A Mobile Mechanic's Experience
Matt Farnham, owner of Auto Repair 2 You in Phoenix, knew the true impact the coronavirus would have on his business when his 5-employee mobile repair team got 27 cancellations in one day—he never had more than 3. A few days later, everything shut down in Phoenix and since then, his car count, which was typically 5-7 per day, has dropped to 3-4. That seems to be consistent with overall trends that Ratchet+Wrench has seen with brick and mortar shops.
Farnham shares how his business has had to adjust and the lessons that he’s learned as a result of COVID-19.
You’re already mobile and technically socially distant in your operation, so what processes have you had to change?
The parts ordering process is different now. None of the mechanics go into the store—the parts are pre purchased and there’s curbside pick-up. Also, when it comes to actually working on the cars, our techs wipe down the whole car at the beginning and then they wipe it down when they’re done with the repair. With some customers, we never even see their faces. They put their keys on the car tire and then we put it back.
I’ve also had to be a lot more reassuring on the phone about our practices. Because we may never see them, we need to explain what we’re doing to keep them safe.
Are you going to continue doing any of these processes once business is back to normal?
We’re going to keep doing the curbside pickups for parts. It saves time for both the client and us and it’s a lot cleaner of a process.
How do you believe mobile mechanics are in a better position than brick and mortar shops?
As far as safety is concerned, you never even have to leave your house.
What have you found most surprising about this?
Business transactions are going to change. Handshakes, for example, may go away entirely. A handshake and looking someone in the eye, it’s so American and so symbolic of a business transaction. Moving forward, we’re going to have to find a new way to create this.