Onlinemechanix.com, an appointment scheduling website for auto repair shops, has added a price quote feature. Participating shops can also use the site to post reviews and store service records.
“We want to be known as the one-stop place to go for scheduling an appointment and being done with it,” CEO John Formento Jr. said. The site is customer-friendly and can help shops attract and maintain business, he said.
The company compares itself to the OpenTable concept used by restaurants.
Onlinemechanix launched in late April and now has nearly 1,000 participating shops in 17 states, Formento said. Most are sole proprietorships and family-run businesses, with some regional chains, he said. They see the site as an alternative to hiring a web development company for a basic online appointment system.
Formento is reaching out to shops with a one-year free offer, followed by $25 a month thereafter. The service is free for car owners.
When a car owner logs in and schedules an appointment, it’s marked as pending. When the repair is finished, the work description and any notes are then moved into a records file for the vehicle. “It’s much better than digging around in the glove compartment for an old piece of paper,” Formento said.
Formento, 24 and a recent Penn State IT graduate, describes himself as a life-long car fanatic with experience in detailing and auto sales. He developed the idea for Onlinemechanix.com while trying to schedule an auto inspection. He called his regular repair shop and got a busy signal. Ten minutes later, he tried again and the line was still busy. On the third time, he got through.
With help from his father, John Formento Sr., and a partner with a programming background, he created the site. “You can pretty much do everything else online now, why not this?” he said. — Sarah Hollander