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A new auto service business model in the time of Carmageddon

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Don’t Drink And Write

I’ve said in this column before that our worsening traffic situation is actually giving rise to new business opportunities for some enterprising individuals. That includes delivery service for food, packages and even groceries. Because a single errand can now easily eat up half of your day, you basically just prefer to stay at home or in the office and pay someone else to get or bring you whatever it is that needs fetching. For many of us, the fee for such a service is far cheaper than its time equivalent if we were to drive out ourselves.

Now, besides delivery, another business model has surfaced: the car valet maintenance service. In essence, it’s paying a company to take care of your automotive concerns so you can better spend your time on more important things. For instance, you need to have your car serviced for its routine preventive maintenance? Instead of you personally bringing the vehicle to the casa, you can now have someone do it for you.

There are now two companies offering the same type of service but also in two entirely different ways.

First is BeepBeep.ph, a Web site that compiles a directory of car shops and service centers. You book a service with them and one of their drivers will arrive and get your car so he can bring it to the shop you’ve chosen on their menu. The company says their drivers all wear a body camera, and that your car is insured the whole time it is under their custody. The service obviously is available depending on the operating hours of your chosen shop.

Second is MyCasa. You contact them and one of their service trucks with two technicians will come to you. The truck has all the tools needed for all the basic service jobs you might require for your vehicle (excluding car wash, that is). Which means they’ll work on your car on the spot — no need to drive it away. The service is available 24 hours a day. Yes, even at three in the morning.

BeepBeep.ph and MyCasa will each appeal to two different sets of car owners. I imagine the former will be for those whose vehicles are still under warranty, while the latter will be for those whose cars are no longer under warranty. Also, the first will be for people who don’t mind their cars being handled by strangers, while the second will be for folks (such as myself) who hate the thought of other men touching their wheels.

The difference in the nature of their service is clear. BeepBeep.ph doesn’t do the servicing itself; it just babysits your car while bringing it to the real experts. MyCasa, on the other hand, will perform the job while you watch (if you like).

Whether you go for BeepBeep.ph or MyCasa, the point is that such a service already exists. No need to get depressed when it’s time for the car to get some TLC.

I just have one issue with the marketing strategy of the companies involved in this business: The promotional materials of both BeepBeep.ph and MyCasa include photographs of female drivers beside their broken cars and not knowing what to do next. Which perpetuates the classic damsel-in-distress idea of women being helpless when it comes to car stuff. I’m a guy and I have no problem admitting that a lot of lady car owners out there know more about troubleshooting a vehicle than I do. Stop with this ridiculous marketing suggestion. I bet 80% of customers availing of this valet maintenance service are lazy-ass men who’d rather watch a sporting event on TV than bring their car to the dealership. Just setting the record straight.

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