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RepairLync - A New, Free Website to Electronically Link Shops to Customers


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Hello all,

The purpose of this thread is to introduce our free software product: RepairLync (http://www.repairlync.com) - Not to be confused with the "Repair Link" site that does something completely different.


What does RepairLync do?

- RepairLync electronically connects customers to your automotive repair shop to increase your business and revenue. It's the first of its kind, ever.


How does it do it?

- Customers request estimates through an Android app (which gets their OBD-II DTCs, regular and pending, or they can simply select work items from a list), and shop managers respond via a website (which is desktop and mobile friendly)

- There are options to protect yourself and you are not locked in to exact estimate quotes. We offer configurable disclaimers, customer messaging, vehicle imaging (customer driven), and give all the details we can about the vehicle.

- Customer online reviews promote your shop


What's the cost?

- It's free, no strings attached. We are planning to use advertising to support our operating and development costs.


Now I know this product won't be for everyone, and some may be skeptical about remote diagnosis - which is fine because this product is so new. But we are really aimed to tailor our designs to be the best for shop owners/managers, and customers...as well as gaining exposure for auto repair businesses. Our goal is to get the whole industry electronically connected with customers. Shop owners can control who's vehicle they service, while customers can gain trust about getting the right work done for the job. Since are in Beta in January, we are starting sign ups in hopes of product use, and in hopes that we can get honest feedback for our features.


Customers have shown huge interest in this product, but we are heavily limiting their sign ups this month. We we want to ensure our product is designed with the highest quality before our tentative February full release.


For a quick overview/tutorial on the site:


To sign up in Beta (which will offer full production functionality, but with very limiated customers), please go to https://shop.repairlync.com


Thanks and we appreciate any feedback!


EDIT: Adding Q&A section. There is quite a bit of feedback and questions and we address most of them here:




RepairLync Q&A


- Remote diagnosis is extremely difficult and impossible in many cases. How can your product reliably help us to diagnose vehicles?

We, at RepairLync, agree that remote diagnosis can be iffy for many cases (some will say most or all). This is why, when there is not a clear cut diagnosis, we recommend that the shop sends a (Provision 1) "Diagnosis-only quote". This means that you cannot possibly remotely estimate this vehicle. So you'd treat them as a walk-in - you tell them your diagnosis fee and they decide whether or not to diagnose. If you do not want to even see the vehicle, there is absolutely no obligation to even estimate it, nor give them a "Diagnosis-only quote."


- But even "clear cut" cases can lead to more issues and a bad estimate. How do you handle that?

To a point, it's best to use strategic judgement in what the diagnostic results show. For example, if a P0300 shows as their DTC, this, in no case, is ever clear cut. You would try for Provision 1, "Diagnosis-only quote". However, say there's something more straight-forward, like P0135. This is most likely the O2 sensor itself (not something upstream, since it's the heater circuit). Seems straight forward, so you quote it. Now the customer takes his car in, and you find out they have a bad PCM, really foul plugs that are throwing everything else off, etc. This is where (Provision 2) can be used - disclaimers. You could specify that this fix is ONLY if the O2 sensor is the culprit, which is most of the time. So in many cases, you will be fine. If you find that other issues are the cause, they could pay for the real fix, or pay you only for your diagnosis, after they take the car in. This is part of the customer agreement to RepairLync.


- But if we tell them their diagnosis will cost more, and includes more than what the code shows, they will get angry and we'll lose our reputation.

This is where (Provision 3) kicks in. We, at RepairLync, will work hard to inform the customer that the OBD-II diagnosis is NEVER the full picture until it's visually inspected. This is part of the Terms of Use. We are also working on incorporating it into our videos, our mobile app, website, and every which way a customer can see and be required to agree upon. We are also considering making this a short, concise message that they must always agree to when they diagnose their vehicle.


- This seems like too much time and effort - what's in it for me?

RepairLync is the only free electronic service you will get for your shop. We are incorporating shop feedback into our product, to make it per your requests. So you get free, specifically tailored software. That being said, it will take time to quote these vehicles. We're hoping that the ROI will come with more customers taking their car in to your shop, and even building a high rating in our review system. This would potentially lead to more walk-ins. But besides time, there is nothing to lose monetarily.


- I don't need those extra customers and I already have a good reputation.

RepairLync won't work for everyone. Those that don't need leads, reputation points, or an attempt of increase in customers will probably find RepairLync counter productive. This is absolutely fine, as we admit we're not for everyone. Those who are looking into trying to obtain more customers, build a reputation, or want to get connected electronically may find us of use.


- What are your future plans for release?

We are taking every single line of feedback, in this forum, into consideration. We are working on ensuring that customers know the full picture of remote diagnosis - it is not as straight forward as they tend to think. We are also working on many features for the next far/major release, which includes:

1) Shop management or integration into shop management software

2) Templates or smart searches to know what things cost in the past - so cost lookups won't be as inefficient

3) Live analysis of their OBD-II sensor system. We are looking for algorithms to see if we can further detect issues based on all sensor readings, not just DTCs.

4) Customer reviews - internal to shops - shops can review a customer themselves to determine if they want to even consider the customer.

5) Potentially less battling for the lowest quote, and more so for getting the highest reputation shops visibility. So the higher the reputation, the more visibility they get.


- What about customers - we don't want bottom of the barrel customers who are looking for deep discounts, are irate, etc.

There is no obligation to ever to make a quote or perform work for any customer. However, that there is no way to filter customers without interviewing them, before our customer review system will been put in place. We are trying our best to make sure they are aware of all of the policies. We also take shop feedback seriously - if we hear from a shop that a customer is not doing their part, we have the right to ban them from RepairLync, and delete all of their reviews/history.


- Why did you make this product and why is it free?

The founder and CEO of the RepairLync project is a car nut. He is also a CEO and software engineer with many engineering contacts. Getting the work done is extremely efficient for our product, so that is how we can incorporate feedback without having to deal with huge corporate nonsense. It is free because we want to help both customers and shops in a realm that hasn't been tapped into. We want to ensure both are getting the best quality product at no cost - otherwise, if it costs money, what's the point? You might as well just take your car in anywhere, or the shop can just keep doing their normal business. We do admit that we have development, server, support, etc costs. We will eventually incorporate ads into our mobile app and site to try to recover these costs (e.g. TripAdvisor, Amazon, etc all have these types of ads). But these costs are transparent to you.


- I'm still not interested and this product won't work. It takes away customer interactions and remote diagnosis is impossible.

We made provisions for all possible use-cases. However, if you are not satisfied with these provisions, then we are willing to work to improve them - just let us know and we will see about implementing them. If you feel that the basic concept of RepairLync is flawed, then simply put, RepairLync is not ideal for your business. Continue doing the work you're doing with your auto repair business and we thank you for your time!


- Any other questions? Post them here! Positive, negative, any feedback is welcome.

