Start-up Getter aims to provide building site workers a quicker way to get materials delivered


It's a chronic problem on building sites. Running short of supplies, subbies have to waste time and money driving off to pick them up or twiddle their thumbs as they wait on a late delivery.

That's a lot of lost productivity. Industry research shows that tradies make unplanned trips to the hardware store on one in every three jobs, adding about $2bn in extra labo1u and vehicle costs each year.

But a wave of start-ups in Australia are now aiming to address that issue with an express and on-demand service to supply materials that can be accessed via a website or smartphone app.

One of these new players, trading as Getter, has just attracted $1.4m in a capital raising from about 15 investors as it looks to ramp up a foothold in Brisbane in the year ahead.

The biggest single pun ter in that group is Darren Wallis, the Sunshine Coast-based chairman and major shareholder of residential building giant GJ Gardner Homes.

"There's a gap in the market and this is an amazing opportunity," Wallis told City Beat on Monday. "It could revolutionise how tradies get supplies delivered."

The potential efficiencies for the nation's $360bn a year construction industry are substantial, with likely flow on benefits for consumers in the form of lower prices, he said. Wallis, who started at GJ Gardner as an accountant in 1994 and rose to spend just over 20 years as CEO, will be spreading the word to the group's franchisees nationwide.

"So far the feedback is fan tas tic. They love it," he said.


Getter launched in Sydney last March after boss Tom Burton and his fellow co-founders in the building sector repeatedly saw jobs over time and over budget because of hold­ ups accessing materials. "At a macro level, the Australian construction industry has a longstanding problem with not being able to procure its trade materials efficiently, meaning tradies either visit wholesalers themselves, or worse, wait hours and sometimes days for their supplies to be delivered," he said.

"As tradies themselves, the Getter founders have seen first-hand the lost productivity that ensues when products or tools need replacing, whether that be on large-scale commercial tower building sites, project home sites or landscaping projects."

The business makes money through a simple Uber-style pick-up and delivery of goods. It also offers to source products, charging an additional fee based on the value of the material. Burton told us that Getter has already grown its registered users from 800 to about 3500.

He's aiming to dramatically expand that to about 30,000 across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in the next 12 months, with a revenue target of around $14m.

Two other competitors, Delivertrade and Rendr, are also active in the space, although their business models differ somewhat. The idea has also sprouted in North America, where two Canadian firms, Toolbx and Renorun, have shaken up the sector.

Renorun only started operation in 2017 but within two years it was able to secure $23m in funding from private equity groups.

Getter could seek up to AUD 7m in Series A in 24 months – CEO

Getter, a privately-held Australian digital retailer of construction tools, could seek up to AUD 7m (USD 5.3m) in a Series A round in 24 months for its next leg of growth, CEO and co-founder Tom Burton said.

The Sydney-based company, which provides express delivery of tools for the construction industry, could conduct a Series A raise 3x-5x the size of its seed round, he said.

Last December, Getter closed a seed round of AUD 1.4m from high-net-worth individuals, including Darren Wallis, director of G.J. Gardner Homes, a home construction business franchiser.

However, given the current low interest and high supply of debt, Getter could also consider raising debt, the CEO noted. The firm is cashflow positive and there shouldn’t be any issues accessing funding, he added.

Getter, a B2B service, allows site workers to order supplies online with “reasonable” flat delivery fees for an immediate or a scheduled delivery service that is charged per kilometer. The company also provides building, electrical, and plumbing materials, workwear, tool accessories, paints, and even electrical tools, all of which can be purchased directly, according to its media release.

At the Series A capital raising stage, the company will consider various ways to reach further growth, Burton said, noting one option is to own stock internally by organizing warehousing facilities, allowing it to control stock and potentially reduce costs.

The other option could be to invest in working with Getter’s suppliers on improving data about supply stock, Burton said. Technology adoption within Australia’s construction retailing service is trailing, and relevant data on stockpile are often inaccurate. Therefore, Getter would work to enhance procurement and processing, he added.

The company raised its seed round independently as Burton has a background in finance, he noted, adding it works with undisclosed Tier-1 law and accounting firm.

Australia is lagging behind in the on-demand construction tools retail industry compared to North America, the CEO said, adding the company is closely watching its larger peers in the region. Canada-headquartered, tech-enabled construction material delivery service RenoRun, which completed a Series A round valuing the company at CAD 22.5m (USD 17.1m) in 2019, and Canada-based Toolbx were named among notable players in northern Canada.

