With over 1,400 depots in the UK, YardLink is a B2B marketplace connecting thousands of construction businesses with over 300 plant and tool rental suppliers. Construction SMEs across the country are able to hire the equipment and machinery they need to complete their work and access a range of benefits including next day delivery and consolidated invoicing, all while paying up to 60% less than they would to traditional hire companies.
Setting YardLink apart is an unparalleled drive to bring the construction supply chain into the 21st century, all while providing their suppliers and customers with a seamless experience.
We spoke with Hollie Russell, YardLink’s Marketing Director, to find out more about the marketplace’s ambitions and how Hokodo’s payments solutions have helped realise their mission and vision so far.
As YardLink began to grow, rapidly onboarding new suppliers and welcoming new buyers, they noticed a shift in the demographics of their core customer base. The microbusinesses and individual tradespeople who made up the majority of original customers – and who, importantly, would be charged upfront – were quickly being replaced with SMEs.
“The reason for needing Hokodo is because, as our customer base has matured, we've now gone into more of the SME space where paying upfront is not the norm, it doesn't happen that way. Professional buyers expect to pay post-transaction.”
The vast majority of construction businesses expect to purchase their tools and materials on payment terms, while suppliers need to have their invoices protected and payments guaranteed. If YardLink was to be successful, they needed to find a way to provide these services conveniently in a digital setting.
Finding a way to provide credit terms and invoice insurance online was going to be key for YardLink’s success in entering a field which has long been dominated by big-name players whose continued success relies heavily on maintaining traditional practices in an industry long overdue a digital revolution.
“Construction is one of the least digitised industries that there is out there,” Hollie says, “and what we're trying to do at YardLink is to help modernise the equipment hiring process and bring it online.”
In creating an online platform where both the customer and supplier have dedicated spaces to manage their equipment, view invoices and much more, YardLink hopes to become a one-stop-shop for construction procurement or, as Hollie puts it, “the Amazon of the construction supply chain.”
“At the heart of YardLink we’re a tech business and we really want to help digitise the construction industry supply chain. And for us, that's really about providing our customers with everything they need in terms of procurement for their projects that they're working on and being able to service all of their needs. So it's a massive ambition for the business. But one we know we can achieve.”
Working with Hokodo to protect invoices and guarantee payment, YardLink were able to instil suppliers with the confidence that they needed to begin hiring out their equipment through an online marketplace.
At the end of the day, it comes down to trust.
“The big problem with the construction supply chain is trust. YardLink was only ever going to work if suppliers felt confident that they’d receive payment. Simultaneously, we also want to give the customer that assurance that they're coming through a reputable platform.”
Historically, construction companies have found it difficult to trust a supplier when they haven’t met in person or spoken directly.
“They need to trust that the tools or equipment are going to be delivered. Projects don't want any downtime, so they need to be confident the equipment is going to arrive. The YardLink platform wants to take and promote that trust so that they know that it will be delivered through an online platform.”
“Hokodo is a massive part of our proposition in being able to ensure suppliers receive payments on time and build trust on the platform.”
A key success indicator of YardLink and Hokodo’s partnership has been a boost in conversions.
“Hokodo is really helping to convert suppliers to feel more confident because payment terms are a massive thing for them, massive, and being able to protect against non-payment has really helped to quell those fears. Equally, from a customer's perspective, the fact that we are giving them this service has given them more confidence as well in order to convert.”
Another outcome of working alongside Hokodo has been the opportunity for key teams within YardLink, such as finance and operations, to focus on what really matters: business growth.
“The business is going through such an enormous growth phase. As the team is scaling and growing, outsourcing the management of invoice insurance has enabled the business to focus on the areas that really need focus – on all the key deliverables.”
One of the reasons that YardLink and Hokodo work so well together is a set of values, attitudes and beliefs stemming from our shared startup heritage.
“I think that is important because YardLink is a really forward-thinking marketplace. And, you know, considering this tech play that the business is going for, partnering with Hokodo who has that similar kind of digital background and does things because they believe they can do it better than what's out there at the moment is super important.”
Despite their success so far, this is really only the beginning for YardLink.
“YardLink is on a massive growth trajectory and I think one massive thing with working with Hokodo is this growth play. So the fact that the business is going to scale and not just stay on equipment, plant and tool hire which we're in now, but we've also got materials on board, waste and fuel, etc. The play for the business is so big and we see Hokodo as not just ready for us right now, but that it will continue to work for us as we move forward.”
At Hokodo, we very much look forward to being a part of the journey.
If you’d like to find out more about how you could replicate YardLink’s success, book a demo with Hokodo today.