CarMender : A Group of Car Owners That Want to Re-Imagine the Way You Look at Car Maintenance

CarMender germinated in the minds of Sandip and Madhav first during their time working in the automobile manufacturing world when they realised the disingenuous way with which major car manufacturers and their authorised service centers functioned.

CarMender, founded on 4th March 2016 by Alaap Dayal, Fahad Khan, Aman Dayal, Sandip and Madhav.

The startup sells itself as "Your Personal Car Manager" and the service they are providing is handling the servicing, repair and refurbishments requirement people have for their passenger cars.

The company has partnered with service centers all over Delhi and Gurgaon to create a network that provides cost effective solutions that beat the median market quote by more than 30% and a high quality of work that is guaranteed.

CarMender is always going to be open to the idea of partnering with investment sources that are looking to create a disruptive influence in the marketplace with benefits to both our employees and our partners.

Chitrakshi Suneja Interacts With Fahad Khan, Founder, CarMender And Spoke to Him

Idea Generation

CarMender germinated in the minds of Sandip and Madhav first during their time working in the automobile manufacturing world when they realised the disingenuous way with which major car manufacturers and their authorised service centers functioned. The major revenue stream for many car manufacturers and especially for D-segment cars is after sales service and repair. And the service centers themselves, have no motivation to be cost effective in their pricing because customers have no alternative available to them. Independent contractors are looked at askance because attached to them is an implicit connotation of a predatory sort of profiteering that is predicated on a customer's lack of technical knowledge and a strong motivation to have their car back in service as soon as possible.

CarMender was intended to make car servicing,repair and refurbishment - Black and White.

Sandip and Madhav started handling the repair for the vehicles of their friends and family and on every count, utilising their skills and experience garnered from their years of work, were able to find alternative repair and sourcing solutions for the cars they were handling and where no alternate solutions were possible, they negotiated with the service centers on behalf of the car owners.

Alaap Dayal has been a business process consultant for the better part of the last decade, dealing with manufacturing and service industries. Steel, rubber, pharmaceuticals and any other type of client for him was a learning curve that lead to him seeing automotive after-sales service and repair as the next market place that was in desperate need for a process re-imagining. In any industry wherein the value chain has been dis-integrated, cost and convenience become the defining parameters for acquiring customers. Alaap identified this dis-integration as 'the opportunity' and galvanised an unformed CarMender team. Through his years of experience as the spearhead for a successful return-to-profitability plan for PBOPlus Consulting and partner in Baraati Inc. ( a wedding planning company that integrates the customer value chain like CarMender) Alaap created a stable growth plan that helped CarMender avoid a lot of pitfalls that most start-ups invariably make. Alaap continues to brings a visibility by designing the internal processes to maximise customer value and manage cost as well as help place CarMender in the marketplace through overall strategy.
Fahad Khan coming from years of working in Engineering and Aircraft Maintenance at JET Airways brought a comprehensive knowledge of the service and maintenance value chain from his experience handling aircraft maintenance. His goal was to elevate car maintenance to a data driven , cost effective and heavily regulated standard that he saw work so well for the aviation industry.

Lastly, Aman Dayal has long been working in a business-to-business environment providing Tech solutions to hospitals and was driven to work in a direct-to-customer environment.

Working Model

The average value chain which is followed :-

Each car that is booked by CarMender is handled doorstep-to-doorstep by a CarMender personal car manager. Prior to a car being picked up, the Personal Car Manager speaks to the customer to get an idea of the work they would like to get done as well as collate operational information about the car - this helps us review our tech database and identify issues and solutions that we think will be likely or possible on that car.

That car is picked up and the PCM (personal car manager) drives the car over to our diagnostics service partner and we identify the issues, and provide a quote with a recommendation of what work needs to be done, what doesn't and what should be done but isn't an imminent requirement.

