Many times, drivers get stranded when their vehicles break down in the middle of nowhere. They are forced to arrange for a trusted mechanic who could be hundreds of kilometres away, to come and fix the car.
This could take hours of agony before the mechanics arrives and car fixed.
However, a new innovation known as Mechanic On Call, is promising to put such trouble in the past at a tap of the smartphone. The app, which is the work of Agnes Mutua, enables drivers to call for mechanic services and towing services in case of a breakdowns on the road.
“While in my line of duty in Mombasa, drivers stuck for instance in Malaba would call to report a break down. It took a long time trying to understand the severity of their breakdown and dispatch a mechanic to that point. There was need to create a quick assistance and offer solution,” the mother of two said.
The app, available on Play Store, allows a quick registration for drivers and offers the motorist a privilege to extend the search range from 5km to 100km.
“Once you log in as a driver, it locates where you are stuck and gives you options of selecting the services needed. The extension search helps you to know how far the services are, how long you have to wait and is it worth the wait?”
Mechanic On Call has on its roster accredited mechanics through its security testing tool on the software to eliminate unknown users and reduce risks.
The platform has so far signed up to 35 mechanics since its official kick off in December last year.
“There is appreciation from mechanics. We are creating awareness to motorists and mechanics, build trust from all players, then focus on growing users and revenues,” she says.
“For mechanics and owners of towing services, once you make the application to get into the platform, I get a notification on the system. We then meet to interview you and check your physical work station, before you get uploaded to the app. This is done to ensure safety for people seeking the service.”
The intention, she notes, is to be different because “people on the road don’t trust mechanics and they suspect they could be criminals”. The app caters for all type of vehicles including large commercial vehicles and personal cars.
Ms Mutua is leveraging on her 18-year experience in the transport industry, managing long transit trucks and trailers in companies in Mombasa with haulage services to Malawi, Congo, and Zambia.
The application cost Sh300,000 to create and acquire trademark rights.
Ms Mutua is working to integrate the application with M-Pesa. Once this done, drivers will be deducted a minimum of Sh250 per call from their mobile wallet to contact a mechanic, a plan that she says will help the business accrue income.
The service is also targeting to incorporate crane services for 40-foot and 20-foot trailers, insurance services, traffic police in case of an accident and ambulances.
“The idea is to have all solutions for roadside problems in the application,” she said.
Ms Mutua hopes the app will create opportunities for the service providers.