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Craig,

I'm not sure how well received you will be here. Your product appears to be similar to "Repair Pal". The theory behind your product, "To make car repair more transparent" (my words, not yours) is one I support, but your demo makes it seem to the car owner that simply pulling codes tells us everything that is wrong with the car and will pinpoint the repair. From this information we should be able to give an accurate estimate to repair the car, this is not the case in realty. The DTC's are just a start. In many cases we need to perform multiple tests to confirm the problem. By reinforcing the myth that pulling codes is a "Diagnosis", you make our job harder. I wish that I could magically diagnose cars by just plugging a blue-tooth connecter into the ODB port, that would make our lives much easier. If you our looking for our support, your product should be informing the customer about the realities of diagnosing car repairs.

Russ

Edited by Tires Too
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I agree with Russ. Price estimates without physically seeing the car, inspecting and/or diagnosing can be very damaging. I do not believe in the bait and switch model however I can't say for other shops. I will never be the least expensive and sometimes can be perceived as not even "competitive" on price with other shops however I don't operate a general repair shop. When someone with a German vehicle who has not been exposed to the value of getting service and repair from a specialist then all they will see is price on your website. No matter what the disclaimer or caveat is, once a customer sees price its an uphill battle to change their mindset.

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Thanks for the feedback. I definitely agree with your assessments in that the diagnostic is more difficult to perform without physically inspecting the vehicle, and why I mentioned it's not for everyone.

 

A couple notes...from my understanding, and I could be wrong, RepairPal is quite a bit different because shops need to be certified with them. My understanding that certification was some process that needs validation and has less than 500 shops. I'm not sure how they make their revenue either, maybe commission? Where as any repair business is free to join, in our case, and free to use.

 

There are ways for RepairLync shops to be able to protect themselves from extra costs and giving customers unforseen charges. Also, if it's anything more than what the OBD diagnosis says, we have a disclaimer system that customers must agree to.

 

I have never owned a shop before, so you guys have more experience than me here. However, I've probably worked on about 500 cars over time. And never has OBD-II disappointed me or threw me so far off, that I ended up wasting so much time and money. Things aren't perfect, but they're not bad. Shops are never locked into exact amounts. But that's just my take, and many will not agree with me, which is absolutely fine.

 

I was definitely worried about repair shops with the same standpoint as you guys, but ran some surveys and interviews of hundreds of randomly selected shops before we went into development. and surprisingly, (edited for referncing #s) 37% said they're willing to try. An additional 33% (total 70%) said they would try if they were protected and if customer base increased. This is what drove product development...those guys' feedback and answers.

 

So that's my take on it. If its not your cup of tea, absolutely fine! But if anyone's willing to try, we will be happy to help and definitely look for feedback to improve. After all, its free and we want to help improve for all sides of the app.

 

Thanks for listening!

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Also, based on some of the feedback, things can be improved on the RepairLync side, for shops not to quite battle each other for quotes alone. We would rather portray shop reputation, based on reviews, as the #1 deciding factor. And to get those reviews, we need time and effort, so I do agree that it's an uphill battle for our product. In any case, we are still willing to try and see if there's any feedback we can do to improve a flow, transparency to customers on how diagnosis can change, etc.

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In my opinion, the fact that Repair Pal garages go through a certification process is a good thing. Full disclosure, we were a Repair Pal shop. The certification process means that the shops are equipt and trained to do the repairs they are quoting on. Repair Pals estimator gives real world ranges for repairs. I've never had a time where our price for a repair was not within Repair Pals range. Having said this, we cancelled our monthly subscription with Repair Pal because there was no ROI. Another platform out there is Open Bay. They take a cut out of any job you do for a customer that connects through them. I've quoted a few different jobs with them and have never received a customer through their service.

 

Although I have no problem giving a customer a quote on a job, by focusing and starting out a relationship based on price, we (reputable shop owners) lose. Our prices will not be the lowest. We will have a hard time "winning" a bidding contest. You may get some business from lower end shops, but your customers may not be happy with the quality of work performed. If that happens, you will have a hard time sustaining this business model.

 

How can you deliver quality prospects to reputable shops in a manner that makes both parties happy? That would be something that we could help you support.

Edited by Tires Too
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You must be very lucky. I have literally seen people spend a few hundred dollars based on going to Autozone having a code pulled and replacing the part indicated by the code chasing a problem that it never fixed. We had a customer who told us what he had replaced before he came to us. I calculated about $450 in parts not counting his time and gasoline burned [icking up parts. He was chasing a misfire. We fixed the hole in the vacuum tubing for $50.00. That was his problem all along.

 

Wow not a pleasant story for the customer. However, in my opinion, that could have been avoided. Chasing a misfire probably results in a P03** which is a nasty DTC, too generic. Now have I seen this before? Of course, and no it's not luck that I didn't waste time and money. The fact is, we all know this type of code can be too generic for a real diagnosis. So I wouldn't be "brave" enough to do any kind of estimate on this. What I'd do is use the system for a physical inspection quote only. This is part of the RepairLync process. Now, there are variations of these types of issues, but I'm using your example as an example.

 

The product isn't perfect, or maybe isn't even half way there - depends on how well you use the system, and how well we can adjust the system for these types of issues. This is why we are not in full release yet. We are going to try our best to ensure both shop and customer are satisfied in any way we can (which I know some will consider impossible).

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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In my opinion, the fact that Repair Pal garages go through a certification process is a good thing. Full disclosure, we were a Repair Pal shop. The certification process means that the shops are equipt and trained to do the repairs they are quoting on. Repair Pals estimator gives real world ranges for repairs. I've never had a time where our price for a repair was not within Repair Pals range. Having said this, we cancelled our monthly subscription with Repair Pal because there was no ROI. Another platform out there is Open Bay. They take a cut out of any job you do for a customer that connects through them. I've quoted a few different jobs with them and have never received a customer through their service.

 

Although I have no problem giving a customer a quote on a job, by focusing and starting out a relationship based on price, we (reputable shop owners) lose. Our prices will not be the lowest. We will have a hard time "winning" a bidding contest. You may get some business from lower end shops, but your customers may not be happy with the quality of work performed. If that happens, you will have a hard time sustaining this business model.

 

How can you deliver quality prospects to reputable shops in a manner that makes both parties happy? That would be something that we could help you support.

 

Thanks so much for the info here - your advice and feedback is very appreciated. Regarding the certification with RepairPal - this is why it's different from us. It's good they require a certification, but their model is completely different. They seem to give the price estimates for things and it seems more of an elite group, rather than a public electronic exchange. Which, I agree, I don't see much ROI. As far as our product, the advantage is, customers perform the certification based on customer satisfaction. Just do your good job, and your certification comes free. Now, of course our product has to be a reliable, good working product for this to happen :-)

 

Good to know about OpenBay too. I don't really consider these guys as competitors to ours, since they do a subset and different feature set of ours.

 

Your feedback on reputation vs price is very important to us. We definitely don't want the "shady" ones, low ballers or any other type of dishonest business to be the main RepairLync shops. We want honest, trust-worthy shops, which of course would take time, effort and development for this to happen. I'll think of ways to gain more trust from shops and inform customers of the real-life scenario of remote diagnosis.

