How many times you have had to put aside a weekend for getting your car serviced! Plenty, I am sure. As the roads become busier and vehicle maintenance costs spike up, getting your car out for service can be a pain. oToBOTS aims to solve that by connecting car mechanics and car owners. As it is an on demand business, oToBOTS is using its website and mobile app to receive service requests from vehicle owners, which is then attended to by a certified mechanic after a service quote has been sent to and accepted by the owner. It has given many working mechanics the chance to make extra money outside their working hours. Let’s hear all about this disruptive service from an interview with Kuruvilla SImon, one of the founders of oToBOTS.
Q1. Starting an on demand car mechanic service is definitely a great idea. Tell us a little about oToBOTS and your personal motivation for starting this service?
Otobots, we call it ‘Uber for Auto Repair’, is an online marketplace that connects car owners with certified mobile mechanics. Based in Oak Brook, the company sends freelance auto mechanics to customers who request service via the Otobots website or mobile app. The idea sprang out of our experiences using Craigslist to find mechanics. We had no guarantee that they were going to call us back or return if there was a problem. How do you trust them? You have no clue who’s coming to your house. There’s no warranty whatsoever.
Q2.Can you give us a rundown of how it works?
Customers are able to receive an exact quote for their repair using our website/app. Otobots mechanics are available to assist customers at their location within two hours of making an appointment. The mechanics fix your car in a driveway, garage or private parking lot. Otobots offers a 12-month/12,000-mile warranty on all parts and services bought through the company
Q3. What is the value proposition you are offering to the customers ?
Customers save up to 50 percent since they are working directly with the certified techs, and the best part is, they don’t have to leave their home or office to get the service done.
Q4. What is your strategy while launching services in new regions?
Currently we are present in the Chicago market, and planning to expand to Houston next week. We will be rolling out to new markets across US in the upcoming year based on the demand.
Q5.Could you shed some light on the technology and tools used to build oToBOTS ?
We developed a custom website and mobile app that integrate with multiple 3rd party databases and web services to render the service.
Q6.What is one particular Marketing Tool or process which you swear by, that has helped you gain more users on the service?
Brand awareness and customer satisfaction.
Q7. You’ve recently raised funding. What are your future plans? Are you planning to integrate more features in the service?
We are still in the fund raising mode, and will be expanding nationally once the funding is accomplished.
Q8.What is your onboarding process for service partners, if any? Are they on contractual basis or full time basis?
Otobots currently uses 22 mechanics in the Chicago market—many of whom are moonlighting outside their regular jobs at car repair businesses, and all of them are sub-contractors. We make sure they have professional references and are verified via our background checks.
Q9.What is oToBOTS’ biggest achievement to date? How did you go about accomplishing this?
Customer acquisition is our biggest achievement to date and we accomplished it by word of mouth, referrals, and marketing.
Q10.Where do you see oToBOTS in five years?
In five years, otobots will be available in all major markets across U.S providing majority of the services in the auto repair space.
Q11. Any advice for startups trying to make it big or join the On-Demand space?
Do your homework, understand your challenges, know your financials. Being able to deliver the identified on-demand service without failure will be the key to success.
You can check their website here
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