A car is usually the first expense in a person’s life and from day one starts draining your savings account. Without a constant upkeep they can fall apart at any second and that’s when we put their life in the hands of a mechanic. But rarely do the words honest and mechanic go hand-in-hand. Car dealers and mechanics have a tainted picture and people are warned to be wary of over-priced and under-serviced repairs.
Dodgy deals and overpriced service fees are common and the ‘ripped’ off Aussie has often been the main feature of an A Current Affair story. With 94 percent of mechanics in Australia being independent with limited to no regulation it’s no wonder this un-Australian mistrust is more common than not. This low barrier to entry leaves little room for compliance and exposes car owners to the risk of poor workmanship and mistrust.
Darren Cooke is the founder of soon-to-launch Queensland startup Strictly Service, an online comparison and booking platform that aims to find the most trusted mechanics nationwide. It searches to find the fairest price for customers and provides local operators the opportunity to grow and prosper in line with the big brands.
“We provide a network of mechanics that consumers can trust, saving time and money but also increasing the safety and standards of vehicles on our roads,” said Cooke.
Strictly Service identifies a range of trusted workshops through comparisons of fees and quotes. Customers enter their vehicle details and then choose a service type, which can be any type of service from log books to inspections. Based on the customer’s area and service requirements the site lists a range of workshops that best suit their needs. It gives them the ability to view each workshop availability in real time and offers comparisons, reviews and mechanic availability.
“Strictly Service aims to provide Australia and the world with the biggest network of trusted workshops– better yet, we ensure you get the right mechanic at the fairest price out of that trusted network– and we sort it all for you every time your service is due,” explained Cooke.
They charge the workshops a percent of the final service cost and aim to keep their customers happy and coming back for more with providing their next car service for free. These services are already available Australia wide with 120 workshops on board that are regulated and industry trusted.
“Imagine receiving a text when your service is due with all the pricing and workshop availability—so you can choose what suits you best,” he said
The car maintenance industry in Australia is growing to become a $15 billion industry. Other comparison sites like Fixed Price Car Service have already supported 1.3 million Australians compare and book their next car service, proving that the market has room to grow and is still in the early stages of making a dent in the online comparison world. Compare the Marketplace has captured the health, travel and car insurance industries by storm with that annoying Compare the Market Meerkat raking in close to $90US profit to date. Comparison and online booking platforms are all the craze and take the stress out of manual searches, with Aussies trusting the site and it’s reviews.
Strictly Service has been in a Beta testing over the last 18 months and will be launching early this year. So far their soft launch has raised a total of $630,000 and has generated major industry partnership and joint venture relationships with IGA and Caltex that will help to boost their traction.
“We have previously raised capital over $500k and are raising another $700k to grow and scale the company into profitability,” said Cooke.
The next 12 months for Strictly Service will see the team grow and expand into the more regional areas in Australia, whilst continuing a campaign around Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to find more independent family operators and inject trust back into the industry.
Image: Darren Cooke. Source: Supplied