Several months into launching TinManOilChange.com, a website that directs oil change customers to the best deals in their area, the creator says he’s averaging about 1,000 page views a day. If demand grows and the market responds, a smartphone application could follow, owner Erik Sanchez said.
Sanchez launched the site in April 2012. Users search for oil change specials by town or ZIP code via a Google-powered home page. Shops can submit available deals to the site, as can customers who’ve spotted existing coupons. And Sanchez posts many specials as well. “Whatever I can get my hands on, I blog it,” Sanchez said.
On average, site users pay $18 for their oil changes, Sanchez said.
The service is free for shops and users. Sanchez makes money from advertising.
TinManOilChange.com has posted deals for about 200 areas, metropolitan and suburban, Sanchez said.
Repair shops have been using discount oil changes as a loss leader for a while now as a way to gain loyal customers for their other repair and maintenance work, so the potential for customer savings is widespread, Sanchez said.
So far, the reaction from shops has been mixed. One shop asked him to take down a coupon because it was being overrun with calls. Other shops appreciate the free exposure, Sanchez said. Independent mechanics and shops can use the site to set rates and compete with the national chains, he said. “If they’re getting hundreds of queries, they’re more than happy,” Sanchez said.
About 100 businesses have submitted coupons for the site so far, he said.
Sanchez, who lives in the Miami area, describes himself as a “webpreneur.” He’s also the founder and CEO of the www.thefanguru.com website, which aims to give musicians an alternate route to radio exposure through musical ads. The popularity of Gas Buddy, the mobile app for finding deals for gas, inspired Sanchez to create TinManOilChange.com. — Sarah Hollander
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