 

But just to go back to the original use case of this product....especially being in the smog state of CA, I see so many things happen (or don't happen) with check engine lights. Here are some use cases:

1) Had a friend with a 2003 VW. Smog was due, but check engine light was on. She was too scared to take it in anywhere, in fear of getting ripped off. Registration late fees piling up. Scanned her car and got P0353, Ignition coil C circuit malfunction. Pretty straight forward...replaced the coil and now the car runs great. Passed smog.

2) Had a friend with a 2006 Lexus IS250. Rear oxygen sensor circuit malfunction code. Replaced sensor and car runs great, no more DTCs. Of course, being more careful, I swapped the sensors to see if the code followed sides. It did, so we're sure of the culprit. Now we could not represent the swapping in RepairLync before taking it in. However, it turned out that, since the sensor was really the problem, so it was an easy fix. In this case, I'm trying to make RepairLync to convey....this is what the diagnosis reads. If you fix the part and something's still wrong, then you will have to charge extra. RepairLync will only quote for the particular part in question, unless it's too generic. Which you can specify in configurable disclaimer templates.

3) I worked at a shop for a small amount of time. Lady took in a BMW that had an issue. She was charged over $500 for the fix. Turns out, the fix was a $5 part (part of a larger module) and about 10 minutes of labor. The write-up was for replacing an entire module. I don't have the specifics because I'd like to keep it confidential, due to the employment. The managers were proud of this - which made me sick to my stomach.

 

These are the some of use cases I want to help. These are the easy cases, but there are a lot of them. There will be many bad/difficult cases. So I'm very appreciative of your feedback, and I'll think of more ways to help shops.

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Craig,

I wish that all our diagnostic issues were that straight forward. The type of customers I've seen from Repair Pal and Open Bay have not been good about maintaining their vehicles. They are looking for a silver bullet to fix their vehicles. Many have multiple issues with their vehicles, which complicates the diagnostic process. These people already have little trust in the automotive profession, so when we give them a price for one thing (because that's the code for an O2 sensor) and tell them they have an intake manifold that's leaking and it's going to be 2 to 3 times as much, they do not react well.

 

My previous statement about delivering good quality customers to good quality shops still stands. You platform needs to inform customers about the realities of car repair, not continue the myth that we can just plug in an know 100% what is wrong with the vehicle. When your willing to work towards that goal, I will be more willing to support your platform.

 

As far as your ability to improve my on line reputation and or visibility, I don't know how you would do that. If you take a second to see our on line reviews you will see that we have worked hard to earn our reputation and will continue to do so every day we are in business.

Russ

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Russ,

Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Your time is precious, which is what we want to save in our product.

 

A couple things though. First, the examples I gave. Yes, they are too straight forward. But I should've been more clear. An O2 code that is a voltage too high or low, we all know is too generic again. We want to utilize OBD2 for what it's worth, not just the fact that a code specifies a part, it's the problem. The example I gave, I should've specifically mentioned it was a sensor heater circuit malfunction. Not an issue upstream with a leak causing high or low voltage. I will defer to using it for what it's worth again and going for a diagnostic charge. Yes it may be a cut wire or maybe PCM issue. But for something that's pretty positive, we can help most people.

 

RepairLync will need to do its job better by informing customers of all of the caveats. That being said, nothing is still perfect with it. We are working on trying to improve before release, which is why I'm looking for feedback (which makes me wonder why you think I'm "continuing" to provide customers myths when I specifically am saying we will make improvements now).

 

In any case, it doesn't seem like you would even need to use a product like ours because your shop is already well established and has many customers. That is perfectly great and I commend you for running a great shop. This is why I said the product is not made for everyone.

 

This day and age, customers are electrically connected to a lot of things. Some will say this is impossible with current technology, which is fine. I will try my hardest to make it happen though and I do have the resources to make it happen quickly and effectively. Thanks again.

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Here is a quote of a question asked on line:

 

 

How would you like to be the guy giving him a price for the next guess he has as to what the problem is? Most likely it was an intake problem that is an expensive to repair. My oldest brother spent some money with code reading and chasing this very issue. He lives about two hours away and I do not work on his stuff. He came to visit me and had an engine light on his van. When I explained the intake problem we had seen on dozens of these vehicles which at that time was a $1200 repair he went home and traded the van off.

 

Great example. I'm not sure if you read my previous message though? Like I have been mentioning the whole time, when you have a generic code like this, along with all these symptoms, why do you think you're forced to quote it? You would send a diagnosis quote, on doing a physical inspection only. Just exactly like a customer who walks in and asks for a diagnosis. If you're really hesistant to even look at it, nobody is forcing a quote. I should've clarified that you don't have to quote anything.

 

I'm not sure if addresses anything for you, but if you use it for what it's worth, you won't be at a total loss. But as I've said all along, many will consider this product not useful. Which is fine too.

 

Thanks for your example.

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I'll save my time and yours... I agree with what everyone else said here. I could give you more examples, but you don't seem to get it.

 

Thanks for the feedback. Just to make sure everyone understands what I'm replying to...I'm definitely not arguing anything or not getting anything. I agree with everyone's assessments. All I'm saying is that we have a provision for different scenarios. If you aren't satisfied with the provisions, perfectly fine. We are looking for feedback to improve the provisions. But if you think we will simply drop the product, that won't happen.

 

If you are not in agreement with the whole concept of the product, perfectly fine too. I can thank them for their time and go on our merry ways.

 

Those that think we can make it work with improvement, I can work with them to get these in place. I already have some ideas I'm implementing, such as making sure customers don't think this is a magic device and the say all, end all.

 

And those who want to try to make it work, which is the 37% we surveyed. We want to work with them too.

 

I hope everyone has success in their business, whichever way they go. Thanks all for your time!

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Craig, I wish you well as you try to make a buck and there is nothing wrong with that. However, my general thoughts about Repair Pal, AutoMD, and similar business models is that as a general rule it is not good for the repair industry. IT will lead to an even more impersonal and less people oriented business. You may have success as a certain type of person is attracted to this. However, I think I can accurately say that that person would be note be any of our A list customers.

 

Thank you very much and thanks for all of your feedback. I know the difficult cases make this project seem impossible, but I will try my best to make everyone happy.

 

Btw, I'm not hoping on making a buck here. In fact, I'm not quitting my day job. Everything is free and has been funded all out of my own pocket. I have a passion for this industry and am hoping that shops and customers can be helped. Thanks and have a great day!

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I also congratulate you on your ability to display grace and an even temper in your responses to our posts which are less than an enthusiastic reception.

 

Thanks - we (meaning I) need to hear the cold hard truth sometimes! Those who aren't interested have the right to be uninterested and pick it apart at every level. This is absolutely fine - nothing will work for everyone, or even possibly a majority. I'll admit, t is hard to hear when so much blood, sweat and grease has been spilled in the 1+ year creating this product. But it's honest feedback and that's exactly what we're looking for!

 

I hope you don't think I'm arguing, for the sake of arguing some of these cases above. In the end, you guys are absolutely right about these impossible cases and remote diagnosis. All I was trying to point out, for those who may be interested, we have provisions for the bad cases, edge cases and iffy cases. Now whether they're happy with the provisions, it's up to them. But we're not going to try to throw a product at someone, where the product has a bunch of holes, and lead them into a dark hole that's going to lose them money, time and reputation. That's why we're not releasing anything to the public yet. We're also working on your guys' feedback, as of this minute, incorporating it into the next revision.

