German online rental company, erento, is planning to expand throughout Europe and has just started operations in the UK with the support of Hire Association Europe (HAE).

Launched by entrepreneurs
Chris Möller and Uwe Kampschulte four years ago, erento provides a web portal for consumers and businesses to rent a wide range of items. It acts as an online rental broker, signing up rental companies whose equipment and details are then entered on the erento site.

The company already has over 6900 rental suppliers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland offering over 2200 types of products – including cars, gardening tools and marquees – and is now targeting the UK’s tool rental sector through the partnership with HAE. erento said 1000 of its existing suppliers are in the tool and equipment rental business, and both Liebherr and Wacker’s rental operations in the country are among members.

Twenty-six UK tool and equipment renters had signed up by the middle of February, and HAE will promote the e-commerce site to its members, which will receive discounted set-up fees.

HAE said many UK rental businesses had been put off online renting by the complexity and cost of creating and maintaining an online presence. “We believe erento is the best solution as it takes away the hassle and cost of setting up and maintaining a successful e-commerce site”, said Graham Arundell, HAE managing director.

Clinton Patterson, director of erento’s UK operations, said the company’s aim is to be the top listing in internet rental searches. It wants to be 'one click' away from displaying descriptions, price, distance, contact, and other information.

Once at the erento site, renters can select an item, enter the rental period, and view the ‘likely’ price. One more click sends the enquiry to the rental supplier via e-mail, SMS, or fax. “Our goal is to send our members fully qualified leads,” Mr Patterson told IRN. Rental companies then contact the renter, negotiate final price and close the deal.

Rental companies pay erento for initial set up; for rental of web space based on the number of products listed; and a commission, only if an enquiry leads to a rental.

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