This Dartmouth Alumni’s Company Will Fix Up Your Car…AT YOUR OFFICE
Car trouble is the worst. There’s really no better way to put it. It’s extremely disruptive to daily rhythms and always seems to happen at the wrong time. Not to mention, unforeseen car maintenance expenses can blow up your monthly budget in an instance. As soon as that service light comes on in your dashboard, you know you are going to have to miss working hours or blow up a weekend to get your vehicle’s issue addressed. Fortunately, a pair of entrepreneurs out of Dartmouth’s business school is helping solve this problem in a beautifully efficient way.
Founded by Dartmouth College Tuck alumni, Russ Walker and Ed Warren, Zippity is a Hanover-based, mobile car care company that partners with large employers to provide on-site vehicle maintenance for employees. After three years, the company has gained significant momentum in the northeast and is looking to revolutionize the car service industry on a nationwide scale.
The Most Convenient Car Care Experience You Will Ever Have
Zippity’s business model is built on several essential components. First, the company travels with a mobile trailer and side tent, or “bay,” capable of serving two different vehicles at the same time. The trailer carries all of the maintenance team’s essential equipment and can also connect to the internet, thereby enabling the mobile garage to support a scheduling platform. Rather than opening up services to the general public, Zippity partners with large employers to provide on-site car care services to employees during the workday. Customers simply have to use an online portal to book appointments in advance.
The mobile Zippity garage can provide a number of routine services, including oil changes, wiper blade changes, and light maintenance. On days when employees are scheduled for car work, they simply park anywhere in the company lot, share a location pin with the Zippity team, and drop their keys off at a predetermined location. Zippity technicians retrieve the car, complete the purchased services, and then drop it back off where the employee originally parked it. When all is said and done, the startup’s services only take around 45 minutes to 1 hour. Zippity’s prices are also very competitive with brick-and-mortar auto shops, ranging from $39 for an oil change to $85 for a premium cleaning.
“I Can Do Anything On My Phone, But I Enter The Car Mechanic World and I Go Back 50 Years.” – Russ Walker
Zippity was founded by Russ Walker and Ed Warren, two Tuck classmates who realized they were both interested in solving challenges using technology. They recognized how outdated the car service industry still is and, as a result, decided to devote their Tuck “First Year Project” to developing a solution. The founders conducted many interviews and collected feedback about specific pain points related to car maintenance. After running a series of Facebook ads for 24 hours, Zippity received order requests from 125 people in the local community, thereby proving demand for the concept. Afterward, the duo jumped head first into the startup and, shortly after, won a $5,000 Founder’s Grant from the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network.
Beginning in their second year of business school, Walker and Warren began providing services to Adimab employees one day per week which helped them fine-tune their business model. Eventually, the team decided to focus on large employers, the last key piece of the puzzle. Now, Zippity provides services to large employers in five Boston-area neighborhoods and is contemplating expansion across the country. In 2018, the company raised a total of $4.6M in funding which will be instrumental in supporting growth over the next several years.
Using Technology To Create New Efficiencies
This Untold Business Spotlight Initiative story provides a powerful example of how modern technology can be used to revolutionize processes and models that have been in place for decades. The Zippity team knew there was opportunity to breathe fresh life into the car service industry which has seen little change over the last several decades. Using simple, yet modern technology, the founding team was able to create tremendous efficiency for so many employees by bringing car care services directly to their workplaces.
As an entrepreneur, carefully consider what resources you have access to that could help you solve a longstanding challenge. We now have so many powerful tools at our fingertips that can be put to good use, solving problems and creating efficiencies in ways that were previously impossible! And keep an eye out for Zippity! This company will change your life.