 

With all of this conversation, I think there is still confusion about the product and all of the exact features (especially the provisions/disclaimers). I'm going to post Q&A at the top of the thread so that everyone can understand the full functionality of the product (for those who are on the fence, or may be interested). Thanks again!

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If anyone is willing to help try to get this product tweaked, we're trying to adjust "Provision 2" to be exactly what shops would want. (Provisions are listed in the Q&A section in the first message). We have a few other shops surveyed, but we consider your opinion highly valuable too.

 

Provision 2: The DTC is pretty clear, such as the P0032, which in most cases is to replace the O2 sensor. You quote for replacing a new O2 sensor. (You can defer to Provision 1 still, but let's just say you quoted it). Now say that the actual issue is the PCM itself. Rarer case, but it happens. We are looking to include something in the Terms of Use for customers to agree upon. And must agree every time they scan their vehicle. And even re-word this in the videos.

A starter is for this provision is...

"OBD-II is a good starting point for diagnosis, but never gives a guarantee of the actual culprit. If the repair facility quotes the most common fix for the code, but later finds that the actual problem is different part(s), then..."

 

1) the customer can then decide only to pay for the replacement of the part(s) originally quoted. Additional work may be opted out, but the customer agrees that their vehicle will likely remain with issues.

2) the customer must pay for the physical diagnosis, which includes finding the actual culprit. However, the adjusted quote for fixing the new culprit is optional to accept.

3) ...?

 

I'm guessing many on this thread will say "none of the above because this just won't work." That's fine too, but we're just looking for opinions from those who are considering using this product - we want your voice to be heard and incorporated into the product.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Craig,

I'm very willing to try new things to enhance our business and stay a leader in our local market. I'm not sure what you have here is anything new. Repair Pal has invested a lot of money in their program. They have ties with many insurance companies for towing cars, they have a tie in with AARP for their shops to be the first referral for AARP members and still there is very little ROI for shops in their program. Your product needs to enhance the relationship between car owners and shop owners to be successful. Just giving these car owners a place to get a price which may or may not be accurate does not enhance trust and relationship building between the parties.

Russ

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Automotive repair is still a hands on, mechanic involved, technician diagnosed, and physical/mental job. Codes don't fix cars, switching parts from one side of the engine to the other or any other backyard repair styles may work in some cases, but what generally ends up at the repair shop (Unless it's an owner who doesn't work on their own stuff or listens to a lot of BS on the internet about car repair) are jobs that the basic code reading at AutoZone or some hand held, app based, dime store scanner couldn't solve.

These are the jobs that take time, that may have a code, but no direct solution based on slapping a part on. These are also the jobs that cost more, which in turn, gets the general public to think their getting ripped off, mainly because that "code" they had was no big deal for somebody they read about on the internet.

 

Quoting repairs based on codes is not only stupid, but misleading.

You want to help the repair industry... quit making it sound like all you have to do is push a few buttons on your phone and everything will be alright.

 

What we need is more diagnostic information, more open sources for good scanning equipment, more information passed between the manufacturers and the independent repair side of the business.

 

More training, and less back yard - un-professional shops that do everything cheaper than the good shops in the area.

 

I personally wouldn't mind if they didn't sell parts, scanners, phone apps related to car repair, and anything related to car repair to any degree to the general public. Similar to the way home appliance repair is handled.

 

It's bad enough that "everybody" thinks this job is easy, and "everybody" is a mechanic, and "everybody" can read a code. Now ya want to make it available by phone.... geez... give me a break.

 

I personally don't think it has a chance to become anything more than a concept.

 

Good idea, but not a great idea.

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Russ,

Thanks again for all of your feedback. It may not seem like it, but I'm taking your feedback into consideration and evolving the product and target market. Let's just say that reputable shops like yourself, with great customers, do not need RepairLync.

 

Also I believe RepairPal was even backed by cars.com and Castrol for $13m in furthering their product. So yes, they have big investment. I'd definitely say though that we are not trying to do what they're doing. They're looking to certify individual shops, which takes time, money, and good honest management. This is is good, as you pointed out earlier. However, once the shop is certified, why would we need visibility anymore? IMHO, it's good for a stamp and attempting to build an online trust between shops and vehicle owners. I'm not sure if it's working? But I can't see how to physically see the ROI. Just my opinion and I could be wrong. But this is what RepairLync can try to help (of course, again, not a shop like yours), but that is debatable for all.

 

In the end, it appears that you're implying that RepairLync is good for nothing. I honestly respect your opinion. I slightly disagree and maybe will agree to the point of saying it's not good for shops like yours. But we've had so many cases of:

1) Customer is clueless about cars, but needs service, whether check engine light or not. They are too scared to take it in anywhere, or has no knowledge on diagnosis, etc.

2) Shop needs customers or needs some visibility into their work. My example earlier of the shop that charged $500 for $5 in parts and 10 min of labor - could RepairLync help that? You'd probably say no, but I would disagree, and say "maybe" but how would we know without trying. Another example is that I had to take my car into a shop due to vandalism - someone poured syrup in my gas tank and had to take it in to a shop for insurance purposes. After a "full physical diagnostic", guess what - they replaced the plug wires. Even after countering, they said they fixed it. $475 later, and about 2 miles down the road, the car died again. Now would RepairLync provide help in that? Maybe, because of our online visibility presence and review system, maybe it could have been avoided.

 

It may seem like I'm just being "smart" and countering everything that's been said. But I'm not. I'm agreeing with most of what you said, and I'm learning what you guys are saying, and figuring out different ways on how to make this work. Maybe it will only work for the 2 use cases I mentioned above, but if I throw the product away, we will never know.

 

Thanks for the honest feedback, as always.

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Craig,

If you product is good for the industry, it should be good for my shop. In your example above, why would you want to link an already fearful consumer with a shop that charged $500 for a $10 repair? Is that good for anyone except the shady shop? The consumer's belief that shops "Rip people off" has now been confirmed by your product. You will want to have reputable shops using your platform or it will not be sustainable. In the second example, how would Repairlync help to prevent that type of a misdiagnosis?

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In my humble opinion, in this day and age consumers are given entirely too much power to ruin a business's reputation. I would like to see what protocols you have to ensure you are not getting negative reviews from vindictive consumers. For instance if you look us up on Yelp we have 1 negative review which was previously filtered. The customer claims we stole his car from out under him by junking it. He doesn't mention that he was unreachable and.... LEFT HIS CAR WITH US FOR 4 YEARS. I have already contacted yelp and they will do nothing. In terms of the outlandish lies and omissions it could have been far worse. He would have made up a story we chopped up his ferrari, beat him up and stole his lunch money and we still would have no recourse. We already have are hands full with Yelp's BS. Negative reviews hold more weight than positive ones IMO.

