Lyft Opens Its Own Repair Shops
March 26, 2019—Lyft continues to look for new ways to lure drivers to its platform, reports CNN Business. The ride-sharing company said Tuesday it will open its own repair shops nationwide, offering deep discounts on things like flat tire fixes, brake work and oil changes, and provide free bank accounts in a bid to attract and retain drivers.
Lyft announced the perks before its initial public offering, which is expected to come as early as Friday. The San Francisco-based tech company, which lost $911 million in 2018, must convince investors it can turn a profit.
Opening auto service centers and offering bank accounts are added costs for Lyft, which will sacrifice its profit margin for the centers to give drivers better deals, according to chief operating officer Jon McNeil.
Lyft's first repair shop opened Tuesday in San Francisco. It expects to open more in a number of major cities in the second half of the year. McNeil declined to mention an exact number, citing Lyft's quiet period ahead of its IPO. The company had 1.1 million active drivers at the end of 2018.
The new programs aim to improve driver satisfaction and retention, which would help Lyft's bottom line. In its S-1, Lyft mentioned its need to cost-effectively attract and retain qualified drivers as a risk factor for its business. Lyft currently pays driver bonuses to sign up that can be hundreds of dollars in competitive markets.
"Servicing a car is one of the biggest costs for drivers," McNeil told CNN Business. "We want to address that head on. By helping them save up to 50% on the repair and get their car back in half the time, we're going to have a significant impact on driver take-home pay."
Lyft opens its first repair shop in San Francisco Tuesday.
In San Francisco, there's a $69.99 charge for an oil change, tire rotation and car wash. Labor charges on maintenance is $95 an hour.
All active Lyft drivers will have access to the service centers. McNeil said one day anyone may be able to have their car serviced by Lyft.
Lyft believes it can make its auto service centers more efficient than existing repair shops with modern manufacturing techniques. Many repairs don't require vehicles to be in a garage stall and a raised on a lift. Instead, McNeil described an assembly line system he likened to a NASCAR pit stop, staffed by technicians who are Lyft employees.
Additionally, Lyft plans for a car repair service in which Lyft technicians would drive with their tools to the vehicle needing service.