On Tuesday the 2nd of February 1982, from Kerr’s original premises at 54 Separation Street North Geelong, company directors Gary and Heather Kerr began their Geelong owned and operated hire company. They believed that Geelong needed a locally owned company due to the recent acquisition of Geelong Hiring Service by Wreckair Hire in 1981. The company started with Gary and Heather running the office and one driver/mechanic employed in the yard, help also came from Gary’s parents Reg and Marie.
“On the first day of trading we had 4 customers and $77 worth of sales. By the end of the month we had only $4000 worth of sales. Which made us only able to pay off 70% of our debts. But, by our first birthday monthly sales had increased to $20,000" Gary Kerr Director & Company founder.
From there Kerr’s Northside Hire expanded taking on major contracts from Australian Cement Limited, Pivot Fertilisers & Danum Engineering. With this expansion Kerr's grew out of their premises in Separation St and in October 1988, Kerr’s moved into its new home, a purpose built hire building on the corner of Dunn & Edols St where they still reside today. While moving into their new building Kerr’s Northside Hire installed a computer system that could handle the high volume of customers it had now attracted.
In 1998 Kerr’s expanded its staff to a total of twelve, including a new hire controller and mechanic so the company could better service the growing market in the region. The move of Gary’s son Jarrod to the position of hire controller in 2003 brought a wealth of experience and knowledge of the equipment from the workshop into the front office. In 2005 Jarrod was appointed Hire Manager.
In early 2006 Kerr’s expanded it’s sales & service side of the business to include a larger showroom that now displays ready to use equipment for sale for the building and construction industries. This is complimented by Kerr's service and repair division where Kerr’s already services and repairs several well known brands such as Flextool, Husqvarna, Dingo, Crommelins, Spitwater, Graco & Wagner.
On Friday February 2nd 2007, Kerr's celebrated 25 years in Geelong, inviting all its customers a long to a tradie breakfast. The day included a mini trade show with displays from all its current suppliers as well as t-shirts & stubby holders given to customers & staff that attended.
2009 was a busy time for Kerr's Northside Hire even though the global financial crisis had struck many Geelong industries, Kerr's Northside Hire was still finding the demand for hire was still as strong as it was in 2008. 2009 would also se a major change in the company name where the Northside was dropped from the name and become Kerr's Hire. "Kerr's as a name its the brand for us and we felt that the Northside isolated us to only the North Geelong area" Jarrod Kerr.
In June 2009 Kerr's began discussions with Fagg's Mitre 10 to assist their business by creating a total hire solution to their customers. This new venture included the purchasing of Fagg's Mitre 10 hire tool departments located at both their South & North Geelong Stores as well as giving Fagg's customers greater access to a large range of equipment that was previously unavailable to them. In August 2009 saw these discussions become a reality with the grand opening of the Fagg's Mitre 10 Agency Branches. These branches are now incorporated into North Geelong & Grovedale.
But 2009 was not over not by a long shot. In September Leading Hire located in Grovedale was to shut its doors on the 1st of October. Discovering this Kerr's Hire began making steps to acquire the locally owned business and set it up as Kerr's 2nd branch. This branch gave Kerr's the location and the personnel to grow their business in the southern side of Geelong. Kerr's Hire's customers now benefited from the same level of high quality service and equipment that was only available from their North Geelong branch.
2010 saw huge growth in the Grovedale branch. Kerr's increased their staff to include a full time driver to cope with the increased turnover that they had generated and this growth continued into the following year. In early 2011 Kerr's Hire purchased 2 blocks at 21 Essington St, Grovedale to build a new Kerr's branch for the future. This was due to their current branch being two small to cope with anymore growth. Kerr's new branch opened in October 2011.
2014 marked Kerr's expansion of their sales and service business to include German brand Wacker Neuson. Wacker Neuson’s range includes excavators, skid steers, dumpers, wheeled loaders as well as their world-renowned concrete, compaction and construction equipment.
In December 2016 , Kerr's Hire purchased Bellarine Hire situated at 2-4 Smithton Grove, Ocean Grove. This expansion brings the large range of Kerr's equipment on offer at Kerr's to the Bellarine Peninsular. "We see this as a perfect fit for all of our present and new customers who live and work in the region and this gives us the ability to provide a greater range of equipment to service their needs", Jarrod Kerr. In 2018 Kerr's Hire will move from 2-4 Smithton Grove to a purposely referbished yard at 1 Smithton Grove. The new modern facilties will allow the Bellarine Branch grow for the future.
As we continue into the future Kerr’s Hire will continue to supply customers with high quality equipment and great service. “Feburary 2017 will mark 35 years of business. We would like to thank all of our customers who have supported our business and have watched us grow over the last 30 years. We will endeavor to continue this great service for many years to come,” Jarrod Kerr, General Manager.