YourMechanic, a peer-to-peer car repair marketplace that enables mechanics to fix users’ cars at their home or office, launched at TechCrunch Disrupt SF today.
It claims it will lower costs 30-50% from shops and dealers, offering an “Uber-like experience” where the mechanic visits you to service your car.
YourMechanic offers mechanic profiles, reviews from customers, a fair price calculator “to ensure that you are paying a fair price,” and online repair records. They will also offer maintenance notifications on smartphone apps and via email, so you don’t forget to change your oil. Your Mechanic says its instant pricing engine, which uses half a billion data points, is an industry first.
The company, which was in Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class, has raised $1.8M in seed funding from Y Combinator, SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Andreessen Horowitz, Lerer Ventures, Launch Capital, Jeff Clavier, Crunchfund, Paige Craig, A-Grade Investments, Jawed Karim, Justin Waldron, Joshua Schachter and Kevin Freedman.
The company receives a transaction fee by selling parts. YourMechanic says the market for basic repair and maintenance for out of warranty, non-luxury cars is $120B per year.
“Think about the cab market before Uber came,” co-founder Abhas Art Agrawal tells me. “The peer to peer movement is still early on.”
Agrawal says they verify mechanics with background checks, verifying a mechanic’s certification and then interviewing them. The company currently has 10 mechanics in the Bay Area and Agrawal says they will open the service up for mechanics anywhere in the country in 6-8 months.
Discussing the company’s research, Agrawal claims they found that most mechanics only make about $20/hour because they are only paid when they’re fixing a car. He explains that the difference between what we pay for a job at a shop and what the mechanic earns goes mostly to the shop’s owner. Agrawal had a mechanic on stage during his Disrupt presentation explaining how mechanics want to make the money themselves, rather than having the majority of the revenue go to shop owners.
He and his team are working to remove the shop owner from the equation.
“Wouldn’t that be a complete game changer?” Agrawal asks.
Q: Are you price competitive with Jiffy Lube?
A: We don’t compete with Jiffy Lube. Oil change there is $20 they give you recycled oils. We buy you the premium one, we come to you, it costs a little bit more [and] the people are nicer.
Q: Is this mostly just oil changes?
A: Oil changes is the least of what we do. Our job is basically to fix your car at lower cost and greater convenience.
Update: Jeffrey Lack, Director of Marketing at Jiffy Lube International, has responded to this story with a statement regarding YourMechanic co-founder Art Agrawal’s comments at Disrupt:
“Mr. Agrawal claimed that an oil change at Jiffy Lube generally costs $20 and that the service is performed using recycled oil. This is simply not true.
Recycled motor oil: Jiffy Lube service centers do not use recycled motor oil, and Jiffy Lube maintains strict policies and procedures to help ensure top-notch customer service. Jiffy Lube locations pour several types of premium motor oil, including high-quality brands like Pennzoil.
Price: The 2,000+ Jiffy Lube service centers across North America are owned and operated by independent franchisees who set their own prices for services. Oil change prices vary by market and the type of motor oil used. Jiffy Lube recommends oil type based on vehicle manufacturer recommendations, but customers select the motor oil of their choice. The national average for a conventional oil change at Jiffy Lube is $37.
To Mr. Agrawal’s point, YourMechanic can’t compete with Jiffy Lube/ASE certified Jiffy Lube technicians on price. It’s important to note that Jiffy Lube focuses on preventive maintenance, not repairs, which sound like the lion’s share of YourMechanic’s business.”