Industry/sector: Car repair
Date founded: 2012
Founder: Ian Griffiths and Alistair Preston
Location: Tyne and Wear
Ian Griffiths and Alistair Preston knew that dealers were expensive, but professional, and that local alternatives were probably cheaper – but how could they tell a genuine professional from the archetypal backstreet “dodgy garage”?
WhoCanFixMyCar.com allows drivers to simply describe what they drive, where they live and what’s wrong. A local garages will then provide a quotation. Critically, previous users review the garages. As such, new users can choose based on the feedback of their near-neighbours. The business simply takes a small commission from whichever garage wins the work.
“The beauty of the site is that if people need a service or MOT, they can simply just post the job to our site,” said Griffiths. “We then send it out to the closest 20 garages who are signed up, and they are asked to come back and leave quotes. It means that customers can compare prices of different local mechanics, but also compare the feedback left by other people.
“Motorists still harbour a lot of mistrust and wariness about being ripped off by garages, and that’s where we come in. We work hard to help our rated mechanics all over the country to make new contacts in their local area, and to ensure customers have a platform to report back about the service they have received.
“We are growing very strongly, some really get the idea and others perhaps not to the same extent, but people are seeing the real advantages of the service. In one sense, the jobs are the same and it another they are different, but it’s all about trying to create value.”
To date, almost 50,000 drivers have used the company to repair their car, with WhoCanFixMyCar working in collaboration with over 4,800 garages in the process. And despite their small size, the company is now regularly referred to as “the autotrader of the servicing world”, by an industry that’s waking up to the way that their consumers actually want to do business with them.
“But we’ve only scratched the surface,” they said. “We’re growing exponentially, with almost 5,000 jobs set to be posted this month alone – impressive growth compared to 1,000 posted in January – except that there are 32m cars on the UK’s roads today. As such, our ambitions are relentless. We already ‘power’ the car servicing portal on PistonHeads.com, and we’re launching whocanfixmyvan.com and whocanfixmyfleet.com (for SMEs) in November.
“That, plus an investment consortium to be announced next month, will propel us to 10,000 jobs per month, and way beyond. Our long-term ambition is that ‘whocan’ will become as much of a household name as lastminute.com or confused.com – and not just in the vehicle repair market.”
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