New App Changing The Way Construction Contractors Use Equipment in Western Canada

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New App Changing The Way Construction Contractors Use Equipment in Western Canada

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In the construction business, heavy machinery such as excavators and bulldozers can often sit idlebetween projects. But thanks to a new sharing app, the days of unused equipment may soon be thing of the past.

 

For example, Contractor McGuire & Hester, based in Oakland, California, got tired of staring at unused gear and decided to lend its equipment and raked in $100,000 in rentals in a little more than a year.

The online rental platform it used was Yard Club. Founded in 2013, the San Francisco business allows contractors to easily rent machinery to one another for weeks at a time. The rentals in turn allow businesses to boost revenue in between jobs.

Construction equipment rental already is a greater than $40 billion industry annually in the US and Canada. But start-up Yard Club is trying to one-up more established networks by showcasing its easy-to-use, online community. Members are pre-screened and construction fleet inventory is detailed virtually so posting equipment to rent and accessing specific gear are easy tasks.

The rental process was “seamless,” said Mike Haley, equipment manager at McGuire & Hester.

The platform is catching on. Yard Club got more validation last year when construction giant Caterpillar contributed an undisclosed amount to a new round of funding as part of a partnership.

Avoiding construction ‘pain points’

Yard Club also illustrates how quickly the sharing economy is evolving. Early examples of the model—that essentially connects individuals with consumer-facing services and businesses—include lodging rental app Airbnb and ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft.

Now the sharing economy is enticing established companies to jump in—before they’re potentially disrupted by upstarts.

 

Yard Club is a peer-to-peer business play that maximizes the use of equipment that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. For construction companies that can afford such big expenditures, there’s no guarantee the investments will pay off. And small- to medium-size guys can’t afford such expensive gear.

Big construction outfits have been renting large equipment for years, while other businesses loaned gear through handshake agreements that were honored but not always the most efficient route.

After witnessing such “pain points” with his father who worked in construction, Evran said he knew he could invent a better model. “Idle time is hard to swallow,” said Evran. “If you ask anyone in the industry this is probably the No. 1 issue on their mind.”

Caterpillar, in turn, is hoping for an ever broader reach of customers. “The Cat dealer will use this tool as another avenue to strengthen customer relationships by increasing the utilization rates of heavy equipment and lowering the total cost of equipment ownership,” said Phil Kelliher, Caterpillar’s vice president for Americas distribution services, in a release.

Here’s how Yard Club works

Vetted members can lend or rent machines to other contractors through Yard Club’s online platform. The company takes about 20 percent of each transaction, depending on the equipment.

As part of its expansion plan, Yard Club has now become available in regions including Arizona, Georgia and western Canada in conjunction with Caterpillar dealers. The company’s distributors are able to use Yard Club’s platform to rent equipment.

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