If you are a car owner, it is likely that you have been concerned about its maintenance and/or repair at some point. And, if you happen to own a second-hand car — which is what many Indians do, with the domestic used car market estimated to reach $75 billion by 2023 — the concerns are paramount.
Questions such as how to ensure that the vehicle is not defective, how to pay the right price for a used car, how to find a trustworthy service station, how not to spend a bomb on servicing an old car, and more might have plagued you.
CheckMyGaadi was conceived to help you find answers to these questions, and make your journey as a used-car owner convenient and hassle-free.
The startup was founded in 2016 by Delhi-based entrepreneur Ram Jaiswal, who envisioned organising the domestic second-hand car maintenance market.
He tells YourStory,
“Buying and selling used cars was – and still is – a big grey area in the auto industry. People were sceptical about purchases. Servicing was entirely unorganised, and buyers often ended up going to non-trustworthy service stations to avoid high expenses.”
From one-time inspection to long-term maintenance
It started as a pre-purchase car inspection platform for people looking to buy pre-owned cars; it even helped them arrive at the right valuation for the used vehicle. Two-plus years and nearly 3,000 car inspections later, CheckMyGaadi expanded into the services side at the end of 2018.
It is now a one-stop servicing platform for multiple car needs, from annual maintenance and minor repairs to major replacements and routine servicing. Services are available for both used and new cars (even though these are under warranty for the first couple of years).
With its expanded product line, the startup hopes to deliver more comfort and greater convenience at costs “40-50 percent lower than the industry standard”. Founder-CEO Ram says,
“Other service providers charge depending on car and fuel variants. We have a flat rate starting at Rs 10,599, and it is the most cost-effective solution in the market right now.”
Car buyers can choose from three service packages: SMART Care (a long-term maintenance pack that includes doorstep servicing, full car spa, 64-point performance check), VALUE Care(comes with roadside assistance, denting and painting, A/C servicing, and wheel balancing), and LUXE Care (a premium service pack dedicated to luxury cars).
CheckMyGaadi says SMART Care – available as a half-yearly or annual package – is its focus product this year, and is already picking up good traction. The company expects “minimum sales” of Rs 6 crore from SMART Care in 2019 alone. Ram says, “Many corporates have proposed SMART Care to their employees. A few of them have even wanted to sell the product on their platform.”
Droom Technologies, for instance, is selling SMART Care to its clients. “Several companies in the car insurance and car warranty sector as well as fleet management companies want to associate with us,” Ram reveals.
(The startup’s past and present customers include Mahindra First Choice, CarDekho, and more. The Times Group is also said to be interested in it.)
Growth and expansion
CheckMyGaadi’s overall turnover has been less than a crore, but it expects “a 10-fold revenue growth” by 2020, riding on new products, services, and corporate customers.
The platform currently services 300-400 orders per month, and expects to grow that to 1,000 by the end of the year. And by 2020, it estimates a 15x jump in service orders to about 15,000 a month.
CheckMyGaadi will also be launching an app that will not only enable customers to place requests and pay for orders more seamlessly, but also allow them to live-track the car’s maintenance while it is at the workshop.
Ram reveals that work on the app is underway, but the bootstrapped startup is looking to raise about $500,000 in funding by April, prior to the launch. He says,
“We want to keep our product pricing low. But, B2C is a big segment and a cash-burning proposition. We didn’t raise any money so far because we were not in a hurry to launch products. But, a new product line needs capital.”
So far, the startup has run on its founder’s finances. “I encashed all my savings of 13 years… because I did not want to look back,” Ram says.
Along with product expansion, CheckMyGaadi is also eyeing a wider geographical footprintoutside Delhi-NCR. By 2020-end, it plans to offer all-year road assistance to vehicles and have 50-plus service station tie-ups across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Pune, before looking at “unexplored markets” in Tier II and III cities.
“Eventually, we want to build an OYO model, where we handpick service stations across cities, standardise their procedures and services, and equip them the way we want. They, in turn, take our brand forward.”
The challenges and opportunities
But, some challenges remain, especially on the hiring front.
CheckMyGaadi has an eight-member in-house team along with 27 on-demand service engineers. It plans to double the team size, but suitable talent has been hard to find. Ram observes,
“Despite my industry connect, the biggest challenge has been finding the right talent… because employees want big brands, big startups, and big money.”
But, opportunities abound for CheckMyGaadi in a sector that is growing at 65 percent annually. More than 3.4 million used cars are sold in India every year, and only about 13 percent are processed by organised dealers, according to market research firm Mordor Intelligence.
Hence, the startup has successfully identified a space that needs organisation and standardisation. There is competition, of course, from GarageOnRoad, Pitstop, Vehito, GoMechanic, and other auto repair startups.
But, CheckMyGaadi reckons that its affordable pricing and doorstep services will go down as differentiators.