Mirek Chwastek and Mateusz Jedruszek are a couple of entrepreneurs with years of experience building business from the ground up. Mirek has credible experience in the field of Marketing and holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting. He founded the PWF Group which specializes in Labour Hire and is responsible for the day-to-day management. Mateusz Jedruszek created one of the fastest rising demolition companies that garnered more than $10 million in project value in 2016. He built up from zero to one a portfolio of companies in the construction business sector. Mateusz is a civil engineer (TAFE) and is involved as a strategist.
The founders are family members and have known each other since childhood. While building up the PWF Group and Perfect Contracting in New South Wales Mirek has been in charge of projects that required equipment rentals. One of his observation was that the experience of searching and booking the different equipment needed has been consistently poor. When deciding what his next business was going to be, the need for a better customer experience in equipment rental and the environmental impact sharing economy could have on this industry drove his decision to help make things easier in this incredibly big and fragmented industry.
Can you tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
Usually those searching to hire equipment know what they’re after, but why not give them all their options in one place. By having all the tools and equipment in one place I thought it would be easier for people to make a decision and transact. We could not find a system that allowed this, so we made it happen.
Please explain your business model?
Our initial business model was set up so we made 10% of any transaction, but what we learnt from the market was that individuals and particularly tradespeople don’t want to transact online (unless you have a reputable brand) and lets be honest most people would rather pay cash when they see what they’re getting. So we introduced a subscription model ($99 per month) where we charge a monthly fee for businesses who sign up to our platform.
Our initial business model was set up so we made 10% of any transaction, but what we learnt from the market was that individuals and particularly tradespeople don’t want to transact online (unless you have a reputable brand) and lets be honest most people would rather pay cash when they see what they’re getting. So we introduced a subscription model ($99 per month) where we charge a monthly fee for businesses who sign up to our platform. For this monthly fee we load all of their products, create a business landing page and promote them through social and google ad words targeting. If the client doesn’t have great photo’s we also offer a free photography service (within the metro area) to take new photos of their tools and equipment. As a gesture of good faith, we provide this service for free for the first 3 months to prove it’s worth and give them the option to opt out at any time after this 3 months. The way we expect to make money from this is to ensure that we not only sign on new customers but we maintain a high level of customer satisfaction by delivering what we say we’ll deliver each and every time.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
Currently I am working on launching our ToolMatesHire App. We want to have more value for our current users who prefer to use our marketplace on mobile phones. Within the next 2 intensive months we will run a kickstarter campaign to finance our App launch. I am excited about the feedback that will get from an international audience.
How do you make ideas happen?
We try to do actions steps after every meeting. In my opinion it is important to feel after an exciting process of creating ideas the pain of deadlines and project management. We make sure that any work that we do is in the best interest of our customers and our business. If ideas tick these boxes then we are quick to act on them. We’re a young, dynamic, creative team of professionals who want to see nothing but success from this business, so we always do our best to explore every opportunity.
What role have mentors played in your business life?
Mentors are the secret weapons of entrepreneurs because a mentor who already achieved success has a different view on things than someone with less success. They tend to focus on the crucial things for a sustainable business model. We’re incredibly lucky to have great mentors that work closely with the Toolmates Hire team. We have business, finance & technology mentors that help us drive this in the right direction as we’ll as inspiring mentors from within the construction industry that help us understand what the market needs.
What does your typical day look like?
I get up at 530 am, make breakfast for my family. At 7 am I am usually the one of the first at work. In general I switch evenly during the day between the labour hire company that I own and the Startup I launched last year. Like any good dad, I do my very best to get home to be with my family to have dinner and spend time with them before bed time. Once they’re asleep, I’m back working on the business I am so passionate about – that being Toolmates Hire!
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business in Australia?
Our main challenge is digital strategy. As a e-commerce startup, we compete every day for attention with the rapid evolving innovation and demands in a world of more and more complex algorithms developed by companies like Google or Facebook. Also taking a large development project from ideas stage to fruition is always going to be challenging. You need to execute everything quickly without jeopardizing quality or performance as you never know which new idea is working against you in the background.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Dive into the world of tech Startups in contrast to starting a small business. The Tech startup world has flexible business models. As the internet gives businesses the opportunity to reach potential customers worldwide you have more time and more options to adapt a functioning business model. Give your idea a chance of at least one year. See it as a mission.
What companies do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
Ingogo, the Australian “uber” with fixed fares.
What about internationally?
Amabrush – World’s First Automatic Toothbrush by Amabrush
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
From a peer to peer perspective by connecting people who require a tool, with a person who has a tool in the area should trigger a “Trust your neighbour” attitude. From a business perspective, we’re already seeing that the mid size businesses want to disrupt the larger (well known hire companies) by collaboration with other hire companies and individuals on our platform, this is triggering a collaborative business need social change.
Is there a particular charity or social enterprise you support?
We also like to support community projects within the construction industry, by us using our skills to make things better, we personally feel we can contribute.
What 3 websites would you recommend to our readers?
Kickstarter.com, a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity http://sse.edu.au/, want to see what the up and coming entrepreneur’s are up to?
Which 3 Australians should we follow on Twitter?
- Alan Jones Angel – investor, involved in @BlueChilliGroup @startmate & more.
- Cameron Adams – Co-founder Canva. Author. Designer.
- TheSharingHub – Hub representing the Australian shareeconomy
Do you have any opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?
We are always looking for people who like to work in an innovative environment, and who are eager to accept challenges, and find joy in not knowing what’s around the corner.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, what would it be?
How can we improve the usage of our analytics in order to gain more insights for our KPIs?
What’s your favourite bar, café or restaurant?
Definitely a difficult decision, given the variety of bars, cafe’s and restaurants in our area. At the moment, I would highly recommend Young Henry’s Brewery, The CopperMill Cafe and Ester Restaurant