In 2013, Raj Hasan Nagaraja was promoted as a strategic marketing manager at an automobile company. Most of his marketing activities were focussed on new and used car sales. One day when he Google searched to know more about online car repair services in Bengaluru, he ended up finding one company that was focussing on car servicing.
During the same stint, his management wanted to promote him as a General Manager Customer Life Cycle Management to take care of the entire call centre process for new car sales, used car sales, insurance renewal, and service reminder. Before taking over the new responsibility, he made a small project on car ownership to study the basic requirements of the car owners who had to spend their productive time both in terms of its service, repairs, and allied services.
Once the project was ready, I presented it G.R. Bhagavan Ramadas who is in the premium car segment industry for more than 15 years. He was impressed with the presentation and without second thoughts he said go ahead, and then I launched Bookmycarservice.in.
Raj has 12 years of experience in the automobile industry. He quit his high-paying job in 2014 to start Bookmycarservice.in. Initially, it took four months to design the first version of the website. In June 2014, they launched their Facebook page and after that it took one month to launch the website.
Bookmyservice.in was a new concept. Therefore, initially it was very difficult for him to convince the service centres as well as customers. Moreover, he had to start the venture with the little savings he had. But Raj sighed with relief when G.R. Bhagavan came into the picture. He has been the financial backbone and guiding factor in his entire entrepreneurial journey. Now the startup is in the process of getting investments from VCs. Raj mentions that G.R. Bhagavan has invested about a half a million in Bookmycarservice.com so far.
"Within the first month of the launch, we got affiliated with 34 service centres.
Overall, it has been a very responsive and interactive year. Now we are affiliated with 570 service centres and we have generated over 4,750 service leads," says Raj.
All the service centers have been listed in Bookmyservice.com, which allows customers to choose the nearest service centres. Once the company receives the leads from the customers they forward it to the service centres. It charges nominal fee for per service lead, pre-owned car leads, tyre replacements, battery replacements, and on accessories it.
Raj says, "In the coming days, we will make five percent on successful insurance renewal leads."
Presently, the Bengaluru-based startup has a team of 12 people and provides services across Karnataka. Bookmycarservice has a call back feature through which it can specify the area of inquiry and other required details and contact the customers. It also provides doorstep car repair service option to the customers. Bookmycarservice.com offers services for Maruti, Hundai, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, BMW, Toyota, Audi, Tata Motors, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Mahindra, Land Rover, Fiat, Volkswagen, Renault, Skoda, Nissan.
"We do have a customer care team in place where checks and balances are ensured to provide ultimate quality assurance to the customer and increased productivity efficiency for service providers. We call the customer after every service to take their feedback and if there are any complaints we forward the same to the service centres. We can proudly say we have received least number of complaints," says Raj.
In India, the automobile repair industry is largely fragmented and has been running since ages without any fixed pricing policy. Vehicle owners still rely on the mom and pop car repair service centres operated by local mechanics. However, the market is slowly picking up pace and has started getting organised with the availability of authorised vehicle service centres.
When it comes to online car repair services market in India, it has a long way to go in terms of growth numbers and attracting investors' attention. Though a handful of startups have emerged in this space in the past few years, it would be very difficult to comment anything on future growth prospects. MeriCar.com, SparesHubs.com, 3M Car Care, Cross Roads, MyTVS, CarZ, CarZcare, helponwheels.in are some of the startups which have embarked in this less lucrative market with a hope to crack the model.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation report, the industry produced a total 14.25 million vehicles, including PVs, commercial vehicles, three and two wheelers in April–October 2015 as against 13.83 in April–October 2014.
Considering the number of vehicles produced till October 2015, there is a ray of hope that this market will likely thrive in the near future. Bookmycarservice.com has crossed monthly order level of 600 and is expecting to cross 1000 orders in the coming months. Till date, it has serviced about 4,700 plus customers. Raj points out that most of the marketing activities are done through social media, bulk SMS, and email campaigns.
It has recently launched a pilot project in Pune, and will launch in Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, and Cochin in the coming days. In terms of revenue, Bookmycarservice has crossed the target of Rs. 2 million. In the next fiscal year it is planning to reach Rs. 15 million.