When your car needs maintenance or a repair, where do you turn?
Garry Rosenfeldt wants to take the hassle out of finding reputable service shops and making appointments. The Buffalo Grove resident launched this month Repairhub, a website that makes it easy for vehicle owners to make such arrangements.
“It was kind of a no-brainer,” Rosenfeldt said of his venture. “People hate calling around town to find a mechanic.”
Rosenfeldt know this because he spent nine years as the director of marketing research at Midas, where he conducted focus groups. He recalls asking participants what they looked for when searching online for auto service shops. Their responses, he said, were always the same, and he took them into account when designing Repairhub.
The site allows visitors to search by ZIP code — a search of Buffalo Grove’s 60089 reveals 15 nearby shops — and quickly schedule appointments for specific services. When coupons are available, they are posted on the shop’s Repairhub page.
Service shops are notified when appointments are made, and customers can request a phone call to confirm their appointment.
Repairhub currently lists 125 shops in the north and northwest suburbs as well as on Chicago’s North Side. Before the website launched on Nov. 1, Rosenfeldt said he and his team visited each shop to interview the staff and ensure that the shop met Repairhub’s criteria. The site features businesses that offer a wide range of auto services, have positive online customer feedback and have a pleasant physical environment for customers. Both chains and independent shops are included.
Rosefeldt said Repairhub is particularly targeted at women because “generally women and auto services don’t tend to mix that well.” By using the site, customers “don’t have to call all over town to schedule appointments” and they don’t have to deal with auto shop personnel until they arrive for their appointment.
The site is also beneficial to participating service shops, which gain additional exposure and new sales leads. Businesses pay nothing upfront to be listed on Repairhub, but they are charged — $3 for basic service such as an oil change or $12 for a major repair — after jobs scheduled through the site are completed.
Repairhub also provides an online presence for shops without their own websites and offers the ability for all scheduling — even appointments not made through Repairhub — to be tracked on the site.
Rosenfeldt, who serves as Repairhub's chief executive officer, receives input from an advisory board made up of industry experts from across North America. He said he plans to expand the site nationally and into Canada.
Repairhub follows the same business model that OpenTable uses to facilitate dinner reservations and other sites use to showcase healthcare and barber services, said Rosenfeldt, who has scheduled reservations and appointments through such sites. He said Repairhub will fill a void in the auto service industry.
“It takes a bit of time, creativity and perseverance, but I really believe in what I’m doing,” he said.