By John Allaire T hat tire experience at my friend’s uncle’s place was such a great thing. We were wondering why it wasn’t the norm,” Mangalji explains. “So we put an ad up on Kijiji saying ‘hey, we’ll come to your house and change your tires for $50.’ That week, it blew up! 80 people booked right away!” That company was called “Tire Swap” and the service they provided was simply to change your tires from summer to winter seasonals at your home or place of business. However, once winter ended, the “Tire Swap” mechanics were being asked for further services at their visits. “Cus- tomers were asking us, ‘do you change batteries?’ or ‘can you guys fix my brakes?’ And we had a licensed mechanic there anyway, so we thought ‘Why not!!” “We’ll come to your house and change your tires for $50.’ That week, it blew up! 80 people booked right away!” When they were sending their mechanic out for these calls, Mangalji and his partners quickly realized that about 80 per-cent of the repairs they were asked to do could be fixed by a licensed master mechanic, right in the client’s driveway.
In December 2015, they changed their name from the limiting “Tire Swap” to the current, more representative “Fiix.”
One of the many remarkable aspects to the Fiix story is that not one of the founders were mechanics. In fact, there wasn’t even much of an interest in cars as anything more than a commuter tool. Previously, Mangalji worked at Apple, Facebook and a few tech start-ups, and his co-founder, Zain Manji, worked at Yelp, Google and Instagram. The third co-founder, Arif Bhanji, was a consultant at Monitor Deloitte, a multinational strategy consulting practice. Today, Fiix is actually a classic example of the entrepreneu ial spirit at work: identify a need, secure financing, assemble a team, and execute. And the execution has been working. In 2016, the company grew at a rate of about 40 per-cent, month-over- month. That translates into more than 5,000 happy cars and owners who have been serviced in drive- ways and company parking lots across the GTA. Of course, an internet-based company looks for the positive online reviews for credibility. “Over 98% of our reviews are 5-star,” Mangalji proudly offers. “Our customers seriously love it.”
Mangalji goes on to explain that he feels this new form of mobile auto service gives the whole automotive repair industry a re-think, and almost forces the system to work in favour of independent mechanics. “The median mechanics’ We look good together. ®
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SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • MARCH 2018
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