CAR SERVICE PLATFORM REACHES FOR TOP GEAR
9 March 2016, Written by Karen Rickert
A GOLD Coast-based online marketplace startup that has caught the eye of Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) is gearing up for its next stage of growth in Australia's $15 billion aftermarket automotive industry.
Fixed Price Car Service is a comparison website, similar to insurance or hotel marketplace platforms, but for car owners to research mechanics and find the best deal on their next service.
A free quote is generated based on the manufacturer's logbook service intervals, parts pricing index and a mechanic's hourly rate. A workshop is charged a commission fee after a job has been booked.
After making the move from Melbourne, Eden Shirley (pictured) was frustrated with inconsistent quotes while trying to book his car in for a service.
He launched the website out of his digital agency in 2009, after raising $200,000 in seed funding from private investors and securing 100 mechanics at the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association Expo. Super Retail Group came on board in 2014 and invested $1.5 million into the venture.
Shirley says the investment has allowed Fixed Price Car Service to grow from a two-man operation to a team of 29 working from a dedicated office in Surfers Paradise.
"Most people these days don't know how to service a car - both men and women," Shirley says.
"How many times have you had your car serviced and smiled graciously while handing over your credit card without really knowing whether you've paid a good price or not?
"We set out to achieve transparency and confidence in purchasing a service, because it's an industry where the consumer has no power.
"The website gives you that comfort of knowing it's a quality service and priced with all of the recommended requirement depending on the age of your vehicle and how many kilometres it has done."
Shirley says the customer can review the workshop for other users, and if a dispute arises Fixed Price Car Service will work to resolve it.
The website attracts an average of 70,000 visitors each month, searching and comparing a network of 1400 stores. The business has forecast servicing and repair sales of more than $6.5 million this year.
Shirley says the growth has been achieved by investing in technology and optimising the business, with marketing set to be a key focus this year.
"We're looking to partner with a couple of large organisations that we'll build booking systems for," he says.