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Innovation + Job News

RoadTab app connects auto owners with repair shops

Finding a savvy mechanic can be a challenge, especially if you want to compare multiple quotes. But if RoadTab finds its footing, that search might take only a few clicks instead of a dozen phone calls.
Started in January by entrepreneur Jacob Phillips, RoadTab stems from Phillips' experience as an owner of a small car dealership. He constantly had to call auto repair shops, and felt that there had to be a better way. So he partnered with Twin Cities web and mobile development firm Tiny Mission and developed a free system that brings together mechanics and consumers.
Users can anonymously input their vehicle's make, model, year, and repair issue. By also inputting zip code, they can search for a shop within a certain radius. Mechanics get a notification of the job and respond with a parts and labor estimate.
Mechanics can choose between two membership levels: a free level that lets them get three repair queries per month, or $199 per year for receiving unlimited queries.
One strength of the service is that consumers can send in queries for a specific job--such as windshield repair--and get only auto glass repair shops in response.
The next phase, due within a few months, is the inclusion of reviews from people who have used the system to find shops. Phillips notes that the app is also expanding to Milwaukee this month.
"We'll be moving throughout the Midwest, and eventually we'd love to have this be national," he says. "People are really responding well to the service, because we've simplified it as much as possible. You can send out a query about brake pads, for example, and get quotes from two dozen mechanics about what it would cost to replace them."
The company's name is based on the cost of upkeep, or “tab," that a car owner builds up over time, Phillips says. With this new app, that tab may be more reasonable in the future, he believes.
Source: Jacob Phillips, RoadTab
Writer: Elizabeth Millard
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