Prashant Salla (middle), the founder of FixMyCar.
Every month we feature some of our Everything Marketplaces community members to help highlight their story, their journey building their marketplace, and get a glimpse at what's ahead.
In this member feature we highlight Prashant Salla, who's the founder of FixMyCar. FixMyCar is a marketplace that makes it easy to book certified technicians for auto maintenance that come directly to your home or office. Prashant first joined Everything Marketplaces while scaling FixMyCar to multiple markets and has since done so, while also raising $1.6M+ from top investors like Mucker Capital and strategic angel investors.
I’ve always been fascinated with cars and how they work since I was a young child. I worked as a mechanic while I was studying for college, went on to get my Masters in Automotive Engineering, and then eventually work as an Engineer for 6 years in Metro Detroit before starting FixMyCar. I’m obsessed with customer service and making an impact for mechanics, so FixMyCar has been cultivated throughout my previous life experiences and is now my mission.
The first thing I did was start talking to mechanics and running a lean experiment to answer the basic question of "Are mechanics willing to go out to fix people’s cars at their house?”. When I began actually asking this question to mechanics, over 95% of the mechanics agreed to come to my house, which was overwhelming validated to my initial hypothesis and question with FixMyCar.
The biggest challenge though was really getting the mechanics to meet me. They would talk to me on the phone, but would not easily agree to meet in person so I could tell them more about FixMyCar. It turns out that most didn't want to do so since they simply didn't have a high degree of trust and since it was such a new concept in the beginning. Some actually told me that it sounded too good to be true. A story that highlights the extent of this was when I had scheduled meetings with five mechanics at a Panera Bread one week, but not one of them showed up. Once we overcame this initial challenge through educating mechanics in what we were building, they started working with us and also trusting us. At that point the retention for mechanics on FixMyCar was also incredible.
After we onboarded our first mechanics, we began to run targeted Facebook ads for mechanics to join our platform. We began to receive a large amount of interest, mechanics apply, and we hired enough of them for our initial demand. That also proved another hypothesis we had, which was that mechanics were not happy in the shops and that they wanted to venture outside of the shops to work for themselves. On the other side we were learning how much convenience and transparency also mattered to consumers, so our model for trusted mechanics coming to a home or office was a compelling solution. The missing piece was the platform that could connect them both, along with the trust, transparency, and peace of mind with certifications, which is exactly what we're building with FixMyCar.
To be honest, the first $250k check was not that hard. That was an interesting story where I was at a local bar, met my now investor at 1am on a Saturday night, and he then invested $250k the next week after I wrote down our business plan on three napkins with beer all over it.
After that, the fundraising journey was more challenging, but we've raised over $1.6M now from some incredible investors like Mucker Capital and strategic angel investors that know marketplaces very well and are aligned with our mission.
I think one of the most important things I learned was how important it is to truly understand the supply side and their needs. In particular, it's been incredibly important for us to understand what mechanics value the most, then always making sure that we as a platform provide a better experience and add more value than the typical way that they would work prior to or outside of FixMyCar.
Another learning with building FixMyCar is that we didn't realize just how important convenience is to customers and how much they are willing to pay for it.
I'm excited to share that we're launching our yearly FixMyCar memberships that will be $149/year. Our members will be able to enjoy the convenience of oil changes delivered to their office or house, along with member discounts for other services and an on-demand technician support. This will be a big step launch for us.
Connect with Prashant in the Everything Marketplaces community.