Should you use a mobile mechanic?
Mobile mechanics have been around for decades. In the past, they were typically one-man-show self employed technicians that advertised on Craigslist and offered to repair your vehicle in your driveway. But things are changing as more companies get into the mobile mechanic business.
Then came companies like YourMechanic, Seattle-based Wrench and RepairSmith in California. These are basically marketing organizations that advertise auto repair services to be do at your home. They book the appointments and hand the billing. Then they hire technicians either as W-2 or 1099 employees to do the work. The customer reviews are mixed.
YourMechanic Reviews on Trustpilot.com
YourMechanic for example has a wide range of reviews, with 61% of trustpilot.com reviews showing an Excellent rating and 32% of customers providing a Poor or Bad rating. What’s scary are the things the customers say when they’re displeased with the service. These are word-for-word quotes about YourMechanic from the trustpilot site.
YourMechanic Customer: Tia Rose 10-22-19 “DO NOT USE THESE CROOKS”
They will do more damage then good and it will cost you many times more by the time they are done screwing you over than if you had went to a qualified auto mechanic. Support is also a freaking JOKE!!
YourMechanic Customer: Claire Claire 10/21/19
DO NOT USE, I REPEAT, IT’S NOT WORTH THE FEW DOLLARS YOU SAVE AND YOUR CAR WILL BE RUINED WITH YOU HAVING TO PAY TO HAVE THE DAMAGE UNDONE.
The mechanic didn’t know what he was doing.
My car sat for a 1 month until I could come up with $1,500 to fix it properly and fix what the mechanic broke.
After it was all said and done they erased both mechanics from the website so I could not l leave a review. They give you a fake phone number to communicate with the mechanic but they erase it as soon as something goes wrong so you can’t communicate anymore.
They twisted the story around about what really happened, and some new mechanic that came out lied and tried to get more money out of me with a false recommendation
YourMechanic Customer:Dany Wayne Schuerle 1021/19
Horrible experience, Mechanic was late and unprofessional. Tire was left loose after service was performed which put my life and vehicle at risk. Had to be taken to other mechanic for repair to be complete correctly afterword. Was told i was not eligible for refund for work even though i submitted paperwork from pepboys. Took them weeks to even get back to me to tell me i was not getting a refund.
Wrench reviews on Yelp.com
Wrench has a 47 yelp reviews and a 4-start rating. The comments mostly refer to the mobile mechanic showing up late or not showing at all
RepairSmith Reviews on Yelp.com
RepairSmith, on the other hand has 37 yelp reviews with a 5 start rating
Based on Yelp and Trustpilot reviews, RepairSmith seems to be one of the better mobile mechanic services.
The big three in mobile mechanic service
YourMechanic was founded in 2012 in Mountain View, California and supplies mobile mechanics in 3,000 U.S communities, with over 1,000 technicians.
Seattle based Wrench started in 2015 and provides mobile mechanic services in 20 U.S. markets across 10 states, including Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Illinois. The company has 80 to 100 full time mechanics on staff
RepairSmith is backed directly by Daimler. It started in 2019 in Los Angeles and services California markets. They aim to service out-of-warranty vehicles in the 10 to 12 year old range. The average repair bill by RepairSmith is around $400 which is higher than the average $348 charge customers see when they bring their vehicle into the shop. RepairSmith service vans are also capable of towing the vehicle into the shop
Mobile mechanic labor rates
The selling point for mobile mechanics is the convenience of having your vehicle repaired at your home and not needed a rental car or a shuttle van service; not the price. Mobile mechanics from these firms and car dealers charge the same hourly rate and flat rate as they do at their dealer or as an independent shop. In other words, their prices are no bargain.
Obviously mobile mechanics can’t do all kinds of repairs in your driveways, but some car makers and car dealers have equipped service vans with the tools to do minor repairs and tire service in your driveway.
Car dealers are getting forced into mobile mechanic services
Car makers and dealers are taking notice of these mobile mechanic services since they are a direct threat to dealer service bays. In a recent study by Cox Automotive shows that more dealer customers (39%) are interested in mobile mechanic services instead of just vehicle pick up and delivery services. Yet, only 6% of dealers in the survey say there are toying with the idea of providing mobile mechanic services.
David Bergamotto is the service manager for Park Avenue BMW in Rochelle Park, N.J. His service department has equipped a tire service van to provide at home tire service for its customers.
Ford Motor launched a pilot program in May 2019 that dispatches dealer service vans to perform maintenance services and some repairs to customers’ homes and office. In addition to tire service, the van can also provide trim repair and oil changes as well as recall repairs and vehicle reprogramming.
By providing the service at the customers’ home or office, the dealership reduces the expenses associated with maintaining a large loaner fleet. Bergamotto offers this warning to other dealers; “If dealers don’t wake up and get out on the road,” he says, competitors are going to take your repair business, just like Safelite did with glass
Toyota Motor North America is also exploring a pilot program to provide mobile mechanic service that will start in 2020 at some Toyota and Lexus dealers. At the same time, Audi of America is looking at a mobile mechanic program for electric vehicles. Some Audi dealers already make house calls for minor repairs.
BMW of North America is providing dealer incentives to a test group of 50-60 dealers to have mobile mechanics go to the customer’s homes to provide recall repairs. According to Athens BMW service manager Bevan Doyle, “It took a minute to get the techs to buy into it, but now that they have, they love doing it.” “We’re doing just about everything that is doable in the field — obviously we don’t have a lift, so we can’t do driveshafts,” Doyle says. (—AutoNews 10.22.19)
With all these options, how do you know when and how to choose a mobile mechanic?
I’ve compiled a checklist of the types of services that are well suited for a mobile mechanic along with a list of minimum qualifications you should research before hiring an independent mobile mechanic. Find that post here.
©, 2019 Rick Muscoplat
Posted on by Rick Muscoplat