Fayetteville-based startup ObiiGo recently launched the first app allowing users to receive bids for vehicle maintenance and repair work from independent automotive shops.
John Harmon, founder and CEO, said he started working on the app about two years ago after moving to the area to care for family.
“The real genesis is we’re trying to bring the repair facilities and the car owners together so that they can work in unison,” he said. “They both win. The shop gets a customer. The customer gets good value, good repairs and people save money. That’s the free market system.”
Users enter their vehicle information and service request or fault code into the app, and participating shops offer bids within 30 minutes. The app links to a Bluetooth device that reads the fault codes. The optional device is about $20, and Harmon said more should be available in March. He noted shops are asked to reimburse users for the device, which works on vehicles newer than year model 1995.
Harmon said if one doesn’t receive a bid in 30 minutes, the shops declined the job. The app has participating shops in Northwest Arkansas, Houston and Phoenix. Within 30 days, he expects to have more than 50 participating shops. And Little Rock shops are soon expected to participate.
After receiving bids, users select which shop they want to complete the repair. Harmon said a shop might offer to complete the job sooner but cost more. Or a shop could do the job later and cost less. When repairs are completed, users pay in the app and schedule a time to pick up their vehicle. ObiiGo receives a percentage of the repair. He soon hopes to add an app feature to allow users to receive towing bids.
ObiiGo has three employees and 10-12 contract workers, including a development team, graphic artist, web designer and marketing staff.