How Auto Mechanics (Finally) Get a Boost from the Internet

This is an exciting time to choose a career as an auto mechanic and we're going to tell you why, but first a little background.

mechanic hovering over car

Photo via Flickr by torbakhopper

Automotive Industry + Internet has been "Meh"

Until recently auto shop owners haven't been able to capitalize much on having a presence on the Internet. They could create a website to promote their company, provide a list of services, share directions and contact information, the usual stuff. Car owners could search online for auto technicians and (in some cases) provide ratings or feedback for a particular garage. But since car owners have had to drive their vehicle from shop to shop for inspections and service quotes, which is not a convenient process, auto shop owners have had to merely hope customers find and choose their garage for service... until now.

What's New and How it Works

A new company called Openbay has developed a software application for car owners that functions similarly to how consumers shop online for airfare, lodging, or restaurants. Users access the desktop or mobile app and provide a variety of parameters based on their needs, including their vehicle's issue, ideal budget, preferred location, etc. They also share information an auto technician would need to know, such as the make, model, and year of the vehicle and a desired timeline for the maintenance to be completed.

Openbay then compiles this information and sends it to auto shops that meet the user's criteria. Mechanics then have the opportunity to place a bid for the service directly to the car owner. This initiates a relationship between the two parties before the driver even enters the shop's lot. Garages can compete for business while simultaneously sharing details with prospective customers about their services, turnaround time, prices, and customer service (free marketing).

Car owners can then do a thorough side-by-side comparison of their options and read reviews left by other users for the bidding mechanics.

Why this is Groundbreaking for Auto Mechanics and Car Owners

mac computer with car website on screen

Photo via Flickr by Jorge Quinteros

Auto shop owners benefit because they can earn significantly more exposure and they're more likely to receive new customers more regularly, provided they offer a competitive bid and accumulate positive feedback from previous customers. Essentially, auto mechanics no longer need to wait for the phone to ring or for a customer to drive up to the lot for an inspection and quote. Much of that process already takes place through Openbay.

Car owners get the relevant information they need conveniently from their computer or mobile phone, which helps them make a decision more quickly and with greater confidence. The entire process is also documented, so drivers own a paper trail that holds auto mechanics accountable. Another benefit to car owners is the application more or less forces auto mechanics to be transparent about their prices, services, and reputation, which has been a lot more difficult to gauge through a brief visit to a garage.

So, there are benefits to both parties; it really is a win-win situation. This new way of conducting business prompts auto technicians to pay closer attention to the quality of their service and the integrity of their work, and those factors are fundamental for gaining trust, a positive reputation and, ultimately, more business.

What do you say? Are you ready to join the ranks of hospitality services that have reshaped their business model around this kind of technology?

Contributed to by Kim Evans

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