he knows, however.
Les goes fishing as much as he can in his free time, and has an annual trip with a group of his friends from throughout the years. While he’s not willing to share fishing stories beyond the time an overnight session resulted in one of his mates ending up in a hospital (Note: and nothing beyond that, either), he’s happy to share the lessons he’s learned on the other end of the hook to his career:
“With fishing, there’s a lot of time thinking about what the fish are doing, tinkering with the bait, the rigs, etc., and there are a lot of times where you don’t catch any fish at all,” said Les. “Try, try, try again. Eventually you’ll crack the code. And once you crack the code, you’ll catch lots of fish, or make lots of sales, or keep lots of customers happy.”