Getting to Know…Mick Birch: Over 42 years at Total Hire and Sales

Depot Manager, Mick Birch shares his insights from over four decades on the job

Here at Total Hire, we’re passionate about supporting our staff, ensuring that they have every opportunity to grow and develop their careers within the business. Someone who fully represents this ethos is Depot Manager Mick Birch, who’s been with us for more than four decades. We grabbed Mick to chat about his journey with Total, what he enjoys most about his role and how he spends his spare time.  

Can you tell us a bit about your background and when you joined Total Hire and Sales?
I started with the firm back in 1979, I think, when it was called Edward Thompsons. When it moved from Coleman Street and became GF Tomlinson’s in Derby on Victory Road, I moved with it. Back then I started off on the hire desk and have worked my way up from there. It’s great to have been part of Total Hire’s journey, watching it grow and develop as a business.

What job role do you have now, and what are your main responsibilities?
I’m the Depot Manager at the Derby South, so I’m responsible for making sure everything is ship-shape and running smoothly. I’ve worked across all of the hire depots in the Midlands, but it’s great to be back at Victory Road. Liaising with staff, from the powered access team and drivers to the ladies in accounts, is a big part of the job. I also still enjoy serving customers and assessing customer orders.

What does a normal day look like for you?
A typical day is pretty busy and I’ll usually be on site from 6:30am until close at 5:00pm. I’ll usually open up the depot, turn on computers and wait for the powered access chaps to come in. Then it’s delivering customer service and processing orders until lock up. It’s pretty full-on. 

What other job roles have you had in the business?
I’ve had lots of different roles over the past 40 years. For example, I ran the depot at Alfreton for a while, checking equipment before it went out on hire and covering holidays. I’ve worked across all of the departments during my career, so I like to think I know pretty much everything about the business.

How has life at Total Hire changed over the last 40 years?
It’s fantastic to have been part of the business’ development since I started back in the 70s. The range of equipment offered has really moved with the times without compromising on quality or great customer service. Carl and Andy are committed to developing people within the business, giving more responsibility where people want it and helping the team grow. With Carl’s vision it’s evolved 100% from the Tomlinson’s brand and moved up to the next level.

What have been your career highlights?
I think that making Depot Manager is everyone’s ambition, so it’s great to have reached that point. I’ve enjoyed seeing how the business has grown and the customer base along with it. Each depot that’s opened over the years has been a real success story, so it’s great to have been part of that journey.

What do you like about working at Total that has kept you as part of the family for the last 40 + years?
Being part of a fantastic team that’s supported you in just being able to get on with things is really rewarding. You always feel that you can ask a question if you’re unsure of anything and are encouraged to work to the best of your abilities – you’re genuinely never too old to learn.

The business has been through an unbelievable transformation – it’s like being in the Premier league when your team started in the Championship!

What keeps customers coming back?
Great customer service is at the heart of everything we do. It’s about keeping them informed, going over above their expectations and keeping everything running smoothly so they know they’re working with a trusted, quality supplier.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Total?
Personally, being presented a sliver plate for 25 years at Pride Park, was a real highlight. I’ve also worked with some talented colleagues who’ve become genuine friends over the years. Robert Clarke, from Coleman Street, is a great example. He sadly passed away, but there was nothing he couldn’t do to turn tools around for hire the next day – it was a pleasure to work alongside him. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
I’m interested in anything to do with horses and will go to race meetings whenever I can, particularly Newmarket. I’m also a big football fan, although I’m a Derby supporter which isn’t that fun at the moment! Still, I always enjoy the banter with Forest supporters.

Although I work in Derby, I live in Long Eaton and am a real family man – I have two daughters and three granddaughters and just love being called ‘Grandad’.

We also asked Andy Hickingbottom, Director and General Manager about Mick and he didn’t disappoint, saying: “Mick is a genuine jack of all trades and a bit of an oracle at everything. He’s never let anyone down and has been an absolute asset to Total Hire over all of these years. He’s a great ambassador for the company and has always helped me since day one. He’s someone who just makes things happen and genuinely wants the company to do well. He’s also a proper gent to boot.”

For more information on the Total Hire Team, visit