Mr. Salla — an entrepreneur who emigrated to the U.S. from India in 2012 — founded FixMyCar in 2018 as a "managed tech marketplace" that aims to bring transparency and convenience to car repair by sending a certified mechanic to the car owner's doorsteps.
"We do background checks, certification verifications, soft skills screening and ensure cultural fit when we hire mechanics," Mr. Salla said, noting that the mechanics are independent contractors working within parameters established by his company.
"It's a unique experience when you can talk to the mechanic outside your house, ask questions about your car, and get maintenance or driving tips," he said. "This changes the way people think about car repair and empowers them to take control of their vehicle's health. The auto repair space is ripe for disruption."
Mr. Salla brings experience as a car mechanic — he worked as one in India for $100 a month while studying mechanical engineering in college — as well as a Master's degree in automotive engineering from Clemson University, to the business,
Mr. Salla claims services available through FixMyCar are priced 20% to 30% lower than through dealerships and repair shops while still providing mechanics with "significantly" higher salaries. The FixMyCar business model is able to charge less because the affiliated mechanics have little overhead.
FixMyCar has set up business in just three metropolitan districts thus far — Detroit, Dallas and Houston — but is planning to start in Austin, Texas, and other metro areas soon, with plans to go nationwide eventually.
Most mechanics operating under the FixMyCar umbrella offer flexible service hours, with extended business hours and weekend availability, allowing car owners the opportunity to get the work done when it's most convenient for them.
FixMyCar offers a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty on parts and labor on most repairs and services.
Mechanics looking to become part of the FixMyCar network are interviewed on their "soft and technical" skills and must pass an internal test. The company also conducts professional and personal background checks and arranges for a senior staff mechanic to ride along on the first few customer visits.
Mechanics need to possess tools necessary for most repairs, such as a OBD diagnostic scanner, electrical tools, mechanical tools, jack stands and other tools necessary to perform maintenance and basic repair, as well as their own form of transportation.
FixMyCar does not provide any tools or other physical assets.
FixMyCar sets the pricing for all services. Mechanics get paid weekly by direct deposit depending on their hours of work and a weekly performance bonus.
Among services offered are: diagnostics; battery and starter replacement; brake system and light engine repairs; routine maintenance (such as oil changes) and used-car inspections.
Additional services in the pipeline are towing, washing, buying and selling/renting cars from a home-based business, all which can be handled through the company's MyCar Marketplace.
For repairs that would require work be performed in a shop, FixMyCar is in the process of building a "trusted, qualified shop network" for such work.
Mr. Salla claims he got his first seed money for starting FixMyCar from received from an "angel investor" he met at a bar. Since then he has secured $1.6 million more in investor funding from Mucker Capital VC, Okapi VC, Marc Randolph (Netflix's founding CEO), Richard Wolpert (Hello Tech's founder and CEO), John Kobs (ApartmentList.com's founder and CEO) and other strategic investors.