What’s driving growth for Spain’s ToolQuick?
By Belinda Smart22 March 2022
Spanish tool rental specialist ToolQuick is seeing increased demand from homeowners. Murray Pollok spoke to Jose L. Aliaga, the company’s founder and CEO.
Spanish tool rental company ToolQuick continues to expand in Spain through a variety of channels, including co-located and in-store locations as well as stand-alone sites.
Jose L. Aliaga, founder and CEO of the Madrid-based business, says the company has benefitted from the increased interest in home improvement, especially during the pandemic.
Homeowners drive demand
“In Spain, people have spent a lot of time at home, and they have been improving their homes”, he tells IRN, “With every crisis, rental is gaining acceptance in the minds of customers.” Revenues last year were around €5 million, and the company employs around 85 people.
The company, which is targeting professional builders as well as homeowners, rents out smaller tools and equipment suitable for renovation, maintenance and gardening jobs.
Despite the pandemic, the business has been expanding its network with partner businesses such as Hilti and builders materials chains Gamma and BigMat La Plataforma (formerly Plataforma de la Construcción).
It now has a total of 29 sites, including four co-located with Hilti, 12 with BigMat (six each in Madrid and Barcelona) and four with Gamma.
The BigMat stores were previously branded ‘La Plataforma de la Construcción’ but were sold to BigMat by Saint-Gobain last summer.
ToolQuick continues to have rental stores at these sites and Aliaga says the two companies are studying how to work together in the future. He says BigMat’s existing rental division, BigRent, will not be a problem for the collaboration.
The company is also developing even smaller outlets, called ToolQuick Express, and these are now at two Gamma stores and two Montó paint and decoration stores.
Aliaga, who founded ToolQuick in 2009 after a rental career with companies including Euroloc and GAM, tells IRN that he wants to have more than 50 stand-alone stores and could open as many as six new locations in 2022.
“I think that 50 stores for sure [is realistic], and I don’t know how many Express stores we will have.”
He says the smaller Express locations can start with a modest investment and with a low volume of business, but there is potential; “We have four now, but if you have 50 then there will be some volume.”
In these locations the equipment is supplied by ToolQuick, which pays a commission on every rental but doesn’t have its own staff at the desks.
Another aspect of its strategy is to be bold in the equipment it stocks. For example, it has a large selection of electric powered machines.
“We are growing in zero emission machines - I think we have the largest selection of zero emission machines in Spain. These are ideal for refurbishment projects – that is our market.”
The electric fleet include JCB’s 1.9 tonne electric mini excavators, Wacker Neuson dumpers and compact loaders, Husqvarna and Hilti tools, Kovaco’s electric skid steer, the Sherpa tool carrier and Brokk’s demolition robots.
“We have to have machines they would like to use, machines that offer a new solution, that they didn’t know they could use”, says Aliaga, “Our business is very good at out trying new products”.
Examples include battery or engine powered Peruzzo robot brush cutters and Hilti’s EXO-01 exoskeleton used in conjunction with its DWS 225 wall sander; “We are always thinking about new ideas, new machines that we’d like to try.”
More stores planned
Aliaga says the key to the company’s future is to continue to open new stores; “We have to be close to our customers. I think a client has find a ToolQuick store less than 10 km away. We have to expand in the big cities of Spain.”
The company’s network is already skewed towards the major urban centres, with more than six locations in each of Barcelona and Madrid, and other locations in Valencia, Malaga, Seville and Zaragoza.
He is also looking for partners to work with in Majorca and the Canary Islands; “These are good potential markets, with a high turnover of properties and lots of DIY and home improvement work.”
A move to Portugal is also on the cards, with a likely opening in Lisbon or Porto. “Portugal has had a lot of economic reforms; the market is growing and it’s more stable.”
He says the business model means that higher revenues lead to higher profits; “We are always making a bit more than we expected each year.”