With the Covid-19 outbreak, the world came to a standstill. However, while many people have their savings to see them through the most difficult of times as the present, there are daily workers, who have nothing to fall back upon. While very few company owners realize this dilemma of their workforce and associates, CarEasy is one of those few organizations, which not only paid their employees’ salaries on time, they also sought other means to keep up the spirit within their workforce. It is this spirit of camaraderie and an honest evaluation of their working methods that has made CarEasy a force to reckon with in the automobile after-sales sector.
Creating a Trusted Brand in Car Servicing
CarEasy is an online car service start-up that offers affordable and trustworthy car service to vehicle-owners in Pune, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Gurugram and Bengaluru. Vikram Prathap S, Founder of CarEasy, spent more than 7 years working at Tata Motors and learning about the significant pressure points of the industry. His vision, which started taking shape around the same time, was to create a brand that would shake up the current stupor of the automobile service & maintenance industry. He wanted to bring together the largely unorganized sector of servicing workshops in India and provide “quality service, transparent pricing and hassle-free customer experience” through and already well-established network. Basically, he wanted to connect the vehicle-owners to their local workshop with the help of technology. With that vision, he conceived CarEasy.in.
Main Features of CarEasy
Through careasy.in website or app, a vehicle-owner can book a car service from his own comfortable space at home or work. The car service is done in 3 easy & simple steps. The main reasons behind the growing popularity of CarEasy is that it offers a fair-priced, reliable car service, without any of the usual hassles associated with traditional workshops. This online car service, which has served more than 10000 customers since its inception in 2018, is currently partnering with Flipkart, Housejoy, Magicpin Park+ and DriveU, besides also serving Ola and Zoomcar. Its vast network, which is growing further with each passing day, boasts of tie-ups with 130 garages, which grants CarEasy the advantage to drive the services market. In fact, without any investment, the start-up was able to generate revenue of Rs. 65 lakh within months of its launch. That speaks volumes about the ingenuity of trade that the company is practicing.
In January this year, the startup began to identify niche areas of the market for their further growth. After a team of 6-7 members talked to a large number of workshops all over India, they came to know of the pressure-points faced by the workshops owners, across the spectrum. The main issue that these workshop owners faced was delay in payment dues. Not getting paid even after a month of the work done was the main problem that they faced in their daily work and CarEasy took it upon itself to streamline the payment procedure for the workshops.
As a result, for the workshops associated with CarEasy in Bengaluru, they decided to process the due payments within a week’s time. For CarEasy, the workshops are the most important cog in the wheel that runs the automobile after-sales service industry and they couldn’t let them suffer anymore on account of delayed payments. This way, they also managed to standardize the workshop culture and bring in a semblance of professionalism. They also arranged for a week-long training workshop for the owners of these units at one of their Bengaluru workshop.
Speaking about this aspect of their operations, Shashank said, “Workshop are the main foundation of the automobile after market space and as a most emerging stage start-up in Automobile After market space, it’s our responsibility to streamline the process for them. We have decided to focus on workshops, which is why we are talking to numerous workshops all over the country, identifying their problems, and trying to think of customized solutions to the same.
Two Great Minds Come Together
Apart from Vikram, Shashank Shekhar, is the other Co-Founder at CarEasy. Vikram handles Operation, finance, B2B sales and research & development, while Shashank looks after the strategy, marketing, HR and marketing. Vikram is an alumnus of IIT, Guwahati while Shashank is an alumnus of IIM, Kashipur. It was a 30-minute conversation over dinner one night that made Shashank & Vikram “partners-in-crime!” CarEasy was already a start-up when Vikram, always looking for ways to improve his company, went to Hyderabad for a client meeting. He invited Shashank for dinner, to discuss how to uplift his start-up. Just half an hour into the conversation, Vikram realized that Shashank was the man who he would want to partner with in his quest to build his automobile after-sales start-up into something much bigger and better. On his part, Shashank, an early riser, called up Vikram next day at 5 am to inform him that he was resigning from his post of Lead Analyst and Head of Marketing at I-PAC and joining CarEasy as Co-Founder. Speaking about his decision to spend time before picking a co-founder in Shashank, Vikram says, “I am glad I didn’t rush into it. Else, I would have been stuck. It is important to understand why the other person wants to work with you.”In fact, Vikram & Shashank like to call themselves “well-coordinated founders.” Both Vikram and Shashank have worked 9-to-5 jobs in the beginning when they were working to get CarEasy up on its feet. That is the amount of commitment that these young men bring to the business.
Crossing The Corona Roadblock
When India was hit by the outbreak and the PM announced the national lockdown, the workshop owners and daily workers were some of the most affected part of the society. Realizing that it was their duty as founders of CarEasy to take care of their workforce. They also launched a new segment, sanitization of vehicles, aimed for the B2C market through Facebook advertisement. The tremendous response generated by this initiative also helped them stay afloat. Providing its workshop owner the only silver lining during the Corona pandemic, CarEasy showed them an alternative in sanitization, which is one of the few activities that has received a boost in the times of virus. CarEasy stepped into the sanitization market and after providing the workshops with basic training in this regard, they have now ensured that in absence of regular services, the workshop owners won’t be left without any means of sustenance. So far, CarEasy workshops have started sanitizing vehicles in a number of Bengaluru housing societies.
CarEasy took the following steps in Delhi, Gurugram and Bengaluru –
- They reached out to every possible workshop and daily wage worker to train and educate them about the sanitization process of vehicles.
- They distributed PPE kits, masks, etc for conducting sanitization of vehicles.
- Ensuring that they had regular work (As a result, despite the second lockdown phase in Bengaluru, close to 120 people were earning their daily bread
This noble gesture of CarEasy was also coupled with the free sanitization service provided to about 200 Police vehicles and ambulances, so that these corona warriors could stay safe while ensuring the public safety. These gestures have endeared the start-up not just to its workforce but also to its customers. In Vikram’s words, “Most businesses work for revenue or profit, but very few work for the people. We are one of those few businesses and intend to remain like that.”
Their future plans include growing in numbers vis-à-vis the workforce at office, the untapped markets, more workshops, etc. But above everything else, they want to keep the after-sales services hassle-free and affordable for their customers.