It’s the party season and you want to throw a backyard bash but where the hell do you get a jumping castle from? We all know that no party is complete without one and as we struggle into adulthood it’s always good to be a big kid from time to time.
Perth startup Hiresquare is the new kid on the block in the hire and rental industry, launching their platform only a month ago, cofounders Jeroen van Zon and Rick Vugts look to cover the whole marketplace. They want to make it easy for consumers to hire anything they want by providing a platform where businesses can rent anything they want.
“We want everyone to be able to hire anything and be able to request quotes in three clicks. So basically you search it on our website and in three clicks you will be able to request quotes from local hiring companies,” says Zon.
There are a lot of products out there that you don’t know you want until you see them. Take for instance a blowup outdoor cinema. You probably didn’t even know of it’s existence until now, and that’s where Hiresquare come in. They have built a two way marketplace that helps businesses connect their products to consumers. No more scouring Google, no more chasing quotes.
“Our focus is really niche and small, but by targeting our online efforts into various niches we’re able to attract a lot of converting traffic,” explained Zon.
Hiresquare is a convenient marketing platform where consumers can search and browse products in key categories including party and events, holiday, sports and leisure, storage, transport, construction and audio visual. The site has an easy to navigate UX and UI allowing customers to click on the item of interest, list their postcode and compare products and pricing from available businesses around their local area.
“When a consumer requests quotes from us we provide them with two or three quotes from the most local or closely located companies, so the consumer can easily compare prices and choose what they prefer,” said Zon.
Last year Hiresquare came out as finalists in the Founder Institute in Perth, a startup launch program for entrepreneurs that is based in Silicon Valley and has expanded worldwide. Since their recognition as a viable startup, Hiresquare has launched and are already pushing $13,00 worth of stock with 250 items available for hire. In the initial stages Zon wants to focus on simplicity, slowly adding new products everyday to increase their conversion rate. Zon has found that narrowing down niches in the market makes conversion a lot easier. He says, “once you have a niche covered you can move on to the next one.”
“We get about 20-25 percent online conversions from consumer requesting quotes and on from those quotes we are able to send them to companies, that is something that’s a lot more interesting than the traffic.”
The rental and hire industry in Australia has 22,000 companies and is a multi billion dollar industry. There are quite a few players in the game, however most of those are focused on the construction market, business sectors or events. Hiresquare aims to cover the whole market because at this stage the industry is fragmented and segmented into groups, such as car and party hire. Zon wants his startup to be the one stop online marketplace for product hire and rent.
Zon and Vugts have many year experience in the online marketplace space in Europe, where they helped small companies to grow their online presence. Two years ago they moved to Australia and saw the same problems companies in Europe faced with online marketing.
“Every time you see them repeating the same thing, you see them struggling with the same thing, they all want to get onto that first page on Google, but they don’t have the time, money or expertise to get there,” explained Zon.
“In any industry it’s just the big players that are picked out on the first few spaces on Google, and it’s only those who can afford their online marketing strategy through adverts,” he said.
Before Hiresquare Zon and his team worked to help smaller local companies to wiggle themselves onto the first page of Google, because anything after that first page might as well not exist. The smaller the company the harder it is to move up the ranks and countless dollars are thrown away to advertising, which is an expensive way to attract traffic for local businesses.
Hiresquare’s two way marketplace works as a business portal for small companies to advertise their products and provides consumers with a space to search for niche items. The startup has built its space upon micro markets and has set up a platform with a dedicated landing page for each niche products.
All businesses that advertise their products on Hiresquare have their own portal where they can see all the requests that come in from consumers. They can choose which leads to respond to and are charged a fee for that response. Businesses can join a monthly membership plan that connects them to consumers and provides them with leads and traction to their site, without the hassle of advertising and competing against the big players.
At this stage the company is bootstrapped and are looking to raise some seed in a series A funding round this year. Zon and his team have built everything internally, giving them complete control of their marketing platform. Attracting capital will help them to scale their business a lot quicker and will assist them in their global expansion, hoping to expand their startup to New Zealand, Asia and America.
Image: Jeroen van Zon and Rick Vugts. Source: Supplied