Australia’s first tool-focused marketplace

We build the ToolMates marketplace web application using HMVC PHP platform. We integrated all the latest technology including cloud search, Google Mapping, Advance search by pining tool on map, about 32 payment gateway supporting all around the world, extra ordinary security feature with best performance. Advance dashboard panel with a complete business management system including invoicing, best sales tracking, refunding etc.

Insight

ToolMates Hire Pty Ltd was incorporated in September 2015 and the company develops innovative peer-to-peer service products via a marketplace web application. Sydney Online Marketing developed a new cloud-based software product that consolidates the whole rental life cycle which includes a new search algorithm that allows users to compare rental pricing of tools owned by third parties.

Our algorithm allows users to perform the following functions: search and locate the tools required,  enquiry, registration. ToolMates authentication using our internal process and that of other channels such as:

  • social media,
  • response generated from the owner of the tools or ToolMates,
  • security with 3 layers of application,
  • payment,
  • successful delivery,
  • successful return of the tools and owner generated condition report.

Our system requires a simple interface capable of meeting different user needs and levels of sophistication.

The two co-founders of the business have many years of experience in the tool business and worked with a consultant to conduct further research in this area. Currently, customers have to rely on a highly fragmented market with different suppliers for each type of tool. The location of suppliers is also often distributed long distances apart which makes it inconvenient for customers who need access to different tools. Furthermore, due to difficulty determining the price, quality and service offered by each supplier, customers have to rent their most critical equipment from unreliable and non-transparent suppliers.

ToolMates platform offers upfront pricing and guarantee availability in a one stop destination for all rental needs and serving owners and user needs.

The platform allows those with unused tools to rent them out and generate some income while those who need to rent tools can search on a convenient, easy to access platform. Customers can specify the location and distance when searching for tools which allows them to minimise traveling time required to access them.

Currently, there is no technology available which meet these requirements in the tool rental market. Competitors only offer business directories or online yellow pages as sources to look for tool rental. We are able to offer prices up to 40% cheaper than the big chains such as Kennards and Coates.

Goals

We started with a peer-to-peer solution and have never steered away from the original purpose of the business, but over time there’s been a number of pivots to the direction of the business.

#1 Quality of tools

We’ve learnt that users want to hire quality tools, so we onboarding hire companies and built a business directory. Currently we have 34 hire companies that are listed on our website.

#2 Building the number of tools

Outside of onboarding businesses to fill the marketplace, we’ve started contacting Brands to ask them to list their tools on our website. Users should be able to search by brand & model (if that’s the way you wish). Currently we have 3105 individual tools available on toolmateshire.com.au

#3 Option to buy

We stand by our peer-to-peer business plan, but we’re looking to open the option for customers who normally hire, have the option to buy the tools on our platform.

Processes & Implementation

When our project began we were unable to locate technology which incorporates the marketplace environment for a tool hire business and we are required to build our software from the ground up. We needed to build a unique automated payment solution interface to communicate with several third-party supplied systems.  We need to build our geo-location algorithm. We developed our cloud-based database.

New modules we built

ToolMates plans to develop and test the new algorithm to ensure that it works reliably and within the technical limitations of its product. It also needs to test both the algorithm and its peer-to-peer marketplace to ensure that it could streamline the tool rental process and  guarantee availability for users of the platform.  We intend to extend our system into a mobile app environment, including software that could identify the tool image using AI recognition technology.  This process involved experimental testing and evaluation which produced new knowledge.

Customer PayPal Module

The desired functionality is for our platform to simultaneously pre-authorise the bond or item guarantee while doing direct payout to multiple vendors and capturing or refunding money according to the terms and conditions.

Hypothesis: We identified a technical challenge arising from one renter hiring many products from many unknown vendors. To secure money and products of the vendors it is necessary to create a complex payment system. Our advance Payment module APv1.0 will enhance the Bond, Guarantee Money simultaneously with complex data extraction from renter and multiple vendors.

Observation: We were trying to refund money to buyers from different vendors through one platform like ToolMates Hire.

Evaluation: We created a program to adapt the Paypal payment with this complex business model which didn’t exist before. We needed to go back to revise our approach, using what we had learned from the experiments with previous versions of this module.

Conclusion: We created easy access to money, refunding and freezing money in the account as well as easy accountability.  Our new knowledge is that our desired functionality can be achieved.

Advanced Search Module

Our desired functionality includes an extensive search algorithm to search tools nearby for users of the platform. Users are allowed to add their distance which creates a custom search radius and pins the tool on the map.

Hypothesis: We will build our search algorithm ASv1.0 to enhance the ‘Sine & Cosine’ direction and “Latitude and Longitude” data extraction tool.

Observation: Getting data from unknown source and extracting data for those people searching from unknown data extraction tool.

Evaluation: We are creating an algorithm based on our data. Due to technical challenges we were required to have a fresh start and revise our approach.

Conclusion: Showing the tool on the map offers easier access to the tools for users of the website.  After many revisions, a workable module was developed that proved that the new approach to data interrogation (a subset of the SKA dataset) worked and accurately returns relevant data, this is our new knowledge learned.

Business Feature Module

We are building this module based on the AAA (Authentication, Authorisation and Accounting) principle. This allows businesses to sign up to our platform on a subscription basis which automatically grants them additional privileges (such as featured and highlighted tools)

Hypothesis: To develop a Multiple vendor System that enhances ecommerce AAA (Authentication, Authorisation and Accounting) for keeping data safe and secure.

Observation: We are creating a database architecture using complex data provided by many unknown vendors safe and securely. We had challenges to secure the role of access for many vendors and companies.

Evaluation: We iterated the enhanced data extraction tool to deliver a faster interrogation and return until we reached the specific technical parameters we had set out to achieve. Furthermore we created a sophisticated ACL (Access Control List).

Conclusion/new knowledge learned: We have developed a new Database architecture design to implement AAA in a new way.

Results

Since May 2017, ToolMates have had 26,000 individual users on the website.