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A self interview with Alex Rose of Who Can Fix my Car?
by Startacus Admin
Alex Rose, Startacus member and Marketing Manager of new startup Who can Fix My Car recently joined the car servicing and repairs platform having previously worked as the automotive industry manager for Google.
Going from Google to Who can Fix my Car, seemed an interesting journey, so we asked Alex to self interview on Startacus to tell us all about whocanfixmycar.com...
What is www.whocanfixmycar.com?
Who Can Fix My Car is an online aggregator of car servicing - we’re a 5-strong team based in London and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. What we do is simple but tremendously powerful for our users. Site visitors enter their vehicle details, postcode and requirements, and nearby garages provide a job quote and any additional information required. Motorists book in with their chosen garage based on location, price and - most importantly - detailed feedback provided by the garage’s previous customers. Click here to see an example of the reassurance that this sort of feedback can give.
32,000 car owners have now used the site for everything from MOTs to accident repairs, and we are growing apace, with 4,500 garages signed up, including mobile mechanics, independent specialists, fast-fitters such as Halfords Autocentres and franchised dealerships. As such we offer drivers a truly transparent, convenient choice as to who can fix your car! In short, we aim to become the Compare The Market for Car Servicing.
Who is it aimed at?
As you can imagine, the potential market is significant. There are 32m car owners in the UK, all of whom recognise that regular service and maintenance is an essential part of car ownership. However, today’s uncertain economic climate means cost-conscious drivers have been keeping their cars for longer: the average vehicle is 7.7 years old, up from 6.9 in 2008*.
As such, while they may be saving on replacing their car, their annual servicing costs rise as the car gets older. They are unlikely to want to take their car to the main dealer at this age and, while they may already know a great local specialist, most car owners are somewhat in the dark as to who their best local garage is. We aim to change that. Not only can they compare prices, but also reputation, location, and additional features (such as whether they will collect the car from your home.)
The benefit for local garages and specialists is also clear: they are unlikely to have the marketing budget or nous to compete with the high-street outlets (such as Kwik-Fit or Halfords) but may well have a superior offering (cheaper prices, greater expertise in certain areas, convenient location.) Our service levels the playing field and allows customers to truly compare and select a garage on their own terms.
What does the competitor landscape look like?
Interesting one: until recently we had very few direct competitors: instead the challenge was in shifting consumers' mindsets to approach servicing/maintenance much as they would purchasing insurance or switching energy suppliers. In other words, it was us vs. directly approaching servicing centres themselves. These days there are one or two direct alternatives out there in the UK, albeit without our network of garages or feedback history. We've also been keeping a close eye on www.yourmechanic.com, a startup based in San Francisco. We love the look-and-feel of their site and will be building much of it in to our responsive site at our relaunch in September.
What have been the biggest challenges?
There are three challenges, really, one for each of our directors (marketing, sales and operations). On the marketing front it’s one that startup businesses will know well: cutting through the noise and achieving standout on limited budget and resource. SEO and PR are our principal focus areas here. Then, on the sales front, while garages truly 'get' the concept, they don't necessarily have the wherewithal to execute effectively: in other words, many miss out by not quoting fast enough, or providing a thorough enough response. And finally...those blasted customers: having received their prices from garages, they will often forget to click 'accept quote'. Its at this point that we get paid, so we do a fair amount of customer and garage follow-up to minimise system leakage.
How's business progressing?
Very well - the number of jobs on our system is up around 40% since mid-February - a great result given that cars tend to suffer problems in the Winter more than the Summer. We also have a couple of exciting third-party partnerships around the corner so that, plus the entrance of a couple of competitors, means there's a real buzz around the office at the moment.
Thanks for the thoughts Alex and best of luck with whocanfixmycar.com. Why not pay them a visit and see who can fix your car?
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