We were fortunate enough to have Jeffrey tell us about his website, FairRepair.com.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I grew up in Cleveland, OH and attended The Ohio State University. I
stayed in Columbus after graduating with a Business Degree and I’m
happily married to my wife Debbie and we have 2 boys, Alexander and
Andrew. While in college, the web was just starting to get popular and
I was fortunate enough to work for a local web design firm. Two years
after graduating college I left that design firm to work for myself
and I became a co-owner in a web development consulting firm. During
that time I was approached by a group of very experienced automotive
executives who asked me to become a partner and develop a sophisticated
car repair estimating system aimed at consumers. Having developed
several web applications for the automotive industry I was immediately
excited about the idea and saw a huge opportunity.
Q: How did FairRepair.com start and why did you start it?
A: Being in the automotive industry for 20+ years, friends and relatives
of our CEO would consistently ask him if the cost of repairs for their
vehicle was accurate. In 2004, with the growth of the web, he saw an
opportunity to empower consumers with this information.
Q: What are some of the benefits of using your service?
A: We knew, in order to be respected by consumers and the repair
industry, our estimates had to be accurate and exact. We decided
immediately that we needed to license our data from the most highly
respected source in the automotive repair industry, and we knew that
company was MOTOR Information Systems, a subsidiary of Hearst
Publishing. MOTOR’s OEM Parts and Labor database powers 2 of the
largest dealer management systems in the US as well as many of the
independent repair shops estimating software. A vast majority of
repair shops know the MOTOR brand and respect and base their estimates
on their data. We also license a repair shop database with over 50K
records that contains each shop’s labor rate updated within the last year.
Combining both databases we are able to produce exact pricing for a
repair estimate. A FairRepair.com estimate will show the OEM Part #,
current market price and the actual labor time for that repair. We
then take an average of the labor rates in that vicinity and generate
the estimate. No other competing company licenses the MOTOR database
nor our proprietary repair shop database.
As a consumer, if no one is willing to complete the repair work on
their vehicle for the estimate that we or any of our competitors
generate, where’s the value? FairRepair.com is proud to have repair
shops nationwide who not only agree to honor a customer’s
FairRepair.com estimate, they have also agreed to rebate back to the
customer the purchase price of our estimate. Repair shops are finding
that our service and their decision to honor our estimates is
generating them business. Just last week, PepBoys, which has 500+ repair
shops nationwide, agreed to honor and rebate back to the customer the
purchase price of a FairRepair.com estimate. Given their nationwide
footprint and the number of independent repair shops who’ve made the
same commitment to us, we’re able to provide to a majority of
customers a repair shop within 10 miles who will honor our estimate.
A: FairRepair.com is proud of our relationship with MOTOR Information
Systems and because of them, our customers and repair shops know and
respect where our Parts & Labor Repair originated from when generating
their estimate. FairRepair.com provides estimates that are exact, we do not use ranges to generate an estimate. Providing an estimate with ranges or guesses leads to customers being overcharged and it’s clear a FairRepair.com estimate eliminates this problem. We have a nationwide
database of repair shops who will honor our estimate when presented to
them and many of these repair shops have agreed to rebate back to our
mutual customer the cost of our estimate, essentially making our service free.
Q: There are a ton of different cars, different models, and different years. That seems like a ton of data. Is your website able to give an estimate on all mechanical repairs?
A: The Parts & Labor data that we license does allow us to give an estimate for any mechanical repair however we don’t intend to be everything to everyone. Some repairs are just too complicated to be accurate without an inspection from a certified mechanic, for example the rebuilding of an engine. That being said, we know what the 100 most popular repairs are and it is our initial goal to have 100% of those repairs available for every vehicle from 1984 on. Our system is not there yet, although we are adding new repairs to our system regularly.
Q: What future plans do you have for FairRepair.com?
A: We are developing a repair shop review/rater system so that our customers can make a more knowledgeable decision as to where they should take their vehicle for repairs. We are also developing a reverse auction system that would allow repair shops to bid on our customers estimates.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to add?
A: We have been asked in the past if we have any monetary relationship
with the repair shops in our database and the answer is no. We are completely independent. It is free to add a repair shop to our directory whether a repair shop just wants to be listed or they agree to rebate back to the customer their purchase price. FairRepair.com does not receive any kickbacks from repair shops if our customer decides to use their services.
FairRepair.com greatly appreciates the opportunity to inform your readers of our service, I invite them to use our service the next time their vehicle needs a repair.
Photo by: Stevo Arnold
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