Why YourMechanic began
The car repair industry, as it has stood for over a hundred years, is often met with skepticism. Car owners who aren’t car experts (which, let’s face it, is most of us) rely on the honesty and integrity of the repair shop and its mechanics. When a bill is presented for unexplained services, distrust grows.
We’ve all been there before: your car is making an odd noise and you take it the shop. Eight hundred dollars and several new parts later, your car is back up and running. You wonder to yourself if your car really needed all that work — surely just an oil change would’ve done the trick? — but you aren’t a mechanic and you don’t know any mechanics to consult, so you pay the bill. But the trust you had in the shop has been damaged and you wonder if they took advantage of you.
This is not an infrequent scenario and many people complain about the industry. Not many do anything about changing it. In a culture that caters increasingly more towards making things better for the user, the car repair industry remained almost anti-customer — so YourMechanic decided to flip the industry on its head.
Disrupting the car repair experience to make it transparent, convenient, and customer-centric were the main goals when YourMechanic was created in 2012. YourMechanic was founded as a direct response to what many car owners believed to be broken.
How YourMechanic got going
The initial model for the business wasn’t mobile but was based on trust and upfront pricing. YourMechanic began from a consumer's recognition of the problem and what was needed to solve it, leading to consultations with mechanics to learn about the industry from the inside. The presumption was that mechanics could only work out of shops because they needed heavy-duty equipment. As it turned out, this wasn't the case, and the model quickly changed to mobile.
Finding out how the mechanics perceive the industry and what they wanted to see changed proved to be more than enlightening; it added another, essential layer to the YourMechanic mission. For example, mechanics don’t typically take home a lot of the high hourly fee customers pay at shops. Giving mechanics a high percentage of the hourly rate only made sense.
Empowering mechanics to take charge of their own work, connecting directly with car owners, and giving them full autonomy of their schedules and the type of work they want to do solved the last piece of the puzzle. When mechanics have control over their work and are recognized and appreciated, they’re happier and work harder to deliver a better experience. Customers can see this and respond in kind — and mechanics are seen in a whole new light. The YourMechanic mission to build the most convenient and trustworthy car repair service is also built around saving customers money. Without the overhead of physical shops the cost of almost every service and repair is substantially less than what’s charged by a brick-and-mortar shop. YourMechanic also backs its services with a 12-month or 12,000-mile warranty (whichever comes first) and a $1 million liability policy.
Growing the business
It took about two years for YourMechanic to streamline how the business worked — from customers booking appointments to writing the code for the backend — and then begin opening in new markets. Starting in Mountain View, California, we first expanded our service to the rest of the Bay Area, and then more cities and states were added.
We’ve grown fast, and are live in 5,000 U.S cities — including 70 designated marketing areas. We cover approximately 65% of the U.S. population and are in 10,000 different zip codes. Currently, we’ve begun to focus on adding mechanics and customers in the markets we already operate.
In October 2018, we launched in Toronto, Canada. Further down the road, we’ll look at international opportunities for growth outside North America. Given population, car ownership, and service demographics, we’re considering expansion in Asia, India, and Europe.
How we choose our mechanics
Our mechanics are independent contractors as well as talented technicians with over 10 years of experience on average. They’re experts and we don’t need to tell them how to do their jobs. Our screening process is rigorous. We have a 2% acceptance rate — it’s harder to get a job at YourMechanic as a technician than it is to get into Harvard!
When looking for these top-tier mechanics, the first quality we focus on is “carside” manner. Just like you want a doctor with good bedside manner, we want to make sure our mechanics have great customer service skills — they are the ones the customers are really interacting with for the most part, not our service and operations teams at HQ.
At this stage, we also screen for repair and diagnostic aptitude levels, check educational attainment, catalog the mechanic’s tools, and pinpoint their expertise on most makes and models of cars driven in the U.S.
Next, if the mechanic passes the first phase, our in-house master technicians run them through several scenarios that put their skills to the test. For example, candidates are asked what they would do if they arrived at an alternator replacement appointment and it’s obvious that the car needs a lot more than a new alternator. They’re also asked for examples of recent diagnoses they’ve completed, what makes of cars they specialize in, if they’re ASE certified, and what tools they know how to use, to list just a few parts of this stage of the evaluation.
The candidate then goes through a series of background, criminal, and reference checks. If a mechanic passes all these levels, they do a “mock” appointment and get trained on our proprietary technician app.
Once through all these stages, mechanics are onboarded and can begin accepting appointments. Our website and app display each mechanic's verified credentials, all the jobs a mechanic has done through our system, and actual reviews from other customers so you have full faith in the mechanic’s competency.
What the future holds for YourMechanic
YourMechanic is growing every day. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and customers and team members are happy. Our model is successful because we’ve revolutionized an industry that needed to be overhauled and done the right way: by putting customers first and by properly rewarding our mechanics.
The future is here. YourMechanic brings mechanics to your car to make it convenient for you. We’ve put customer satisfaction first — the way it should be. The days of wasting time and money at repair shops are over.