In conversation with Mihir Mohan, CEO and founder of Pitstop

In conversation with Mihir Mohan, CEO and founder of Pitstop

Team Evo India

In conversation with Mihir Mohan, CEO and founder of Pitstop

What is Pitstop?

Mihir Mohan: Pitstop India’s first independent doorstep car service and repairs provider. With its own inspection mechanism and service centre network, Pitstop offers a standardised service model at transparent, economical and convenient car services solution.

What prompted you to start Pitstop in 2015?

It all started when I along with my family planned to go out on a road trip during the eves of one fine Sunday but like many others, had a horrible car service experience which ultimately led to cancellation of the trip. It’s very inconvenient to avail car service and repair that leads to customers postponing appointments and small issues become bigger if not done at right time. You don’t get frictionless service from quality, trustworthy sources when you need it.

How is your service centre different from that of the authorized service centres?

Taking car to the authorised service dealers is not only time consuming but also expensive. The main trends of customers in the automotive industry show that the standards of service expectations have increased with a high demand for transparency in the process of servicing. 61 per cent customers go to a company owned service centre and 47 per cent may intend to change their current service centre.

Pitstop is focused to serve customers at their home or office. Customers get their car serviced right in front of your house at their own convenience, without having to drive to a workshop. It is an innovative move that promises you total transparency and assured reliability, allowing customers to audit the entire process. Moreover, it is an economical option without any kind of up selling.

Does the warranty of the car get affected if a customer services his/her car at Pitstop?

There are multiple reasons due to which your car might lose its warranty cover. The most common one is not adhering to the manufacturer recommended service schedule. Also, if you don’t service your car at the authorised workshop, the manufacturer will void its warranty. Only in case of body repairs, warranty doesn’t get affected.

How did you gain trust from your customers? What was the strategy?

Our customers are our brand ambassadors. We have 4.5/5 and 4.9/5 rating Facebook and Google. New customers usually read reviews online and gain first level of trust on Pitstop. Also, our in-house mechanics perform the service at the convenience of home or office in front of customer allowing the customer to audit the entire process. The range of genuine products, transparent service & our reliable technician generally helps us to gain trust from the customer.

What were the feedbacks from the customers initially? How many customers do you have in India right now?

We have serviced close to 50,000 cars till date. Initially when we started, we didn’t have enough experience and market expectations. Most of our customers used to be those who either have a second hand vehicle or were looking for a cheap repair option since their car was more than 4-5 years old. With time, we felt that the real need was to upgrade the entire service experience and not just focus on pricing.

What were the initial challenges?

Our initial challenge is to build a supply of trained technicians and crack the on-demand spare parts logistics which helps in delivering service at doorstep within 90 minutes. This is what will create mobility and add super convenience to end-user.  After the launch of Pitstop, we found that we were able to get more business for the community of mechanics in local garages and to improve the capacity utilization of their infrastructure. This has helped us gain their support to keep our business going

Carnation was a similar start-up but it didn’t succeed in a big way. How is your start-up different from Carnation?

Carnation has been a pioneer in our space and I believe it was an idea way ahead of its time. Spares market was not open and so were the customers not willing to experiment. It is for their effort that eventually spares market got opened up and thus startups like ours exist. Since some of the blockers like parts were solved, we could focus on issues pertaining across five main pillars in this industry – quality, convenience, pricing, TAT and trust through technology led innovations in a much leaner way.

Have you tied up with different institutions to expand your workforce?

Presently most of mechanics we have hired from referrals / word of mouth. We are partnering with polytechnics colleges all over the country.

Since you service multiple car brands, what are the training methods you use to train your mechanics?

Automotive industry is struggling today because of skilled manpower. Skill upgradation is absolutely necessary in this industry due to changing landscape. Every new technician goes through one-month technical & soft skill training program. Presently we have in-house automotive experts who monitor individual performance provide necessary training with the help of external reputed organisations.

How do you source authorised spare parts for all cars? Do you have an inventory or do you arrange spare parts as and when it is required?

We have national level partnerships and buy parts directly from manufacturers, allowing a customer to receive high-quality parts at reasonable prices. We have central spares warehouse in each city.

You say that your service cost is 30 per cent less than other service centres – Can you briefly explain your service cost calculations?

Our service is not only convenient, it’s also more affordable. Since our mechanics are mobile, we have significantly lower overhead costs compared to dealerships. And as a national brand, we are able to negotiate better prices from auto parts vendors. We pass these savings on to customers.

Do you service premium/ luxury car brands?

Yes. Serve premium car brands. Majority of the luxury car owners looking for alternate option other than dealerships due to heavy service cost. We specialised workshops in different parts of the city to serve only premium cars.

You have recently launched road side assistance in Bengaluru. Any plans to launch roadside assistance to other cities as well?

Presently, we provide road side assistance only in Bengaluru. By the end of this year We will be live for roadside assistance in other six cities – Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad.

You already have service centres in seven cities. What is your target for the next three years in terms of service centre expansion in India?

We are currently serving seven cities – Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad, and hope to become a pan-India brand by 2021. We are also evaluating opportunity in south east Asia where we think that a similar market exists. Our partners in Singapore have started experimenting with our platform.

Why Singapore?

Technology knows no boundary. The vision for launching in Singapore was to enable convenient and transparent car service in Singapore using our technology platform, similar to what we have been executing in India. We have partnered with Goldbell Group to Launch car Service and Repair platform in Singapore. This opportunity also allows Pitstop a ground to make our technology platform more powerful with real time service and repair experience at scale.

Any plans to enter bike servicing in the country?

Entering into bike servicing is not in present plan. India’s automotive sector is valued at approximately USD 15 billion in the top eight cities of which the after sales market is close to USD 7 billion and growing at a healthy pace. At Pitstop, currently we are focusing to become the market leader expanding its business for car servicing only.

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About Mihir Mohan:

Mihir Mohan is the Founder & CEO of Pitstop, a leading Car Service network. Founded in 2015 in Bangalore, Mihir has expanded Pitstop to Delhi,Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad with a steady increase in network growth and a repeat customer base. 
With a B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kanpur, Mihir started his career at Virtusa and later worked at BEA Systems post which he moved on to the Entrepreneurial world with N-Net Technologies, followed by Unamia. N-Net Technologies was a Start-Up aimed at the Real-Time tracking of shipping containers using RFID, GPS and GSM domain while Unamia was a private label kidswear for 0 to 8 yrs old.
About Pitstop:
Pitstop Launched in 2015, Pitstop India’s first independent doorstep car service & repairs provider. With its own inspection mechanism and service centre network, Pitstop offers a standardized service model at Transparent, Economical and Convenient car services solution. Pitstop offers a one-stop-shop solution to all the General and Specialized car service & repair needs.
Having serviced close to 35,000 cars in all & 3,600+ cars at doorstep over the last 6 months, Pitstop is poised to become the market leader with its expert service capabilities, customer care and trained professionals. With real-time updation of servicing status, pick-n-drop service for all cars and prior approval before undertaking tasks, Pitstop is a reliable service for all its customers who are looking forward to hassle-free and genuine experience. Pitstop has raised two rounds of funding worth $2.9 million from Blume Ventures & Goldbell Group.
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