Repairhub.com, an online appointment site for auto repair and maintenance work, launched in Greater Chicago in early November with plans for national expansion in 2013.
The company has signed up about 125 local shops so far, including a mix of chains and local garages. Free to customers, the service works on a two-tiered commission payment plan. Fees range from $3 for services with smaller profit margins, such as oil changes and tire rotations, up to $12 for larger jobs like transmission rebuilds.
Repairhub’s founders plan to primarily target women who frequent independent and chain shops. Research shows that female heads of household are making the majority of repair decisions these days, said Garry Rosenfeldt, company co-founder and CEO and a former director of market research for Midas. “My goal is to wake up the industry,” Rosenfeldt said. “You’ve got half the population out there making decisions, and they’re not being catered to.”
Repairhub.com’s co-founder and chief marketing officer is Brandi Kurtyka. And the company’s advisory board includes businesswomen Jody DeVere, CEO of Askpatty.com, an auto blog geared toward women, and Marti Barletta, CEO and founder of The Trendsite Group, which specializes in marketing to women.
The concept for the site has been in the works for a year and a half, and is the result of years of observation and industry research, Rosenfeldt said. The site features a scheduling system that participating shops can use for all appointments, whether they’re from Repairhub or not. Shops can also customize their profile pages with coupons of their choice. For example, they may want to promote service deals during slow business times. Once a customer clicks on a coupon, it’s automatically sent to the shop. They don’t have to download and print the coupon and remember to bring it with them.
The site also offers customers the option to write a review. To keep the reviews honest and current, Rosenfeldt said, only customers who book through Repairhub can write a review, and it must be completed within two weeks.
The site also keeps tabs on service records. “Auto service is a grudge purchase,” Rosenfeldt said. “Our whole concept is about making the process easier.”
Rosenfeldt said he plans to spread the word through his industry contacts, Google pay-per-click investments, and press in local newspapers and magazines. The company is also working on a barter deal with Askpatty.com for mutual promotion.
Repairhub.com’s chief technology officer is Sairam Rangachari. Other advisory team members include Ron Welty, CEO and founder of Intellishop, a mystery shopping company, and Kent Woloson, sales director at Adparlor. — Sarah Hollander
We encourage you to add your comments below concerning this article.