iSeekplant.com.au reaffirmed its market dominance in the newly formed online plant and equipment space, with incredible growth recorded since the beginning of the year off the back of their model which they say is ‘right for the industry’.
This monumental growth will continue thanks in part to a capital injection from backer Seven Group Holdings, announced last month, which will enable iSeeplant.com.au to ramp up sales and marketing and continue to invest in its technology platform.
Since January this year, unique user numbers hit highs of 40,000 per week searching for plant and equipment to hire for projects spanning residential construction, civil, agriculture, roads and infrastructure and major mining projects.
They attribute this recent growth to the way their platform has been built for ease of use, and engineering know-how. “Our goal is to deliver high quality matches between contractors and suppliers. When a contractor searches for a machine, we don’t flood them with 100 different unsuitable supplier options and we are not trying to be the middle-man. Our platform will return the best machines and suppliers according to the equipment type, location and availability. Beyond that, we facilitate a conversation between the two so they can do business without our interference, and on a one-to-one basis,” says Sally McPherson, CEO and a founder of the business, launched in 2011.
A slew of major contractors, including Clough, Downer EDI and BMD Constructions are using iSeekplant’s bespoke cloud enterprise platform ‘P3’ (Plant Procurement Platform) to manage their preferred supplier relationships. The Fleet Office, a specialist in plant telematics, are using P3 to source and manage plant deployments on behalf of the Tier 2 powerhouses Monford Group, SEE Civil and Hall Contracting. 2700 other contracting businesses spanning the construction industries have used the public website to find plant at least once in the last year. Every single Main Roads registered contractor in Queensland and Western Australia has used iSeekplant to source plant, at least once, during the last calendar year.
Almost 500 new plant and equipment hire companies registered for the service in the first two months of 2016 alone, expanding their database by 15% in 60 days, with over 65,000 machines now available for hire. This saw the company double their monthly revenue run rate.
A ‘low-touch’ platform, they say, is the key to making the industry more efficient. “Making sure contractors and suppliers are able to talk about their requirements is essential. Plant hire contracts are complex, and we want to maintain and further our customer’s relationships with their clients, not build technology that destroys essential interaction,” says McPherson, who is passionate about plant hire, being born into the industry in North Queensland.
“The key to our platform flying is building something that works for everyone, and that doesn’t cause additional pressure on market hire rates, increases competition beyond what we’re currently experiencing in this downturn, or makes anyone’s life harder just so we can monetise it,” says McPherson, who firmly believes they are on the right track to a total marketplace model in everyone’s best interests.
This approach is certainly working to grow the company, as it has hired an additional 11 staff across Australia.
The company is also making a name for itself as the outspoken voice of the Australian plant hire industry, which is highly fragmented being mostly made up of small owner operators.
Their blog, ‘The Flapping Mouth’, has 65,000 readers, and 38,000 people follow the company on social media – up 20 per cent in the last month alone.
iSeekplant was created in Queensland in 2012 when friends and colleagues Matt Peters, Shaun Whittred and siblings Drew and Sally McPherson combined their skills in construction, mining, development and technology marketing. General Manager, Drew McPherson, said 2015 had been a defining year for the business but 2016 will take it to a whole new level.
“We have kicked some amazing goals in the last 12 months, signing some major contractors onto the platform and raising capital from a new cornerstone investor with incredible reach in two of our key business areas – media and plant and equipment,” Mr McPherson said.
“Our technology is continually evolving to provide a better service to help the fragmented plant hire sector become more efficient. We’ll continue to invest in our public site, and our private portals for contractors so they can better manage panel supplier relationships.”