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Duncan Howard leaves Speedy

Duncan Howard, a previous owner of Platform Sales & Hire, has left Speedy Hire two and half years after it acquired the business.

Howard has spent his entire career to date in the access industry, having started out in 1996 as a junior sales representative with Instant Zip Up, based at its depot in Brewery Road, London, where he worked alongside Richard Miller who later went on to establish Panther Platforms and Star Platforms. When Instant Zip Up rental business was sold to Hewden, he remained with the sales operation - which became UpRight UK - as salesman, working alongside Chris Caney.

In 2002 he and Caney left the company to join Richard Miller and Brian Fleckney in the new company Panther Platform rentals – setting up a sales division – Panther Platform Sales. Two years later he and Caney left to do their own thing, setting up Platform Sales & Hire in Leighton Buzzard.
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Chris Caney (L) with Duncan Howard on selling their company in 2017

After the recession hit in 2008 the two began shifting the emphasis of the business away from being a mostly sales orientated company towards more active player in the day to day rental market, leading to the acquisition of Bucks Access Rentals in 2010.

A branch was added in Birmingham in 2012, and then in 2017 they sold the business to Speedy for £7.1 million in cash plus £3.6 million of net debt, valuing the business at £10.7 million. The two principles remained with the business with Caney running Speedy’s specialist sales division, until he retired at the end of 2018, while Howard remained with the rental operation that became part of a new specialist powered access rental operation within Speedy.

Howard told that his departure from Speedy was totally amicable stating: “I really enjoyed my two and a half years with Speedy and wish them all the best with the PSHL brand and Powered Access industry.”

He has no plans at this stage to start another business or join another company but is looking forward to spending time with his family. Speaking of his career to date he said: “I will always be grateful for the opportunity Richard Miller gave me to learn my trade with Instant Zip-up fresh out of college, and also to my business partner Chris Caney for his help and guidance in the early days. Not forgetting, of course our fabulous team of employees, past and present whom I would personally like to thank for all their hard work and expertise.”

Vertikal Comment

Duncan Howard has been a first class example of a nice guy succeeding in what can be a bit of a rough and tumble industry at times, with its far share of rogues, ‘sharp operators’ and ‘wide boys’ as well as more than its share of good guys of course. He has taken the opportunities presented to him and made the most of them thanks to hard work and good practice. He is though only in his mid 40s so it is entirely possible that we will see more of him in the future, although he is probably very thankful at the moment that he and Caney sold out when they did.

No matter what he decides to do going forward we wish him the very best in his endeavours.


A true Gentleman. A credit to our industry. Enjoy the family time you have earned it.

Aug 6, 2020

Congratulations Duncan, If your timings are as good on your golf swing Tiger has a challenge. Have a good rest mate, were all looking forward to a nice afternoon somewhere with a few cold ones. Good luck with the new road...

Jun 6, 2020

Its that Choir boy smile, gets them every time my man! Congratulations, enjoy watching from the sidelines, its going to be a bumpy ride!!!!!

Jun 5, 2020

Steve Couling
Congratulations Duncan - Time for a family break! Best wishes, Steve

Jun 5, 2020