Technology

TechCrunch Disrupt winner takes auto repair into the cloud

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The next time your car breaks down, don't tow it to a garage, let the garage come to you -- that's the idea behind a Bay Area company that's just won a major prize for its efforts to change the face of auto repair.

YourMechanic is a car repair company that just won the TechCrunch Disrupt SF competition for moving auto repair into the cloud.

"It's convenience; you know, you don't have to go anywhere, you don't have to ask a friend to give you a ride, you just go online, say what you need and a mechanic shows up," CEO Art Agrawal said.

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All the repair work happens in your driveway or in your office parking lot, while you're working.

For EJ Dyksen, whose Honda needed a new alternator, it's way better than the dealership.

"You know, wait there in their little waiting room with their terrible coffee and whatever, or take an awkward you know shuttle ride to work with them in their courtesy shuttle or something, and pretty much destroy a half a day or a whole day," Dyksen said.

The mechanics, like Michael Renteria, are all independent contractors. But they don't set their own prices; the website automatically sets a fixed price for each job by analyzing records from thousands of similar repairs.

You choose a mechanic based on the reviews, or your schedule and the website does the rest.

YourMechanic claims its database is so extensive that about three-quarters of the time, it can figure out what's broken and what replacement part to order before the mechanic even shows up. In the rest of the cases, the mechanic uses a mobile app to order the parts.

Mechanics use a seven inch Android tablet to order parts and log their hours. As they do, the database gets smarter.

In fact, to Renteria, the whole idea seems pretty smart. He never has to write an estimate or touch a cash register.

"The best part of it is just me fixing cars; I don't have to worry about doing anything else," he said.

YourMechanic is just in Silicon Valley right now, but it's rolling out everywhere else in three months.

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internet, silicon valley, technology, jonathan bloom
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