Love your wheels? Get your luxury cars serviced at your doorstep with Delhi-based startup, Automen.
When gearheads Abhishek Malik and Vineet Mawandia hung out together, it would involve them talking passionately about cars and how take good care of them. Like most car owners passionate about their rides, they would treat their machines (a Honda City and a Mahindra Thar, respectively), like their babies.
“Our conversations often revolved around grease, rubber, spanners, and the sound of a good engine,” Abhishek recalls. Once, while discussing car care in India, they realised that nobody was providing quality servicing of cars at the owner’s home or office. Spotting this gap, they set up Automen, a home-delivery car repair service, in 2015.
Automen addresses the separation anxiety that car owners, especially those driving luxury cars, experience while dropping their cars off at service stations. Ordinarily, after the car rolls out of the owner’s sight (even to an authorised dealership) s/he doesn’t exactly know who is working on servicing their car, whether the defective parts are actually replaced, and how the car is being handled overall.
By bringing the service station to your home and providing expert car care before your very eyes, Automen promises complete transparency of the servicing process, all within 90 minutes. This way, car owners don't have to be deprived of the convenience of driving for an entire day.
Thirty-somethings Abhishek and Vineet ran a pilot by getting their own cars and those of their friends and family tested by the service. “Since then, from 10 services a month, we now service nearly a hundred client calls a month,” Abhishek says.
All brands, all care
Automen’s standard doorstep service entails a fully-equipped van with a three-member team that arrives at your doorstep and completes a full servicing within 90 minutes. Standard services included a 100-point bumper-to-bumper inspection, engine oil replacement and fluid top-ups, filter replacements, and more.
Additional services such as servicing brake pads, rotors, shock absorbers, suspension overhaul, clutch overhauls, battery and tyre installation are also offered.
While Automen services all cars of all brands, its forte lies in working with luxury brands.
Expert and transparent service
To differentiate their service from others, Abhishek explains that Automen uses only high-end equipment, genuine spare parts and car fluids that are approved by the manufacturer and backed by a warranty.
Additionally, the service is run by a team of experts – a service manager, a service engineer, and support staff – who are regularly trained in servicing all brands and types of cars. Automen also provides customised services and maintains complete transparency about the servicing process, which means luxury car owners can relax because their car never goes out of sight.
Abhishek claims that Automen is 40 percent cheaper than even the most competitive dealerships and provides a 30-day/1,000 km service warranty on its services.
“Moreover, we are environment-friendly as we provide steam wash for the car. This uses less than 3 litres of water versus a regular wash that uses at least 100 litres of water,” he adds.
Good on competition
Many startups who claim to offer a doorstep service, don’t actually provide one, claims Abhishek. “They provide a pick-n-drop service disguised as a doorstep service. Automen fixes your car in 90 minutes at the place of your choice,” he says.
The founder adds that unlike some of their competitors, Automen is also not an aggregator and so it does not outsource service calls to untrained technicians. They have an in-house team of 25 skilled technicians and automotive engineers on their payroll.
There are more similar startups today than when Automen launched. “But the market is far from saturated, and we consider competition healthy and encouraging,” says Abhishek.
The road ahead
Since it started operations four years back, Automen has grown at an average of 46 percent year on year. “We have undertaken over 3,000 service calls across all brands and have more than 2,000 unique customers. On average, we add 50 new customers every month. Our GMV so far is Rs 3.2 crore,” says Abhishek.
Automen also plans to expand its team in the next two to three years. “We are currently operating with four service vans, and we plan to add six more service vans this year. We also want to include service bikes to undertake routine inspections,” Abhishek adds.
While their services are presently offered only in Delhi-NCR, Automen plans to expand to Mumbai and Bengaluru by 2022. Bootstrapped so far, the company is now looking to raise funds for their expansion plans.
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