The customer decides whether they want to choose a CarMender service partner or want CarMender to oversee the work at an manufacturer's service center. While the cost savings are not as significant as they are with the former, at least the customer feels relieved to know that a technically experienced person is handling their car and they are not being fleeced by the service center.

Our repair motto is Repair-Not-Replace as what we have found is how service centers make the majority of their money is simply by replacing components without due process or a troubleshooting mentality.

Cars are then processed and quality checked by the PCM and delivered back to the customer

We provide roadside assistance and are ramping up to provide 24 hr assistance and a First-Response Service in the event of a collision

Special Features

CarMender is based on providing maximum value to both ends of the value chain. Specifically, to both the car owner and the service center trying to get more cars to come to their workshop.

For the customer, CarMender wants to -

- Provide a high quality of work for service,repair and refurbishment for 30% less than market rate

- Provide a personalised degree of convenience for the customer through services like pick-up drop , automated service schedules and roadside assistance

For the service partners, CarMender aims to -

- Review and augment their internal processes to reduce cost and TAT.

- Augment their supply chain management to remove the inflation in spare costings by reducing the number of intermediaries between manufacturer and final consumer.

Challenges Faced

Interestingly, we haven't faced a great deal of resistance to our ideas. We have found a robust and trusting relationship with our customers and our service partners see us value adding. In a sense that the proof in the pudding that CarMender occupies a unique and timely place in the marketplace.

Which is not to say that it's been smooth sailing throughout. While we didn't face a lot of the problems most startups do, we are often confronted with a problem that has long plagued the industry.

Namely, hiring. Finding the right match for your business in the people who want to work with you is a difficult task and we find ourselves surprised every day.

Funding Details

CarMender is a Zero-Debt company and this has been a critical pillar of the company and each of the founders.

From DAY 1 - we have been in the black and turn our profits back into the company to develop better customer interfaces, build bigger on-ground teams and develop add-on services to offer our customers.

The last few years have seen an explosion in start up market place, owing to a facilitative and enabling atmosphere for starting new businesses. And while for the most part a positive thing, this trend also means that a lot of entrepreneurs have come into the marketplace with a slightly myopic interpretation of how a company should grow. Specifically there is an alarming alacrity for Venture Capital investment , absent any reconciliation of the terms of that money against the independence that is inherent in the appeal of a start up.

While CarMender is always going to be open to the idea of partnering with investment sources that are looking to create a disruptive influence in the marketplace with benefits to both our employees and our partners, ultimately nothing comes above providing value to the customer and the freedom we have to innovate and evolve. That's what our business ethos is about and it is imperative that our partners share that and prioritise it above simply having a 'diverse' portfolio.

Monetization & Traction Details

CarMender is providing a service to the customer and our revenue stream at this time, only comes from the final customer.. Since the end of May, CarMender is working on a subscription model interface for our vendors that program will only go live by the end of the second quarter of 2016.

Profits have been steadily growing for us as we develop processes that eliminate the intermediaries in our supply chain and create a model for our vendors that compensates their margins with increased volumes.

As on date CarMender has expanded from Gurgaon to New Delhi. We have serviced a little over 200 clients in the 3 months we have been live officially and are aiming to hit 1000 vehicles by the end of the third quarter of FY 2016.

Market Size & Opportunity

8% of India's GDP comes from its Vehicle manufacturing industry. Domestic sales of passenger vehicles grew by 8.1% in April to Jan 2016. With 3500 new cars being registered in New Delhi everyday in MAY 2016 that's close to 500K cars on the road by the end of FY 2016.

The simple truth is the repair and service industry is worth in excess of 23.5 million USD just for Delhi alone. This is a market that is not only dealing with a volumes deluge but without a metering and regulating influence, it will inevitable result in malfeasance, negligence, profiteering and a massive reduction in customer value. That's where we come in.

To help bridge the gap between final consumer and the service providers struggling with logistical realities and limitations in their processes.

"Until you get a thank you, the job is not done." said Fahad Khan, Founder, CarMender

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