SURVEY and safety equipment specialist PQS Survey is gearing up for further growth after opening the firm’s first Scottish branch in Glasgow.

The independent firm, which counts Topcon, Spectra and Leica Geosystems amongst the premium brands it offers, will be marking the Scottish milestone by exhibiting at ScotPlant for the first time this year.

The Scottish depot, located within Hillington Industrial Estate, opened its doors in January following an extensive bespoke fit-out, creating specialist survey and safety workshops, and a trade counter area. An official open day held at the end of February provided the opportunity for customers to see for themselves what’s on offer.

Carl Pick, owner of PQS Survey, explained that he sees scope for growth in Scotland as customers appreciate dealing with independent businesses which offer flexibility, immediate stock availability, product expertise, and a personal touch.

Carl said, “The team has done an amazing job bringing it all together; I’m so proud of them. So much passion has gone into it and the general feeling from the customers as they’ve come through the doors has been, ‘wow, brilliant’. It’s a new company name above the door but it’s the same people with the same passion and the same heartbeat.”

On the decision to open a dedicated branch in Scotland, Carl revealed that when an opportunity comes along at the right time, and you’ve got the right people at the helm, it makes sense to take the plunge. In terms of layout, the Glasgow depot follows the same PQS model that has been replicated in other parts of the country.

“This gives us that extra coverage up and down the UK,” Carl added. “We now operate from Glasgow, Sunderland, Hull, Leeds, Derby, East Anglia, and Milton Keynes, with a few more on the horizon.

“We have a similar model across the whole business. We are survey and safety equipment specialists. It does exactly what it says on the tin. We’re proud to be Topcon’s largest UK distributor. We’re also a key distribution partner for Leica Geosystems.

“Importantly, we not only sell and hire the brands, but have invested significantly in our workshops to give us the capability to service and calibrate in-house; that covers anything from a basic gas detector right the way up to a robotic total station and GPS. Additionally, we have machine control, which is a rapidly expanding sector of the industry (with the trend for) automation on excavators and dozers. That’s working very well and part of our constant product and market evaluation strategy.

“We are continuously investing with our suppliers and key channel partners, something that’s certainly going in the right direction.”

The PQS product basket continues to grow and includes laser levels, total stations, laser scanners and GPS through to cable detection, CCTV drainage systems, noise, dust, and vibration monitoring solutions.

Having worked in the industry for a long time, Carl knows what brands work and highlighted the localised impact of brand preference, where some brands are more popular in one region, while others have a larger market share elsewhere.

“As a business now, you’ve got to be multi-brand, you’ve got to be able to manage the customer expectations,” he stated. “We are well respected by our partners. They know that we will put our best foot forward for the customer and in turn them, every time.”

The Scottish depot, established by northern area manager Craig Stoddart, has created five new roles within the business. It is a hand-picked team, well known within the industry with over 100 years of combined expertise and skills to support customers. The new depot has also produced work for other local firms, with the fit-out completed by a contractor based within the same industrial park.

“When we moved in, the building was a basic shell,” Carl explained. “We had the fit-out carried by our neighbour Curtis Moore Ltd. This use of a local experienced firm gave us close control of the build and kept us on schedule and to budget.

“We have a model in the business; we usually find the people, we find the location, and then we go to work on setting the building up to exactly how we want it. We have a safety workshop, a survey workshop, equipment available for hire zone, and a reception where you can buy consumables. That model seems to work.”

Carl described the survey and equipment market as competitive, but PQS is reacting to customer demand and up for the challenge north of the border.

“When we started the business 17 years ago, we started off with two people. Now we’re up to 75 people and seven locations. The model that we started off with is the model we have now. I’m still very much sales and customer experience-focused; I love talking to customers, helping them, supporting them, and that’s the ethos that runs through the business.

“It’s an exciting challenge. There is a lot of competition, but I don’t mind that. I don’t want to just be the cheapest man in town; I want to be the ones that provide the right equipment, in the right timeframe, and at a competitive price. Anybody can hire a red box or yellow box, and just drop the price. It’s about keeping the margins, allowing us to invest back into the business, and then who knows what we might do?

“They’ve got a sign downstairs calling this the ‘first’ Scottish branch. That’s the first I’ve heard of it! But you know what, there might be more to come.”

Watch this space…