Getter was started 18 months ago by Burton and five other individuals who are silent investors. All the founders own a similar portion of shares in the business, he said, without disclosing more details.

In the meantime, the seed capital will be used to scale the company’s presence in Brisbane and Melbourne, where it has seen emerging demand, Burton said. It is focused on building infrastructure in those cities, along with marketing and sale initiatives, he noted.

In 12 to 18 months, Getter will seek to enter Auckland, as well as Perth and Adelaide, the CEO said. Burton is from New Zealand and has connections in the country .

In the long term, the company could seek to enter offshore markets like Tokyo or Singapore, he added, without elaborating. The company’s preliminary research suggests that these markets require services to improve the construction procurement supply chain, and it might work with industry players when it is ready to make the foray, he said.

Burton declined to disclose Getter’s financial details. It has fewer than 20 employees, he said.

Uber for builders: New app saves time, money

A new app is saving building companies money and time by preventing the need to fetch tools or supplies while on site.

Getter addresses a common problem within the building industry where tradies are short on supplies and need to order more or send an apprentice on a shopping trip. Sunshine Coast businessman Darren Wallis is among the driving forces behind expanding the app into new regions this year.

The company has established a Queensland head office in Buddina and this year will have up to seven drivers servicing the Coast. It was launched in Sydney last March and will this year expand along the eastern coast and to Melbourne and Brisbane.

"Often tradies run out of a particular tool or supply, or they might be short a bag of cement or some studs," GJ Gardner Homes director Mr Wallis said. "Rather send the apprentice to the shop to get it or rely on a store to deliver which could take two days, they can jump on Getter and have it delivered within a few hours."

The company will expand to more cities this year after raising $1.4 million from industry investors including Mr Wallis. Getter CEO Tom Burton said the app was born out of the frustration from tradies as they downed tools to seek new supplies.

Mr Burton said it provided a tech-based solution to connect construction companies direct to suppliers. He said industry research showed tradies made unplanned trips to the hardware store on one in every three jobs, adding about $2 billion in labour and vehicle expenses annually.

"As tradies themselves, the Getter founders have seen first-hand the lost productivity that ensues when products or tools need replacing," Mr Burton said.

"This can result in increased wage costs through off-site inactivity, as well as increased fixed costs on machinery, vehicles and on-road costs, plus opportunity costs through pushed project timelines." Mr Wallis said he was already impressed with the business's growth since its launch just under 12 months ago. "I've come in as a strategic investor to help set them with some contacts," he said.

"I love the concept so we'll be expanding the marketing, the fleet and business as a whole and the growth so far has been exponential."

Getter has partnered with several suppliers including Bunnings.

Getter App Fills $2bn Construction Gap

Getter is expanding into Brisbane and Melbourne metropolitan areas as they scale up after attracting a $1.4 million backing. Dubbed the "Uber" of the construction industry, the business model focuses on bringing building and trade supplies to tradies onsite within one hour, a concept which caught the attention of G.J. Gardner Homes director and entrepreneur Darren Wallis.

"We are really excited to have someone of the calibre of Darren Wallis on board as one of our strategic investors, as it's further confirmation that the industry is in need of the solution Getter provides," Getter chief executive Tom Burton said.

Burton said he and his trades-based founders saw a gap in the market for this kind of service and the business was quickly scaling up. "In August we had 500 registered users ... and we've just ticked over 4000."

Burton said with the $1.4 million war chest they hoped to scale up to meet demand on bigger worksites. Getter currently services tier three and lower-end tier two building companies. They will be targeting tier one construction firms to solve their unique procurement problems, often across multiple sites.

"The same problem exists at the top end of town. At a macro level, the Australian construction industry has a longstanding problem with not being able to procure its trade materials efficiently ... this is why we've established Getter, to bridge the gap between the site and the shop, so construction crews can keep working without having to head to the nearest supplies warehouse."

Industry research shows tradies make unplanned trips to the hardware store on one in every three jobs, adding around $2 billion in labour and vehicle expenses each year. Burton said there were already two vehicles in operation in Brisbane but a bigger expansion was on the cards for Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

He said he hoped to scale up 10 times in the next 12 months with an investment in technology to support the scale, marketing to increase exposure to the construction industry and an investment in infrastructure and people on the ground. Burton said the building and construction industry was late to innovation but was slowly moving towards game-changing technology.

