With TIP celebrating 50 years this year, we are taking a look at how it was back in the days when TIP was just starting out with a couple of branches in Europe and 300 trailers on rent. Today we are talking with Jim Cleary, the founder of TIP Trailer Rental in the UK.
Could you tell us about yourself and the story of TIP Trailer Rental in The UK?
I started in transport at the age of 16 and worked in various companies. I met Michael Morris (Executive Vice President of TIP) in London in 1969. Typical of him he had me with him on all sorts of meetings he went to, even though I wasn’t offered a job at that point. I asked: “What happens now?” and he said: “I’ll see you in the United States”. I said: “Does that mean you offer me a job?” and he said: “Yes it does”. So I went for training to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia, and then for a week to the branch in Rotterdam.
The first order we got and what this invoice is about (picture down below) was taken by my wife in our home nursing our newly born 3rd child and taking notes from this company saying they want to rent a trailer. And that was our very first ever deal.
And this how I started with the company and then spent 22 years there. Because we were so successful operating in The UK and the rest of the operation wasn’t going as good as it should have gone I was asked to look after France and eventually became TIP Europe Managing Director.
What are the most memorable things that happened with you in TIP?
For me personally, the most memorable thing was joining the company because nobody did rental business in this country. Also securing first contracts and then eventually moving up in various positions within the company.
How TIP has evolved since the 90-s?
It’s been quite remarkable. It’s a tribute to everybody that worked there. And particularly Bob Fast and his colleagues have done a remarkable job to have this type of operation in 100 locations. I dropped a note to Bob on the latest figures –it is way beyond anything I would ever think of.
What advice would you give your younger self?
What advice… I think to look up occasionally from the rental business and see the world outside. I was not particularly keen on selling trailers or providing any additional services which I should have been.
This year we celebrate TIP 50th Anniversary. What words come to mind when you think about that?
Amazing – that’s the word that comes to mind. Here we are. I am 82 years old and I started with this company when I was 33. When I see the growth of the company, that is quite tremendous, I feel proud to have been a part of it. I am delighted that they had such a success since.