Could This Be the Hertz of Robot Rentals?

In the News
April 29, 2016

Hirebotics asks SMEs: Why buy when you can rent, pay only for work done, and we take all of the risk?

“Currently, operational industrial robots perform about 10 percent of the day-to-day
manufacturing tasks that could be potentially automated – like assembly, packaging and material handling, etc.”
                                                      —Boston Consulting Group

Is renting better than owning?

When Warren Avis in 1948 began the car rental company that bore his last name, John Hertz and his pioneering “Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System” already had had a twenty-five year head start.

Matt Bush and Rob Goldiez, co-founders and principals of the world’s first robot rental startup company, Hirebotics, may well become the Hertz of robot rentals, but probably won’t get to enjoy the luxury of a quarter century head start before any competitors try to pull an Avis on them.

However brief or long their solo cruise into renting robots lasts, for now, the stage is all theirs and they’re trying to make the most of it.

Is it really a no-brainer?

Their value proposition seems uncomplicated and very inviting. If you think that you need a robot to do a little or a lot of work or only during your busy season, they pop over for a site visit to show you how to utilize the robot for best effect.

Once a customer is satisfied with the robot’s “resume” and agrees to the terms of the deal, Hirebotics schleps over the robot, sets it up, makes sure it’s performing the job correctly, and then leaves the new customer and the rental bot to work together and get to know one another.

The customer pays for only the time that the robot is actually working, never a charge for idle time. Through a sensor on the robot, Matt and Rob can monitor the job being performed by the minute or even by the second, if necessary.

Hirebotics’ offer seems compelling enough, but can they really make a business out of renting robots?

Both Matt and Rob are quick with their replies; seems they’ve done their homework. Of course, with Hirebotics self-financed by the pair, they better have their business case for robot rentals down cold or they could be in very big trouble very fast.

Citing a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group, the pair rattle off, almost in unison, that only 10 percent of the day-to-day manufacturing tasks that could be potentially automated are, in fact, automated. 

That leaves a cool 90 percent up for grabs. That other 90 percent, they say, is mostly in the hands of SMEs who are hardcore, risk-averse to spending $30K or more to own a collaborative robot and then have to fret over ROI, especially, if like many SMEs, they need an extra pair of hands only during their busy seasons or for other time-limited stints in their workflows.

In addition, Hirebotics boasts that SMEs can now achieve the same level of automation—and productivity—that’s usually accorded large companies with hefty budgets to buy robot-driven automation at will. “We’re democratizing automation,” say the tandem.

Convincing SMEs that rental robots are an ideal substitute for temporary human help o

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