He said the Getter founders had identified the gap in the market and found solutions already in play in Canada and the USA.

‘Uber Eats for Construction Materials’: The Aussie App That Delivers Materials and Tools to Site

If you’re not yet using Getter, or heard of it, you soon might be.

The app allows you to order your construction materials and tools from your phone and get them delivered directly to site.

The Australian company is going from strength to strength after securing $1.4 million in funding from industry investors including Director of GJ Gardner Homes, Darren Wallis.

Ex-tradies and Getter founders, Tom Burton, and Aaron Smith, launched Getter in March 2020. Burton, Getter’s CEO, says the app was born to address construction delays due to tradies having to stop work and grab materials.

“As tradies ourselves, we have seen first-hand the lost productivity that ensues when products or tools need replacing, whether that be on large-scale commercial tower building sites, project home sites or landscaping projects.”

Tradies make unplanned trips to the hardware store on one in every three jobs, costing around $2 billion in labour and vehicle expenses each year, according to research firm AlphaBeta.

“That lost time really adds up across the work week and eats into profits,” he explained. With a small but experienced remote team across Australia and New Zealand, Getter has big plans. Having raised enough capital to grow from Sydney to Brisbane to Melbourne, the business plans to expand along the east coast.

Sometimes dubbed ‘the Uber Eats for construction materials’, while its key focus is saving time and money in lost productivity by delivering materials on demand, it goes beyond that. While the business is about on-time, on-demand delivery, the founders value quality over quantity and say it’s about getting the right products for the project; not the number of deliveries per day.

CEO Tom Burton says he deliberately recruits ‘problem solver’ drivers – with extensive product knowledge and understanding of the projects the products will used for. In doing this, it goes beyond being a delivery service, as the drivers know their stuff and can provide advice should the products ordered not be the right solution.

Or, if there’s a sudden change on site or there could or should be, the drivers can offer alternative solutions.

By employing the right team and building solid foundations with both large wholesalers and smaller local businesses, Getter offers a unique solution.

How it works

Getter connects construction companies and tradies to suppliers by providing a convenient, just-in-time and on-demand delivery of materials to construction sites.

Workers place orders online or via Getter’s app, with flat delivery fees for ‘ASAP’ or ‘scheduled’ delivery services.

Deliveries are charged per kilometre and a quote is provided via the website, with Getter drivers inspecting products before collection to ensure they match the order.

Customised orders or hard-to-find materials

Getter offers two kinds of services – delivery only (in which the tradie/business specifies the product themselves) and source and deliver, in which Getter’s team researches and sources the product, then delivers it.

It offers commonly used building, electrical, plumbing materials, workwear and tools – as well as customised orders and sourcing hard-to-find materials.

It can be used by everyone from tradies, builders, small business owners and weekend project kings and queens to large infrastructure project owners.

Once you’ve registered and downloaded the app, you log on and order your materials. Just like on Uber, you can track your delivery.

Depending on the products, project location and distance, on average, products can be ordered and delivered within 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Risks and challenges: we need better data

Burton says Getter’s biggest challenge continues to be the lack of data around inventory and availability in construction industry. Products listed as“available” online or in store may not be the case in reality, so as the accuracy of wholesalers’ data improves, Getter can source and deliver them even more efficiently.

Agility is key

Acutely aware of the ever-changing industry and market, Getter is an agile business,researching, adapting and evolving and investing in its tech, its team and the business as it grows.

Getter is also all about building relationships with the large wholesalers and the smaller retailers. “It’s not a threat to their business. They can’t be everywhere at once. They’re still selling the product. It’s about getting those products to the projects that need them,” says Burton.

Getter’s business model is beneficial for both tradies and suppliers. For tradies, it produces the most efficient way to source trade supplies, and enables them to complete their projects with minimal or no downtime, at reasonable prices.

For suppliers, Getter’s express,on-demand delivery ensures their customers’ needs are satisfied while allowing them to build a strong and loyal customer base.

“We know our clients have built relationships with their suppliers for years, so we’re not here to break those relationships; we’re just closing the gap from shop to site,” says Burton.

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