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Automotive repair is still a hands on, mechanic involved, technician diagnosed, and physical/mental job. Codes don't fix cars, switching parts from one side of the engine to the other or any other backyard repair styles may work in some cases, but what generally ends up at the repair shop (Unless it's an owner who doesn't work on their own stuff or listens to a lot of BS on the internet about car repair) are jobs that the basic code reading at AutoZone or some hand held, app based, dime store scanner couldn't solve.

These are the jobs that take time, that may have a code, but no direct solution based on slapping a part on. These are also the jobs that cost more, which in turn, gets the general public to think their getting ripped off, mainly because that "code" they had was no big deal for somebody they read about on the internet.

 

Quoting repairs based on codes is not only stupid, but misleading.

You want to help the repair industry... quit making it sound like all you have to do is push a few buttons on your phone and everything will be alright.

 

What we need is more diagnostic information, more open sources for good scanning equipment, more information passed between the manufacturers and the independent repair side of the business.

 

More training, and less back yard - un-professional shops that do everything cheaper than the good shops in the area.

 

I personally wouldn't mind if they didn't sell parts, scanners, phone apps related to car repair, and anything related to car repair to any degree to the general public. Similar to the way home appliance repair is handled.

 

It's bad enough that "everybody" thinks this job is easy, and "everybody" is a mechanic, and "everybody" can read a code. Now ya want to make it available by phone.... geez... give me a break.

 

I personally don't think it has a chance to become anything more than a concept.

 

Good idea, but not a great idea.

 

Thanks Gonzo, for the honest feedback. It is all welcome, appreciated and taken into consideration, evolving the development and marketing of the product. With your comments, it sounds like you don't agree with the core fundamentals of RepairLync, so I'll agree that it's not a good product for you.
I agree that it's easy for me to sit here and say that diagnosis can be done, when you guys have to perform the actual work. I'm in no way disagreeing to your assessment. A reputable shop like yours, with great customer relationships, won't ever need a product like this. In fact, as you mentioned, it will likely make yourselves worse off. If DTCs are not ready to be even considered for a remote quote, I can respect your opinion.
I personally believe it "can" be enough to lead in a general direction. Maybe enough to quote in some cases...you say no, I say yes if we have our "provisions" in place.
Now what I will completely disagree to is your mention to parts, scanners or phone apps being not available to the public. Also on home appliances. If you haven't purchased a new home appliance lately, many models now have on-board diagnostic systems. And some even display the failure code, visible to the consumer on the front facing panels. And you can Google these codes for the diagnosis - with even some sites, you paying an service rep to guide you through fixing. Times are changing and diagnostics are evolving because everything is becoming electronic. Google, Wikipedia and the power of the internet has changed the world. Not all internet knowledge is truth, but compare to how it was 30 years ago. Things are better, but is there enough "bad" knowledge to make everything worse? Maybe some say yes, in some cases, where I'd leaning towards trying to use it for the "greater good".
Now if a shop would rather keep the customer completely in the dark, that is perfectly fine too, but you have to remember that some new shops without your reputation are going to have their skeptics. And some shops will (yes and you know they will) purposely rip off a consumer because they have no visibility into the problem. I will always agree that working hard and earning trust is always the #1 thing people can do to win over customers, rather than these apps. We would like to try to help in that realm. We are trying to adjust our product into making people understand this the issues of remote diagnosis. If it's impossible to train them, then the product will probably not work.
Lastly, this is just our first phase of the product. We are coming up with full diagnostic algorithms to help pinpoint the issue better, so that the diagnosis would be more on us, and less on the repair facility. This is still work in progress, but at least we are researching all aspects of this.
Thank you again for your comments and they are well received :-)
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Russ,

For the examples I mentioned, it would only work theoretically. Since it's a new product, things don't always go its way, but this is why I'm trying to further develop and release it so it's closest to the theories.

 

1) In your example above, why would you want to link an already fearful consumer with a shop that charged $500 for a $10 repair? Is that good for anyone except the shady shop?

In this case, RepairLync first provides visibility into the problem. The shop would be less likely to charge $500 if they connected to RepairLync. If they were not connected to RepairLync, then any user with RepairLync won't take thier car in there. So this is good for the consumer.

 

2) The consumer's belief that shops "Rip people off" has now been confirmed by your product

Taking a step back. Product development 101 states that a product's purpose is to solve a problem. If you see no problems in the industry, then this product will solve nothing. However, based on experience, I found the following problems:

a) Some people are scared when they have no knowledge. If they don't have a trustworthy relationship, they would tend to believe they're being scammed when it comes to high dollar amounts - it's a natural tendency for many. With this product, shops can explain the details on why it costs this amount, so it can even be a positive thing. It may not make sense to the consumer, but now they have 3rd party confirmation to help with trust. If a shop has problems with accountability, then they'd be afraid to join. The legit reason I'd see they'd be afraid is, they're afraid of remote diagnosis - which is perfectly fine. It's on RepairLync to train the consumer, which is what we're working on. But RepairLync also has standard work item requests, so DTCs are not the only thing we do (similar to OpenBay, but we're free). Note, this line item is not a problem for well established businesses with great relationships with clients.

 

b ) Some shop businesses do not operate with the utmost conduct. We are trying to keep them in check with our product. They may not become a partner with our product, but if they do, then chances are, they are less likely to take advantage. And if they don't, then unsuspecting consumers who use RepairLync won't take their car there. BTW, the shop in my examples ($500 for $5, wires for syrup in the gas tank) is the same shop. They've been there since the 80s or 90s, and get 4.5 on Yelp, so maybe some will consider this not a problem, if you can get away with ethical issues, yet get high ratings)

 

c) Some shops are new businesses and need customer leads while trying to build reputation. Customers also want to find the best shops around. We are trying to be the means to electronically connect consumers to shops.

 

3) In the second example, how would Repairlync help to prevent that type of a misdiagnosis?

RepairLync has an online review system that users post reviews - (DTC connection is only a small portion of the product). These types of blatant misdiagnosis (in theory) are less likely to happen if they know that their work reviews are publicly posted. Of course, people can do this on Yelp, and this example occurred in 2004, before Yelp. So maybe things are better now.

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mspecperformance, great post. I'm sorry about the bad review on Yelp. That's really bad when that happens - and I can see that Yelp would never remove it. Since Yelp operates so many businesses, I'm sure they'd have to do a full investigation to ensure the customer is worng. I'm sure for one review, they won't bother because they're too "big and bad".

 

RepairLync's review system is open to anyone who registers, but we have a conduct policy. In our Q&A added recently, we accept feedback from shops on consumers directly. If a customer is found to be violating our policy, we have the right to ban them and remove the review(s) completely. We're still working on the policy for that because it's not super straight forward. We can't just remove reviews upon request because then our reviewing system will be considered questionable. However, since we have a smaller market than Yelp, we will have the power to contact both sides and resolve the review based on our findings. We're working on getting that in our terms of use.

 

In the future, we're even trying to work on a shop-only customer review system. So if there's someone who's not-so-nice, you will have the ability to see and can choose never to service this type of person.

 

Excellent feedback and we're looking into tweaking our policies on this one!

