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T'Work

A screenshot of T'Work's website.

Scott Rutz recently faced a dilemma that many homeowners face.

He was working on a do-it-yourself plumbing project and didn't have the right tool to complete the job.

Rutz wasn't keen on buying the tool because it costs $70 to $80 and he was likely not ever going to use it again.

Luckily, he knew about a better option.

Rutz went to T'Work, a new online marketplace for renting tools, hardware and equipment, and found what he was looking for in a couple of minutes.

"To rent it from T'Work, it was only $10," said Rutz. "It was a bargain."

The founders of T'Work are hoping there are a lot more people like Rutz out there -- and they believe there are.

"We've been sold on the 'everybody has to own everything to do projects they need to do' model," said Zach Davy, one of the founders of T'Work.

But with that model, people wind up with tools and equipment they use infrequently or not at all.

"Those assets get wasted," Davy said.

T'Work aims to solve that problem by connecting people who need a tool or piece of equipment with those who have one that is mostly gathering dust in the garage.

Davy said the website "is like an Uber for power tools and equipment," referencing the popular ride-hailing app.

T'Work works like this: Those wanting to rent out their tools sign up on the website, www.gettwork.com, and enter their information to make a listing. They decide what price they want and any restrictions. Potential renters can browse all the tools that are available, and if a match is made, T'Work gets a cut of the rental price.

The idea for T'Work actually came from another of the business' co-founders, Kyle King.

King is the only one of the four who has a family and owns a house. Davy said King ran into a situation where he needed a specific tool for a project that he knew he wasn't likely to use again.

That made him wonder if there was any kind of online marketplace specifically for renting tools.

He couldn't find one, and the idea for T'Work was born.

Davy said the four founders -- the others are Cody Leach and Kent Seevers -- worked on the idea part time for more than a year before coming to a crossroads.

"We finally got to the point last fall where we either had to do this or scrap the idea," he said.

They decided to go forward.

The four got an investment from Nebraska Global, a Lincoln-based venture fund that invests in software companies, in November and launched their website shortly after.

Though currently still in its alpha stage, the website is functional, and Davy said the company has generated "nominal" revenue thus far.

There are currently more than 200 tools on the site, which right now only is available in Lincoln.

The next step for T'Work, Davy said, is to introduce its beta site, something that will come later this month. That site will have more features and also offer more automation, such as an electronic signature for liability waivers.

They also hope to expand soon to Omaha and Des Moines.

Davy said that while the online tool and equipment rental market is fairly small -- about $10 billion last year -- it is growing at a clip of about 7-8 percent a year and is expected to be at about $13 billion by 2019.

T'Work would need to capture only a fraction of that to be successful.

Rutz, who knows a thing or two about startup companies, having worked at travel planning company Travefy since its founding in 2012,  says there's a very good chance it will be.

"I see a ton a value on both sides of the market," he said.

And he'll continue to help that success along as a customer.

"I've already thought about a project we have coming up for this summer," Rutz said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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