Over the last 10 years, the global sharing Economy has grown exponentially, with more and more people sharing their ‘unused assets’ to maximise utilisation and revenue. In particular, the rental of unused high value assets has grown significantly with people now regularly renting out their private cars, camera equipment and even luxury yachts.

The benefits of this allows owners to earn additional revenue and increase profits and for Hirers to find high quality items in one place when and where they need it. Also, we mustn’t forget the environmental benefits to maximising the use of our assets rather than continue to manufacture more and more things that aren’t fully used.

The rental of these assets is usually facilitated by sophisticated web-based platforms which process the entire transaction from user sign up, item search, rental booking and payments. Well known players include AirBnB, Lyft, Boatsetter and Car&Away.

Building Trust and Security into these Services
Sharing Economy companies pride themselves in making Security and Trust their number one priority to protect their users from fraudulent activities. They build manual and automated features into their services to ensure any risk due to fraudulent activity is minimised and, if the worst should happen, their users are protected.

Some of the Trust and Security features used by the Sharing Economy companies include:
• Constant reviews of user activity and communications to identify suspicious behaviour.
• ID verification using machine learning facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence technologies.
• Payment of damage deposits which are refunded after a successful rental.
• Use of well-known 3rd party payment gateways such Stripe and Paypal which carry out verification checks on payment methods.
• Background checks on users including criminal record and credit checks
• Rental terms and conditions built into the platform workflow – forming a binding contract between parties.
• Insurance cover built into the transaction.
• Payments held in Escrow until all parties are happy with the completed rental.
• Independent dispute resolution processes.
• Ability to easily record item condition before and after the rental.
• GPS tracking of items in real time with alerts and notifications on location and usage.
• Review systems to allow all parties to leave review scores and comments after each transaction.

Equipment Utilisation in the UK Construction Industry
The utilisation of construction equipment varies considerably depending on its type and geographical location. Other factors affecting equipment utilisation on a day to day basis include project delays, skilled operator shortages and changing customer requirements.
This means that equipment utilisation often ranges from 50 to 80%, with some specialist equipment being used even less frequently than this.

This poses a major problem to equipment owners who still need to pay for fixed overhead costs such as insurance, finance and maintenance even when the equipment isn’t being used – hitting profitability hard.

The Sharing Economy in the UK Construction Industry
Although equipment cross hiring has been around for a long time, often between mainstream hire shops and between contractors who already have an existing relationship, it hasn’t been made easy by the lack of an efficient way to find and book idle equipment.
Now, however, modern smartphone and internet based workflow developments have allowed new equipment sharing companies to come to the fore to allow contractors and other equipment owners to easily rent out their equipment when it isn’t being used.
This can make huge improvements to equipment utilisation rates, revenue and profitability without the need to employ additional staff to manage hire desks etc.

Of course, there is a requirement to protect users of these equipment rental platforms from fraudulent activity which means the rental platform owners must build in Security and Trust features at each stage of the rental transaction process.

Shareplant.com is the UK’s first online equipment rental marketplace designed for all types of equipment owner – from single owner operators to large national contractors and hire shops. Shareplant allows any type of equipment to be rented out by the hour, day or week and allows owners to rent it out either self-drive or fully operated with their own operator. Hirers can search for any type of specialist equipment by type and location – ensuring they can find the high quality equipment they need, when and where they need it.

For further information on Shareplant and its Security and Trust features check out the website at https://shareplant.com