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Guys, I know plenty of you are pretty annoyed with me and this product, so I'm going to stop defending the RepairLync product at this point. It's fine if you wish to keep the debate going, but it will only be one sided now. I will only post to this thread if there are any questions or constructive feedback on making the product better (but not how the core concept doesn't work). But again, to those who disagree with our core concept, I humbly respect your opinion and thank you for your time as we'll go on our merry ways.

 

I think I've said enough defense of the product, that someone "on the fence" can judge on their own, based on our debates above. Let's just say that it may seem to some that RepairLync is on a losing battle with a lot of negativity in this thread, but we are getting just as many shops on board for our Beta, to help with our product (yes, they are the quiet ones).

 

FYI, we've even halted Beta as we are finishing the fixes that incorporates your feedback into our product: Other fixes mentioned in this thread, but not mentioned below, are set for a more future release.

 

Fixes:

 

- Customer Training on Realities of OBD-II
We have incorporated the following features to help improve customer knowledge on how OBD-II works. We have added the following:
- (Not yet complete) Intro video to RepairLync now has an explanation of OBD-II and how it can't possibly pinpoint the exact part many times. Also included provision information so they don't expect a magic diagnosis and estimate in their inbox.
- Website literature updated to explain shop quoting provisions and how OBD-II is just the start of the diagnosis.
- Terms of Use for users heavily updated. Terms of use include shop provisions and as long as they stick to the provisions and terms, they cannot write negative feedback upon it. Also updated to map shop disclaimer agreements as legally binding. Added specifically that shops are not bound to the exact amount quoted. Many more.
- New popup in Mobile app - when scanning a vehicle, the following message shows: "Estimates sent by shops only are estimates, due to the limitations of remote diagnosis. Shops are not bound to amounts they quote, but they will try their best to serve your needs. Please read the (clickable) "Terms of Use" for more information." Buttons: I agree allows them to scan. I disagree does not allow them to scan. Disclaimer popups are not affected and still occur when a user accepts a fix or inspection estimate.
- Terms of Use now updated for a new review policy and disputes.
We have updated the customer Terms of Use to have a procedure on how to get rid of bad reviews - and even included that we're willing to try to help remove those reviews from 3rd party sites (e.g. Yelp, if their policy allows it), since we are a neutral 3rd party with potential evidence.
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Sounds like a the perfect technology for a hack shop. Low balling a bid, then installing cheap parts with low skilled parts swappers. The customers assume the risk based on a third party's diagnosis. Every ones happy. Well at least the hack shop will be.

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Xrac, I very, very much appreciate your feedback. Excellent suggestions and info - that is invaluable to making a more useful product. As you can see, the product has evolved since the first post and this is only approx 10% of the intended new items. I will admit that the first revision literature, videos and artwork were too much on the optimistic (magic) side, and we're fixing all of that.


The Autozone free diagnostic readout, and how it affected your shop, is also very interesting. That reinforces that RepairLync needs to do a good job on training consumers. We'll work on that more with more ideas and another revision on the video. This alone would drive us to want to become an authority in this matter - to give some visibility into the problem, while giving them the realities of it. We'll work with our team to figure out new ideas on making this better. I mean, I see articles like this and I cringe...http://20somethingfinance.com/the-service-engine-light-your-mechanics-dirty-little-secret/


But trying to educate users on an individual basis of scan results will probably be a far release. Since the project all privately funded without investor capital, it will be a big challenge in getting all of the code combo details completed quickly and accurately. We'll think about this one...


The pricing matrix is an excellent idea! We were looking into that when first starting the project, but couldn't figure out a quick way to automate that, unless we simply show the hourly matrix for all scans, regardless of result. Otherwise, if we were to develop a "most common fix" matrix, we'd have to have a combination of all feasible codes + year/make/model + shop hourly rate + hours to fix + parts cost. Or were you thinking of just a static hourly matrix?


In some ways, we've even been considering replacing quotes with a cost range for the "most common fix" and a list of shops, highest rated with the best visibility. The worry there, though, is that this becomes too similar to RepairPal and less shop interaction before they take their car in. If the "most common fix" is wrong, then we're back to the Autozone issue because there was no shop interaction before they took their car in.

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Sounds like a the perfect technology for a hack shop. Low balling a bid, then installing cheap parts with low skilled parts swappers. The customers assume the risk based on a third party's diagnosis. Every ones happy. Well at least the hack shop will be.

 

You are right - the system could be used in such a way to promote this type of behavior. One thing we're working on is to portray reviews and reputation are just as good as price. Of course, we know that many people will always go to the lowest price. However, I'm not sure if it's just me, but have you ever saw two identical products, one at a no-name online store, and the other at Amazon. If they are relatively close in price, but no-name is cheaper, I still buy at Amazon, to get the guarantee of good service, fast shipment and a brand new item. We'll try to work on getting that portrayed. If the customer is "cheap" enough that they'd rather go for the no-name, then maybe the high quality shop wouldn't want this type of customer (which was one of the feedback in an earlier post). Of course, this is all theory yet.

 

However, based on RepairLync's Terms of Use, your statement of "The customers assume the risk based on a third party's diagnosis" isn't true. After taking their vehicle in, the policy for registered shops is to verify the quoted "most common fix" is the actual problem. If it's not, then the shop charges only for the physical inspection, and the customer decides whether or not to fix it there. If the hack shop doesn't properly verify the diagnosis and fixes the wrong part, then the customer's car's symptoms won't change. Then it's treated like a walk-in where work is done to the car, but it still has the same problems.

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Xrac,

A little background on myself, sure, this may be long, but I want to give you the history on why this product started, and my knowledge in the field...

I grew up loving cars. My dad always worked on his own cars and I was the type that would be his little helper in the garage. I was able to learn a lot of basics in there, but it wasn't until age 16 that I started working on them, on my own. My friend had an '84 GT 5.0 that needed a lot of work. We did a lot to it, such as replacing the radiator, carb, etc so it would run well and pass smog. It did. It also ran a decent 15.6x @ 87, which isn't bad for bone stock and a bad 2.5 60'. From then on, I realized that I loved fixing and modifying cars - and wasn't scared to do so on my own. My first car was a used '94 Trans Am GT. It ran well but needed a little TLC under the hood. I started college right before the .com bust, so I became a computer science major, thinking I'd join the tech boom of getting a good job. The bubble burst when still in college, but I still kept my major since I was well into it, and was pretty good with computers. As a poor college kid, I tried to figure out ways on how to make the Trans Am run well and faster. It went from "free mods" to bolt-ons. I also helped out with my freind's 76 Jeep. Out of college, I couldn't find a full time job with the bad economy, so I only held misc part-time jobs while working on cars and helping fix friends' cars. Then it went to friends of friends. Then friends of friends of friends. I didn't charge anything and did it for fun since most couldn't afford to pay. But as some mentioned earlier, I did fix some of these with "backyard" techniques because I didn't have the fancy tools.


