Mobile mechanics tend to do well on Openbay’s platform, due in large part to the convenience factor — mobile mechanics travel directly to the vehicle to fix it. Their customers never have to leave their homes or offices in order to have their cars maintained or fixed. Distance is the #1 reason Openbay users select a service provider, and mobile mechanics’ distance is displayed as “0.0 miles,” which means more customers for them. And for drivers whose vehicles are disabled, and who’d otherwise have to call for roadside assistance, having a mobile mechanic come to them is a convenient and more affordable alternative.
We connected with Nathanial, “Nate” Cousins, the owner of a mobile-mechanic business called Cousins Automotive, based out of Ipswich, MA, to find out how he got into the mobile-mechanic business, and how, aside from Openbay, he’s connecting with new customers.
What inspired you to become a mobile mechanic, given it’s not nearly as common as working at an independent shop or a dealership service center?
I graduated from UTI and began working at independent shops and dealerships. After working at different shops for a while, I decided that I wanted to own my own shop. But after researching costs and expenses for owning your own shop, I realized the overhead was too steep; even the insurance alone was ridiculous. Then I came across the idea of becoming a mobile mechanic. I knew it was possible to do a decent business in California and Florida, and decided to give it a try. My friend had a trailer he didn’t need, so gave it to me to work out of initially, and the mobile mechanic business just took off from there.
How do you market to your customers?
Word-of-mouth referrals have worked best for me so far, especially because people aren’t used to working with a mobile mechanic service. On each receipt I give customers, I give them a referral code that allows them a free oil change for every 3 customers they refer. Cousins Automotive also has a Facebook page which I keep updated daily with my own content. I’ve handed out flyers in the surrounding area (I’m based out of Ipswich, MA), too.
Openbay is the only online service I’ve used, so far. I joined in March and have been trying to stay consistent, so local customers are receiving my quotes. I’ve already had a handful of customers from Openbay since joining; so far so good!
What are your most popular services?
Typically, most people need brake jobs, tune-ups/scheduled maintenance, and detailing, especially now that the weather is getting nicer. I can do almost all repairs, except big jobs, like engine replacements, clutch replacements and transmission rebuilds, some rear differentials. It depends on the vehicle and how things are configured.
Since you are mobile, how do you obtain the correct parts?
If the customer already knows what they need done, I typically just need the VIN and I can pick up the part at NAPA Auto before the service. Otherwise, I will try to schedule a diagnosis with the customer first, to determine what needs to be done. From there, I can usually get the parts within 24 hours. As long as I place an order by midday, I can usually have them ready the following morning.
Are there any times that are particularly busier or slower?
It varies. Holidays and school breaks are typically slower, and the end of the week, from Wednesday – Friday, is usually a busier time.
You have a great social media presence, how did that happen?
Well I’m only 28, and grew up using social media personally, so it was something that seemed natural to use for work. I always try to post once a day, and at the very least a few times a week. I’ve found that the before-and-after pictures of the repairs I do have been the most effective. I think being able to see the work clearly, and being transparent creates a sense of reliability. I want to make sure that people can see the result of my efforts.
Great job, Nate, and thanks for being part of Openbay.
Whether you’re looking for a mobile mechanic, a franchise dealership, or an independent auto repair shop, or you’re a service provider looking for more ways to connect with consumers near you, check out Openbay today.