Digitalising The UK Plant Hire Industry


The Plant Hire division of the Coates Group provide construction companies with equipment to rent i.e. diggers, cranes and other building equipment.

The Plant Hire industry generally is heavily lacking in software innovation. Lewis, Coates’ CEO realised that there were numerous opportunities to improve the business that would decrease costs, increase ability to scale and if built initially for Coates could be sold and licensed out to other firms.

Among the issues include:
  • Pen and Carbon Paper transaction and invoice logging
  • Lewis needed to meet the delivery drivers regularly to retrieve their paper invoices and transaction contracts
  • Invoices need to be entered manually into accounting software. Increasing admin time for each appointment
  • Appointments and delegation of jobs are organised using phone calls and text messages, which led to a higher chance of missed appointments or mistakes



Over two workshops we got to know the Coates business and understand which problems were the lowest hanging fruit.

We created a roadmap of features that Lewis and team wanted to see implemented and thought from a wider lens about how or what others in the industry would want to see in a solution.

We used this conversation and developed:
  • A roadmap
  • A flow of what the app would look like


  • Pen and Carbon Paper transaction and invoice logging
  • Needed to meet the drivers to retrieve their invoices and contracts
  • Invoices need to be entered manually
  • Jobs are organised using phone calls and text messages
  • Held two Scoping sessions with Lewis who had been both a driver, a buyer and an owner
  • Built a product roadmap
  • Created a flow diagram of each user’s journey throughout the app
  • Integrated with Xero API
  • Developed using no-code tool Bubble for MVP
  • Saved 1000s of man hours
  • Made it easier to keep records
  • Allowed the Coates team to use saved time to do more jobs and earn more money


As an internal tool and used primarily in the construction industry, the focus for the designs was functionality and user experience.

We made the platform mobile responsive, with a focus on those parts that were being used by the drivers as being highly mobile optimised and the parts that were used by the admin as optimised for desktop.

After a short design sprint we were ready to begin development.


There were two categories of users: Admin and Drivers, so we built two seperate user interfaces.

One dashboard that meant that the drivers could see upcoming jobs and fulfil them the other was for Admin to organise the company on the platform.

Another key element of the platform for Lewis was automating invoices, so we connected to the Xero API, and added numerous automations, including:
  • Automatically adding customers from Xero database
  • Creating Xero invoices directly in the Coates Platform



The Coates’ group saves 1000+ man hours per year through increased effieciency


Made it easier to keep digital records for legal requirements,


Time saved from admin hours has been repurposed into other revenue building activities