With the sharing economy influencing everything from vacation rentals to car rides, it was only a matter of time before the transaction model came to the jobsite. Kwipped, an online business-to-business marketplace, allows businesses to quickly coordinate equipment rentals across 17 industry verticals.
Through the website, construction companies can rent everything from excavators and forklifts to range finders and safety equipment. Users can search through equipment categories, drill down to the specific piece they need to rent, and then submit a request, which is automatically distributed to all of the suppliers in the database who offer that equipment, explains Robin Salter, the company’s chief marketing officer. From there, suppliers can choose to respond with a quote.
The system works to the advantage of both parties, Salter says. For renters, the process is made simpler and more efficient. “Typically, the procurement process requires a lot of research and multiple quotes. ... Our marketplace is a single location where a renter can put in one request and it goes out to the whole network of suppliers. Within hours, they’re getting quotes from multiple suppliers.”
Suppliers also benefit from the site’s ability to aggregate rental demand and bring it directly to the marketplace. This is especially true for smaller companies that may not normally have a widespread network and for companies that are renting equipment as a way to make extra money, rather than as its primary business.
“For companies that aren’t necessarily rental companies, if they have idle equipment they can sign up to be a supplier, rent their equipment, and create streams of revenue that weren’t there before,” Salter says. “If you’ve got a backhoe that’s just sitting there and it’s not being used, why not rent it?”
In addition to opening up additional income opportunities, Kwipped can help save money by allowing construction companies to easily handle their equipment rentals for various jobsites on their own, rather than pushing the process to subcontractors who might mark up prices, Salter says.
The site is also a valuable resource for companies doing jobs outside of their normal business area or jobs that require unusual equipment, he adds. “Whatever equipment you need to get a job done, you can have it. Companies can take on work they maybe wouldn’t have before because they can rent the latest and greatest models without the strain of a purchase,” Salter explains.
Users on both sides of the interaction also can achieve peace of mind from knowing that all of the requests made through the system are verified by a third party. Salter says the company verifies all of its suppliers to make sure they are credible sources, as well as contacting every renter to make sure that all submitted requests are legitimate.
“We do offer a level of customer service. We’re watching rental schedules when equipment is supposed to be delivered and making sure those schedules are being met,” he says.
Kwipped seeks to continually improve the system as the business grows, with plans to implement features like a bi-directional rating system that will allow renters and suppliers to rate their interactions and a rent-it-now feature to bypass the quoting process.
“With the expansiveness of what Kwipped offers, our ultimate goal is to be the go-to place for equipment rental,” Salter says.