Tred, which hopes to provide a service that’s like “Uber for car test drives,” is finally launching its service to the public. The company, which hopes to streamline the process of buying a car by bringing on-demand test drives to your home or office, will first become available in Seattle.
The service allows prospective car buyers to order a test drive for a flat fee, with the automobile of their choice being delivered to the location of their choice. Cars are brought to customers by Tred Auto Experts, who are trained to answer any questions about the car in question, and walk potential buyers through an hour-long evaluation and test drive.
Cars are delivered for a flat fee of $19 a piece, and customers can have up to two delivered at a time. That gives them the ability to evaluate similar models of cars without having to visit multiple show rooms. Once the test drive is over, Tred’s Auto Experts leave users with a packet of resources to help walk them through the purchasing process.
The idea is to not only make the process of evaluating cars more convenient and transparent, but to drastically reduce the cost and time associated with purchasing one. Customers spend an average of 11.5 hours shopping for cars at dealerships, according to Polk/Autotrader. And once they have made a decision, they typically spend more than 4 hours going through the process and paperwork of evaluating features and financing options before taking a car home.
By giving car buyers the chance to evaluate the cars before heading to the showroom, as well as providing them with all the information they need before they’re ready to make a purchase, Tred eliminates a lot of the haggling and pressure that can turn car buyers off. It also reduces the amount of time that dealers spend processing paperwork and walking buyers through the purchasing process, freeing them up to help other showroom buyers.
That’s one reason that local dealers have partnered with Tred in the Seattle area. The company has been working on those partnerships since it went through TechStars’ Seattle startup incubator last year. It’s also cleared to operate its on-demand test drives from the Washington State Association of Dealers of America and the Washington State Department of Licensing.
While Seattle will be Tred’s first city, founder and CEO Grant Feek thinks the business model should work just as well in markets across the country. Unlike some other on-demand startup ideas, which rely on a certain density of population to work, Feek says he has faith that the idea will work in most markets, whether they’re urban or suburban. In fact, due to less need for a car, Tred might actually have less success in a large, densely populated city like New York.
Tred has raised $1.8 million in seed funding from investors such as Fraser McCombs Capital, former Chairman and CEO of General Motors Rick Wagoner, Maveron Capital, Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, Founder’s Co-Op, Great Oaks Venture Capital, and David Cohen.