A group of Toronto men is pushing the auto industry further into the Internet-based on-demand economy with a mobile car repair and maintenance service that sends mechanics to the car, rather than requiring the car be taken to the repair shop.
The company, called Fiix, was conceived when Markham, Ontario’s Arif Bhanji needed to have winter tires installed on his car, but was faced with a three-week backlog at local garages, says a CBC report.
Bhanji solved his problem by contacting a mechanic listing his services on an online classified advertising site. When that mechanic subsequently booked another 100 service calls simply by getting noticed by people in Bhanji’s neighbourhood, Bhanji figured – correctly, apparently – that a market existed for mechanics who make housecalls.
So he teamed up with Zain Manji and Khalil Mangalji to create Fiix, a company that connects a network of independent mechanics with car owners who want the convenience of having their car fixed while at home or the office.
Think of Fiix as something similar to ride-sharing services like Uber, but for mechanics: car owners book a service call at the Fiix website, and Fiix finds a mechanic close to the location of the car in need within hours of the booking.
Bhanji says Fiix is a “win-win,” offering consumers the transparency of being able to watch the repair being done, and lowering overhead costs for mechanics who don’t need to maintain a shop to stay in business.
Fiix has made $1.4 million in sales since summer 2016, a performance that caught the eye of Y Combinator, an American startup incubator that helped other Internet-based companies, like AirBnB, Reddit and Dropbox, get off the ground.
Bhanji is bullish about the future of his company, which he says has “set the tone for the auto mechanic business.”
“Within the next five years, no one will go to a shop; you’ll just have a mechanic come to your house.”