Riding out a tough economic climate

Operating across Wales and Shropshire, Oil Tank Installation Services (OTIS) was founded in 1995 by Andy Middleton.  Now employing eight members of staff the company, which owns two lorries with drags and eight other vehicles, also works with some chains nationwide.

Andy has a history in the oil business, as his father used to work for Shell. Now his own boss, his week is varied – he could be in the office sorting quotes, on the lorry, or out installing.

“My favourite part of the job is seeing a site in its initial state,” Andy told Oil Installer.  “And then being able to bring it up to regulation and really see the difference. For example, we were called to a nursing home in Chepstow for a tank leak. The tank – a single skin tank not up to regulation – had been overfilled.  Within a week we’d replaced it with two bunded tanks. It’s great to be able to see the whole process from start to finish, and we can do it all ourselves because we have the appropriate machinery, such as diggers.”

A growing reputation

The company has a growing industry reputation, winning a range of major clients including the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Duke of Westminster’s estate, National Trust and British Waterways.

Andy said: “The work with the MoD has been non-stop since January. We always have one team on this work; they can be working at any base throughout the country. We’ve been doing jobs for the Duke of Westminster’s estate for six years now which includes a 24-hour service for spill prevention.”

Andy stocks Harlequin tanks exclusively. OTIS is the main Harlequin stockist in UK, and the companies have a close working relationship.  “We do a lot of work for Harlequin with awkward and third party deliveries, and also warranty work.”

The company offers a range of services including tank installation, tank cleaning, and decommissioning sites such as petrol stations.


Although OTIS works with customers across the commercial, agricultural and domestic sectors, the latter sector has been quiet, following a mild winter and conservative spending.

“The average cost of a bunded tank installation is between £1400 and £1700 and the domestic sector doesn’t have that money. The farmers are the ones spending at the moment.”

Now 78 years old, Andy’s father still turns up to the office around 10am, and is always the last one to leave! His vast experience has left him confident of the industry’s prospects in riding out the tough economic climate.

“My father has seen it all before and has advised that if you can wait until people are confident to spend again, you can do well. The key aim at the moment is survival.  Everywhere is struggling but if you can survive, when we come out of the recession, there could be a lot of money to be made.”

“The biggest challenge in this industry is access – and getting the money!”