Article formerly published by CarDash. The ideas and opinions presented in this article are solely those of CarDash and do not reflect the ideas and opinions of AutoNation Mobile Service.
“Hello, thank you for calling CarDash, this is Will. Can I help you?”
“Yeah, I am looking for an alignment. What does that cost on my vehicle?”
“That would be $105. We actually come to pick up your vehicle, bring it in for service, and safely return it back to you after!”
“Okay, so pick up and drop off is $105. How much is the alignment?”
“It’s not extra, sir — the $105 includes everything.”
“Stop it. You’re kidding. How much extra is it, really?”
“I am completely serious, sir!”
“Okay… what’s the catch?”
That’s a real (albeit abbreviated) conversation I had with a customer a couple weeks ago, and it’s a conversation that I find repeats itself often. CarDash makes a bold promise: excellent customer service, fair and upfront pricing, concierge delivery, in-depth explanations of your repairs — and a final bill that is usually comparable to bringing your vehicle to a local mechanic yourself.
But there’s not a catch! At CarDash, we can offer you a competitive price because we know the right aisle at the right grocery story, receive volume discounts that we can pass on to you, and don’t own a fax machine. Let me explain…
Getting your car serviced is like going to a grocery store
A grocery store sells a vast array of different foods — hamburgers, vegetables, bread, drinks, dairy products. For every food, you have numerous competing brands — fresh vs. frozen, Kellogg vs. General Mills. Each store offers a different level of service, and occupies a unique neighborhood. While you know that one store gives youthe best value for fresh produce, you go to the store down the street to buy snacks.
Getting your car serviced is like going to the grocery store — except you only go once or twice a year, often purchase something you have never bought before, and don’t feel confident that you understand what food is.
In the automotive repair world, every vehicle requires a different type of service, and every service requires a unique blend of time and skill to complete correctly. You’ll pay a different amount in Fremont than you will in Menlo Park (rent costs matter!), and each mechanic chooses to run their business differently. Some offer free light bulbs and expensive diagnostic follow ups; others sell expensive brake jobs and affordable scheduled maintenance. And all the warranties and parts qualities are different!
There is a lot of information to wade through, and that is a big part of how CarDash can help you out. We can only use quality mechanics (how else can we offer the best warranty in the business), and we know where to find the best price for each repair. Then we split that benefit with you, so you’re still paying a market rate for the service, and we’re able to provide you with an experience you will actually enjoy.
We get volume discounts
This is the easiest part of our business to explain: you buy in bulk, you get a discount. We buy automotive service in bulk, so we get a discount.
In other words, your service is subsidized (in part) by discounts from the mechanics. But don’t feel bad about that — it’s a good deal for them, too. They can only service a certain amount of vehicles per day. Say the technicians can service 10 vehicles per day, but only expect six to come in tomorrow. They can’t work extra hard the next day to “catch up” — there is only so much time in the day, and so much space to work on the vehicle.
It’s the automotive equivalent of putting extra inventory on sale. CarDash helps the shops ensure their technicians have a full slate of work each day. Sure, they don’t make as much money as they would if we paid full price. But ultimately, that’s a tradeoff that makes sense for them — they ultimately end up much more profitable than if we didn’t bring them any vehicles at all.
(Nerdy microeconomics explanation: their marginal revenue is still greater than their marginal cost!)
Automotive technology is ancient
CarDash might be the only automotive service provider in the country that doesn’t own a fax machine. We don’t use a paper calendar. Instead of installing software from ancient CDs like most shops do, we build our own. We have a dedicated engineering team focused on integrating our systems. This helps us plan ahead, automate manual processes, and ultimately offer a more seamless experience. If all of the stuff we do costs us less than the average, then we can charge you less, too.
Want an example? When you ask your local mechanic for help with an estimate for something basic (say, an oil change) they probably know the price off the top of their head. It’s so common, they just charge everyone the same price.
But say you want help with a complex repair like a timing belt, and you want a dealer-only part. Now they have to call the dealership and ask them how much the part costs. They look up how much time (exactly) the work will take, and review additional literature to see if they should replace anything else at the same time. That’s a lot of time preparing an estimate for someone who might never walk in the door! And all of that time means less time spent working on vehicles, which means higher prices for the work itself.
That’s where CarDash helps everyone. We can save our service centers time by bringing them vehicles to work on, not to price. By planning effectively and automating manual processes, we can reduce the overhead you are subsidizing on each service.
There are a lot of other things we try to do to reduce your cost, too. But there’s no secret sauce, and no smoke and mirrors. There’s not a catch — just a hardworking team that wants to make automotive service convenient, affordable, and trustworthy.