Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Eden Shirley, CEO and founder of Fixed Price Car Service.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
Fixed Price Car Service makes booking your car service as easy as booking a hotel or flight. Our mission is to help people make better choices by allowing them to compare and book services online with local workshops in their area. All services offered by Fixed Price Car Service are calculated based on manufacturer service intervals and utilises premium quality parts to provide a more convenient and trusted way to book a scheduled service online.
These days with so few of us having mechanical knowledge it’s incredibly helpful to have websites like Fixedpricecarservice.com.au that can tell us what’s involved in each service and how much it’s going to cost before we book. Our site is quite simply the smartest way to book a competitively priced car service online.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
Scaling any marketplace in today’s fast moving digital landscape is very challenging. We were fortunate to have the first mover advantage in the Automotive Sector which has allowed us to gain a dominant position in search engines. Since our launch we have helped over 1.5 million Australians compare and book workshops online and these days we average 70,000+ visitors per month. In 2016 and backed by Super Retail Group we are planning to utilise TV and other mass media channels to really accelerate awareness and growth.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
The automotive services market is highly fragmented with over 75% of the service providers being independent small business owners which has seen few digital innovators attempt to revolutionise this $15b sector. Consumers on the other hand naturally turned to the internet in pursuit of information regarding servicing and repairs. Not only are they looking for answers, they are reading workshop reviews on websites like True Local and Google, asking questions on forums, and hunting around for pricing and deals. Aftermarket workshops have been slow to realise the importance of the internet in today’s marketplace.
It took us many years to build up the momentum we have today and it’s only now that we have Australia’s largest network of quality service providers where the industry is starting to take note and jump on board. Currently we have 1,400 participating workshops and are growing at unprecedented rates compared to prior years.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
Fixed Price Car Service is the only inventory and price based car service booking site in Australia. By this we mean we enable consumers to search, compare and book car services online and to do this you have to be able to calculate a price for each service provider. This is not our only point of difference from traditional business directories, but it’s a big one!
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Keep it simple. I know it’s cliché, but seriously it’s been key to our success. Everything we do from design, technology and business processes is engineered to be simple. If you ask our customers what they think of Fixedpricecarservice.com.au time and time again they will talk about how simple and easy our site is to use, and workshops are the same. Solving everyday problems with simple and convenient solutions has become our mantra, and it works!
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