Art is one of the co-founders of YourMechanic. YourMechanic provides car maintenance and repair at the convenience of your home or office at up 30% less cost than dealerships. YourMechanic is currently available in 21 cities in 12 states.
RFZ: Can you tell us a little background about how you decided to start YourMechanic?
Art: I grew up in India. Growing up I was never around cars. Ever since I moved to US and bought my first car, I have had a series of bad experiences at repair shops. Every time I went to shop, I felt like I don’t know if I am paying the fair price, if the mechanic is good, or the parts are good, etc. The lack of transparency at shops was a big issue for me.. After enough bad experiences, I decided to start YourMechanic to leverage technology to make the entire experience better. Not only our mechanics come to you (incredible convenience), but we give you a fixed upfront price, you can see mechanics reviews upfront, our system matches you with the right mechanic based on your car and service you need (no need to figure out if you have the right mechanic), and all the part brands are hand-picked by our team.
RFZ: What was your very first start-up and how did becoming a first time entrepreneur affect your personal finances?
Art: I started CareWorkforce before YourMechanic. CareWorkforce was bootstrapped for almost 4 years and it failed. It severely affected my personal finance but it was one of the greatest learning experiences ever!
RFZ: During the early stages of the business, were you paying yourself salary? If not, how did you manage to get by?
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Art: At YourMechanic, we did not pay ourselves salary until we raised our seed round. I was able to tutor to make extra cash on the side.
RFZ: Did you do any odd jobs to make extra cash on the side?
Art: I did side work (mostly tutoring) during my first startup to pay bills. But I was lucky that I didn’t have to do this when we were building YourMechanic.
RFZ: It’s common to hear stories from customers who have been ripped off at an auto shop, what would be your single biggest tip on how to avoid this?
Art: First, try YourMechanic! :). If we are not in your area yet, try to find an independent mechanic. Your chances of getting ripped off is much higher when you are working with a “service advisor” whose whole job is to sell you services (sometimes they are commissioned to do that). Mechanics are not usually very good sales people. They just want to fix cars. This is one of the things our customers love about our service – they get to work with mechanics directly – no middleman or sales people involved in the process.
RFZ: Do you watch Silicon Valley? If so, who’s your favorite character?
Art: No, but I’ve heard great things!
RFZ: Who do you think is going to win the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight?
Art: It’s going to be one hell of a fight. Mayweather is the king of defense while Pacquiao is a brawler. I think it will definitely go the distance. My mind tells me that Mayweather will win the fight but my heart hopes that Pacquiao wins the fight.