Tracey E. Schelmetic
Few people look forward to bringing their vehicle in for service. Even the most well-run service shops can take several hours to finish a vehicle, and despite the improvements many dealers and mechanics have made to their waiting areas – Wi-Fi, television, coffee and snacks – most owners are pressed for time, particularly during the work week.
To remedy this, some companies are venturing to bring the service to the vehicles rather than bringing the vehicles to the service. Seattle-based Wrench refers itself as “a full-service auto repair shop without the shop.” It engages ASE-certified mobile mechanics who visit vehicle owner’s homes or workplaces to perform jobs from oil changes to more complex repairs (or a diagnostic visit if the owner isn’t sure what the problem is) and is also available to service fleet vehicles. Users simply download the Wrench app and enter their details on their vehicle to receive a quote, at which time they can review the quote and book an appointment.
“Busy consumers need a simple scheduling and vehicle diagnosis system to deliver repair and maintenance services without the hassle of the waiting room,” said Ed Petersen, CEO of Wrench, in a statement.
Wrench recently announced a $20 million Series C funding round led by Vulcan Capital, with additional participation from Madrona Venture Group, Tenaya Capital and Marubeni Corporation. Using the funding, the companies hopes to accelerate growth and expand its service area footprint. The funding comes after Wrench’s recent acquisition of Canada-based mobile automotive mechanic startup Fiix, which provided mechanic services to more than 80,000 customers within their North American network.
On average, using Wrench saves vehicle owners upwards of three hours of travel and service time, reducing the stress of vehicle maintenance and repair, according to the company. Wrench also saves users as much as 30 percent on vehicle maintenance and repairs when compared to traditional dealer service departments, since it has far lower overhead than the average repair shop.
“Consumers are embracing on-demand services that make their lives better. Wrench’s technology-enabled mobile mechanic service saves customers time and money – resulting in high customer satisfaction and lifetime value,” said Stuart Nagae, Director of Venture Capital at Vulcan Capital. “With more than 270 million vehicles in the United States, the opportunity is enormous.”