Once I found a full time job, the real modding on the Trans Am began...22x cam, fully ported heads, tubular suspension and subframe, full race trans w/ big stall, 9" rear, etc. most done by hand. And although I don't agree with CA smog laws (especially after cutting 30% allowables for older cars and keeping the new car allowables much higher), I believe in being honest, rather than cheating. So the car became a low 12 second daily driven, smog-legal car. I still wish I could've put a 24x extreme lift cam to run 10s, but I'm not going to cheat. In the meantime, I started learning about OBD-I. I purchased all of the tools, including FreeScan, Scanmaster, LT1Edit, etc. But I was too scared to tune on my own. So I purchased pre-defined tunes, but they were bad - ran it too lean to get the dyno #s for publicity. Those tunes also made it fail smog. So I started looking into the OBD-I protocol and was able to start tuning the car myself. Went from simple things like coolant temperature and rev limiter to more complex like A/F ratio at specific RPMs, start and end shift patterns + lockup for throttle %, etc. But besides my car and fixing friends' cars, I enjoyed modding other cars too. I worked on a fair share of a GN, LT1s and LS1s, 5.0s, LM7, etc. So much, that I permanently screwed up the skin on my hands (ok, TMI). Since 2013, my dad and I have been building up a 55 Chevy from the frame up. 410 LS3, 9", big stall, everything custom - literally everything from scratch.


Back to fixing cars...When I was fixing my friends and friends of friends cars, I sometimes was clueless on where to start. So I purchased one of the first publicly available PC OBD-II scanners from ScanTool. It helped a lot - guiding me on where to start, and in some cases, immediately showing the culprit. In other cases, there were struggles, but I am appreciative to OBD-II to helping me start in the right direction. Fast forward to 2012, I was in graduate school. In my "capstone" class, we all had to come up with project ideas - and each project was to address a "problem". Of course, the first thing I thought of was something about cars. Out of every single one of my friends, what is one thing they are most afraid of with their car - the check engine light and high cost repairs. So I pitched an idea to have a user friendly check engine light reader. All of the current apps that read codes aren't quite user friendly and are more for enthusiasts - which is a good and bad thing. So I thought about creating it for the average user (yes, AutoZone failed in this, but now we're going to try to fix it). But when we pitched the ideas, I played it down. I didn't want my idea to be picked because if it was, I'd have to lead the project and pick several classmates as team members. But we all know how that goes - the leader of a school project does all the work, and that is what happened. I didn't even vote for my project, but had overwhelming votes that students wanted to see a friendly check engine light helper. But still, this concept already existed. So I thought, how about making this diagnosis available to shops? Somehow get those DTCs out to get a rough idea on fixes, while giving shops business. Be a positive to both worlds. But yes, this is definitely over simplified.


At the end of the class, I had a prototype I presented to get my Masters. The audience was a large group of students, marketers and staff. The end result was a huge hit for the consumer side. Instead of grading the project, their response was "when can I get it?" From then I started believing in it. So I performed various interviews among shops and did broad surveys among dozens of shops, including dealership service centers and local repair facilities. The simplified result was, 37% would be interested in this product if it didn't involve too much extra work. An additional 33% would possibly be interested if it brought more customers in. Of couse, 67% said the biggest technical challenge was the lack of confidence in quoting/diagnosing without seeing the vehicle. These numbers seemed to imply - if we are able to make good software, we could have a huge market interest for consumers, and a decent market with shops onboard. From there, I and a few others created our company. The prototype wasn't production ready so our company created RepairLync to re-create the software from scratch. We hired staff, software developers, user experience artists, voice overs, video artists, etc. And I still have my day job to fund the project. The same thing is true with the others. I don't expect anything in return because the software is free for everyone. But we do need to incorporate ads because the server and infrastructure costs are adding up quickly. Come to today, we tried to release to Beta, but we realized we have some flaws, which we're fixing now.


So in the end, I may get blasted by some for not having formal training or certification in the automotive industry. That's fine, but I think I can bring something decent to the industry, being an expert in the software world, and having at least some background in autos.

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Working on BMW's solely here, generic OBD2 codes are most of the time completely worthless. Alot of scanners and what not dont even have definitions for all BMW codes and you are simply left with "Manufacturer specific DTC" as the description to the code. In alot of other cases BMW's LOVE throwing O2 sensor codes (when read with generic scanner) only to have the problem be something like Vac leaks.

 

Weve sold ~9 02 Sensors the 3+ years weve been in business... They fail alot less frequently than everyone thinks

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello all,

Just wanted to quickly mention that Beta is now continuing for RepairLync. Once again, thanks to everyone for their feedback and info - we know the app doesn't work well in many scenarios, so if that's the case for your shop, thanks again for your time and feedback.

 

The improvements so far are:

- Shop video updated with full process implementation and new features

- Process implemented for protection of shops and customers, along with expectations

- "Physical inspection only" checkbox for shops who have any doubt in the request

- User app bug fixes for OBD reading

- User app detailed information on expectations. They will know the process, next steps, etc.

- Change of focus on various features to inform customers of process and expectations - including app messages, terms of use, popups, page documentation, etc. Informing customers that shops want to help them to the best of their abilities, along with expectations of remote diagnosis.

- Many more minor features/enhancements/bug fixes.

 

If you're interested, please sign up today at https://shop.repairlync.com

 

Beta will continue through a targeted mid February and be open to the public after then.

 

Thanks!

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Craig, I wish you well as you try to make a buck and there is nothing wrong with that. However, my general thoughts about Repair Pal, AutoMD, and similar business models is that as a general rule it is not good for the repair industry. IT will lead to an even more impersonal and less people oriented business. You may have success as a certain type of person is attracted to this. However, I think I can accurately say that that person would be not be any of our A list customers.

 

I agree with xrac. We need to create long lasting relationships, not make technology the medium between us and customer. No matter how technical the medical field gets, you can't replace a great doctor and the comfort of his or her bed side manner.

 

Things are complicated with the car in the bay. I can't help feeling this will send the wrong message.

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Just looked at your site both as a shop owner and a consumer. First off, you lost me as a consumer that has no knowledge of auto repair.

 

Why would I or anyone else go purchase a OBD II device to scan the codes and send it to my phone? AutoZone will do it for free.

 

Now you want me to send this info out and find some one to estimate the repair because it may be a common problem. AutoZone is going to tell you the common problem hoping you buy parts.

 

And I am having problems now, RIGHT NOW !!! I need answers, not an estimate based on codes that may not fix my problem. Gotta pick the kids up at 3:00. Hey AutoZone guy, I'm not a mechanic who would you recommend?

 

See where this is going in the fast paced real world?

 

As a shop owner, I just sent some business cards to the AutoZone guy.

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Just looked at your site both as a shop owner and a consumer. First off, you lost me as a consumer that has no knowledge of auto repair.

 

Why would I or anyone else go purchase a OBD II device to scan the codes and send it to my phone? AutoZone will do it for free.

 

Now you want me to send this info out and find some one to estimate the repair because it may be a common problem. AutoZone is going to tell you the common problem hoping you buy parts.

 

And I am having problems now, RIGHT NOW !!! I need answers, not an estimate based on codes that may not fix my problem. Gotta pick the kids up at 3:00. Hey AutoZone guy, I'm not a mechanic who would you recommend?

