In the last 10-15 years, the peer-to-peer rental / gig economy model has exploded. Companies like AirBNB, Uber, Lyft, and many others have made it commonplace for people to utilize their personal property as a means to make extra income. As a consumer, the gig economy has made life both more convenient and more affordable. In today’s episode, we channel our inner Guy Raz (host of one of our favorite podcasts, How I Built This) as we talk to the founder of one of the newest peer-to-peer rental companies, Zlatko “Z” Bijelic, about how he came up with the idea for his company - Sparetoolz.
Peer-to-Peer Tool Rental with Sparetoolz Founder Zlatko Bijelic
Zlatko “Z” Bijelic is a Bosnian-born entrepreneur and founder of the Tako Agency. Z’s entrepreneurial spirit started at the age of 10 when he built his first computer. Ironically (as you’ll see), Z actually didn’t do a lot of home renovation projects growing up. After moving to the United States as a child, Z continued to play soccer and eventually his entrepreneurial spirit resulted in an online business - IT and tech support on craigslist. This was his first venture out into the world of entrepreneurship. His first “official” online business was called “Socks in a Box Club,” - a sock subscription service. He went on to found the Tako Agency, a company specializing in web development and back-end web components to help businesses run smoothly. So as you can see, from building his first computer at the age of 10 through founding the app Sparetoolz, Z has always been a creative entrepreneur.
After college, Z found himself working with his dad on some home improvement projects. They discovered that they didn’t have the tools necessary, and Z thought to himself, “certainly there’s an app for that.” He came to find out that no such app existed. He was surprised to find that a peer-to-peer tool rental app had yet to be popularized, and so the idea was planted in his mind. Two years later, Z found himself again working on a project with his father and needing to rent a tool. He searched again and found nothing. This is the moment when Z decided that this project would become his first app.
Because of the personnel and expertise he had already assembled at the Tako Agency, Z went to work developing an app where users could easily rent tools to one another.
It’s essentially an AirBNB for Tools
Their desire for the platform is for people to be able to post tools otherwise not being used, tool-owners can make some money, tool-renters save money and long-term storage space, and the process is all-around more sustainable than the big box store tool rental model.
How Sparetoolz Works
To begin, you simply sign up for a free profile. You’re then presented with a menu of options to choose from.
For the tool owner, you can head to the menu to add tools to your rental arsenal. At that point, the app walks you through the category, tool details, and pricing to get your tool added to your profile. It’s very simple and sleek!
You can also check all the requests for renting your tools here, as well as the status of the tools that you have requested to rent.
Lastly, in your profile settings, you’ll want to set the radius that you wish to look in for your tool rental. You can set your limit anywhere from 20 miles up to 500 miles if you’re looking for something super specific!
For the renter, the home screen is the place to start looking for tools. This is where you can search for a tool in the search bar, or search by tool category by the icon. Once searched, tools in your area will pop up and you can move forward with the rental process!
Sparetoolz is a sponsor of our show, but our honest take is that we really think Z and his team have a great idea going! We aren’t paid to say that - it’s really how we feel! Not only can this save the person renting the tool money and make money for the person renting out the tool, but it can also bring people together in a very cool and new way. Especially as the platform grows, this app could be a way to meet fellow craftsmen in your area and promote craftsmanship in general. It removes barriers that keep people from doing projects on their own by making tools more readily available, and if that helps people love where they live a little more, we are all for it!
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