One of the first equipment rental companies in Georgia – Georent – has ambitions to develop the local rental market for light equipment and longer term to enter the adjacent markets of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Roin Gigiberia, co-owner and founder of the company, which is headquartered in Tbilisi, told IRN that since its creation in 2010 Georent has been working to develop a rental culture in Georgia, something that hasn’t been easy.
“We don’t have a mentality to rent at all – even myself, when I started, I had to go to Estonia to see that it was real”, said Mr Gigiberia, who was speaking in Amsterdam during the recent European Rental Association (ERA) annual convention.
His move into rental was prompted originally by a business contact in Estonia who alerted him the potential, and his company still has Estonian backing, with one of the three owners coming from the country. Before his involvement in rental he was a local government official in Poti, in west Georgia.
Georent started renting Haulotte scissor lifts and SDMO gensets (up to 400 kVA) and has now added Dinolift trailer mounts, UpRight access towers, Geda hoists as well as grinders, hydraulic hammers and excavators. The total fleet numbers around 200 units.
A second depot was opened in 2015 in Batumi on the Black Sea coast, and last year a third location was opened in Kutaisi, in western Georgia, which brought the staff numbers up to 20.
“Georgia is an empty rental market now, it’s just developing”, said Mr Gigiberia, but there is no shortage of construction activity, with a lot of infrastructure projects underway; “Now in the morning we have a queue outside the branch.”
He tells IRN that Georgia is a good entry-point for those interested in doing business in the Caucasus region – the area between the Black and Caspian seas which includes parts of Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – and he hopes that Georent will move into Armenia and Azerbaijan in the future.
The company also has a sister business, Hydroscand Georgia, which is the Georgian representative for Sweden-based Hydroscand, the specialist in replacement hydraulic hoses and valves for construction and other machinery.
Mr Gigiberia attended the ERA convention and the IRE show to learn from more mature rental businesses, and to visit suppliers.
He said the depot visits were particularly useful; “I saw a big depot for the first time, and all the details are interesting…I don’t want to reinvent the bicycle, and I don’t want to cut and paste either, but seeing depots gives information.
“Most important now”, he said, “is to learn from rental managers, to get experience of software, to see how they manage the business, how they rent, how they fix equipment.”