 

See where this is going in the fast paced real world?

 

As a shop owner, I just sent some business cards to the AutoZone guy.

 

Thank you so much for your feedback. I stated earlier that I would not step out and defend the product's concept at this point because I believe some are viewing the responses as me "not getting it". However, in this case, there are quite a bit of misconceptions that I need to clear up - many only read the last few posts, and there's some ideas I need to clarify here.

 

1) You raise a good point of losing you as a consumer - we will look into clarifying further so that the average layman can understand the product.

 

2) OBD-2 scanning in retail stores is and has been illegal in California and Hawaii (and more states are putting legislature into effect). So no, it is not free in those states.

 

3) We know about the AutoZone fiasco in states where it's currently legal. The positive thing about this product is that we put shops in the front line instead of AutoZone techs who know nothing compared to you guys. You are right that the Bluetooth reader costs money, but $24 is one of our main supported products - so it's not that pricey, and it can be have an ROI for future scans. Customers may not understand it, but it's up to us to try to convince them.

 

4) For the use case you mentioned, the product is not for fixing a car with major issues that needs to be fixed ASAP. We probably need to convey that better. We did get that question a few times when we presented to random consumers. The purpose is for the consumer that has a driveable car with a check engine light. On the consumer side, I can't stress enough on how many people will drive their car with the check engine light until it completely breaks down or a smog check is due. I'm not sure if you see those, on the shop side, because you are a main point of repairs. People who do not have a connection to a shop have a fear - fear of cost, fear of unknowns, fear of finding a trusty location. I've been through the other side. Being one of the first to own an OBD-II scanner way back when, I can't tell you how many times I've driven out to friends, friends of friends, more than 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, to lend a hand with the scanner. Maybe you don't want those types of customers though, but we're lending them a hand in getting their stuff fixed as best as we can, giving you to the front of the line.

 

Thanks again for your comments and we will look into further improving, based on your feedback.

 

[Edit] Forgot to mention that I want to point out (for those who wonder about the full suite of features): the check engine light diagnosis is heavily talked about, but it is not the only feature of the product - although standard repair quotes electronically have been done before, that is also another major feature. I know many aren't free for consumers and shops, but RepairLync is.

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Hello all - just a quick message to those who have registered, or who tried to register via Facebook -

We deeply apologize, but there was a bug preventing many registrations (users and shops) from completing, causing our user base to be extremely limited. The bug has been fixed and users can now login fully using their Facebook accounts. The good news is that we caught it in Beta. But in any case, for those registered, you are probably not seeing much activity in Beta due to this, and due to the fact that Google's Beta process tends keeps users very limited in size.

 

If you already registered, there is no action to take. If you tried to, via Facebook, and couldn't, then you should be able to now.

 

Thanks for your patience and always let me know if there are any questions or concerns.

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Hello Craig and all other forum members,I am new to the forum and I do not want to go against anyone's feelings on this. However I feel that using this system will just put our businesses in front of more people. Where we take it from there is up to us. As we all know nothing can be diagnosed or quoted online or over the phone but if we play are cards correctly and get the car in the shop its a win.

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Thanks for the comments! I definitely agree with you - we try our best to put shops in control after the readings, which is why we do not perform any translations or hints on the fixes. We give all the options to communicate, quote fixes or inspection fees, message, etc with customers. They are definitely in need if they use this product and we hope they go to you for their needs. If repair facilities do not agree with quoting fixes, that's not the only option available.

 

However, most of all repair shops that signed up will probably notice very little or no activity so far. Just to clarify what's going on, Google's Beta testing process is extremely limited. We can't open it up to random people. You have to market it through all networks, then they have to opt in to be a qualified tester. However, we have tested with many local people and have performed quality fixes. We are almost ready to release to the public. Our target is to get released this week. We will be on top of it, ensuring that everyone's happy and will make any necessary adjustments accordingly, after release. Please stay tuned!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick update to those who signed up -

 

We released the product to the Google Play store for vehicle owners to use. We're working on slowly marketing it so that customers will connect with you. However, we are planning on doing it slowly to ensure that there will be limited transactions so that we can get feedback and fix any issues. So in the coming weeks, you may start seeing some activity. However, we'll keep it considered in limited Beta mode, to ensure the highest quality for everyone.

 

After we get a fair share of transactions and satisfaction, we'll open it up! Stay tuned!

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Hey all - just to keep those who signed up "in the loop" for Beta.

 

We added new functionality, based on feedback from shops and users:

 

1) Repair Shops now have the ability to decline to estimate/quote a vehicle. There is a new link now that allows the decline, which informs the user. This way, early feedback can be given and you won't see these new requests as "new" anymore. An optional "reason" is available for you to write, when you decline.

 

2) Communication preferences can now be set, along with an "unsubscribe" type option that doesn't send any emails regarding new customer requests. The options are now:

a) Email the repair shop every time a user requests services

b ) Email the repair shop once a day if they have a new request in that day, but did not already reply to it.

c) Do not email the repair shop about new user requests

 

We are working on a few more items that will help prepare for a wider distribution and marketing launch. However, until then, requests will still be slow - we hope we still have your attention after this phase because we know things are slow. But the thing we're trying to avoid is an issue that would waste your guys' time.

 

Thanks for your patience and please stay tuned for more announcements. Always remember to email [email protected] for enhancements or issues.

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  • 1 month later...

Here's a quick update on RepairLync. We had to extend Beta due to unforeseen issues. We are still working on the highest quality software, but, moreover, high quality customers. We are heavily monitoring activity and not letting any nonsense activity pass through. So beta might be for another month, with less activity.

 

However, I want to point out that OpenBay seems to be promoting a new service now, identical to RepairLync. However, there is no mention on risk mitigation and no mention on attempting to prevent a bidding war. They're backed by Google. So I'd keep an eye out if I was a shop owner. We, at Repairlync, took all your advice and changed a lot, but we can because we're not profit driven. They, especially with Google, might be. So just a heads up.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         13 comments
      Most shop owners would agree that the independent auto repair industry has been too cheap for too long regarding its pricing and labor rates. However, can we keep raising our labor rates and prices until we achieve the profit we desire and need? Is it that simple?
      The first step in achieving your required gross and net profit is understanding your numbers and establishing the correct labor and part margins. The next step is to find your business's inefficiencies that impact high production levels.
      Here are a few things to consider. First, do you have the workflow processes in place that is conducive to high production? What about your shop layout? Do you have all the right tools and equipment? Do you have a continuous training program in place? Are technicians waiting to use a particular scanner or waiting to access information from the shop's workstation computer?
      And lastly, are all the estimates written correctly? Is the labor correct for each job? Are you allowing extra time for rust, older vehicles, labor jobs with no parts included, and the fact that many published labor times are wrong? Let's not forget that perhaps the most significant labor loss is not charging enough labor time for testing, electrical work, and other complicated repairs.  
      Once you have determined the correct labor rate and pricing, review your entire operation. Then, tighten up on all those labor leaks and inefficiencies. Improving production and paying close attention to the labor on each job will add much-needed dollars to your bottom line.
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