The Big Idea: Put Auto-Technicians on the MoonEver had a dent or scratch on your car, but didn’t want to go through the hassle of taking it into the dealership or body shop? That’s the idea behind Redunnit. Steve Sartain has worked in auto-repair for decades and was frustrated that there weren’t any mobile applications tailored towards his industry. He wanted to make it easier for car owners to get reconditioning work on-demand (without going to a shop), while also enabling technicians to get more work and increase their income. Steve was ready to bring his idea to life.
The Challenge: Houston, We Have a ProblemFor Steve, the challenge was how he was going to bring his idea to life, and with whom. Building an app can be costly, and Steve needed to be able to keep costs down so he could work on the other parts of launching his startup (like press and marketing). In addition, Steve is an auto-guy, not a developer, not a startup junky. He needed to find a team he could trust, who would debunk all the “tech-speak”, and who could do more than just develop the app but guide him through this whole “startup thing”.
Enter Launchpeer. Just from first glance, Steve noticed Launchpeer’s pay-as-you-go financing plan. No upfront deposits, no 2-year contracts, you just pay every 2 weeks if you like the work we’ve done. Second, as soon as he got on an information call with us, Steve realized that Launchpeer was here to be his technical co-founder, his startup advisor, his marketing gurus — even before he paid a dime. Launchpeer wasn’t here just to build his app, we were here to build his startup. It was a match made in auto-heaven.
Drafting the BlueprintAfter the initial information session, we got the ball rolling in the project kick-off call. Steve walked us through his big idea, and the Launchpeer team got to work whiteboarding out the app workflow. Next, our scrum master stepped in to breakdown the workflow into actionable user stories. Last, our marketing gurus started working their magic on defining our audience.
From a technical perspective, the challenge we knew we’d face was building a marketplace app, with 2 user roles (auto-technicians and car-owners), on both iOS and Android, and integrate those all into one smooth chat and payment interface. This marketplace app would require a total of 4 applications, plus an admin web portal to manage the user accounts.
From a design perspective, the key challenge to address was creating an app that could serve those two different audiences, whose comfort level with technology was at opposite ends of the spectrum. On one hand, we had to create something clean, well-designed, and fully-functional UX that catered to our tech-savvy consumer. On the other hand, the app needed to stay simple, intuitive, and straightforward, so that our auto-techs wouldn’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by the app and simply walk away from using it.
Building the RocketshipWe had a blueprint, now we were ready to build. Our process, as with most projects, took place in sprints. Every two weeks, Launchpeer mapped out which user stories we’d address that sprint, get to work building, quality check our work, then walk Steve through which features had been checked off the list.
For auto-technicians, we had to understand their business if we were going to build the right app. Technicians often provide multiple different repair services, and regularly service 3–4 locations. Once we understood their needs, our development team got to work building the technician sign-up application, allowing them to select anywhere from 1–20 repair services, as well as identify multiple service locations for their business to appear. While completing their business profile, a technician could also upload a picture and write a brief business bio.
For car-owners, our dev team created a user experience that guided the consumer through the process of completing a repair request as soon as they sign-in. Once the consumer selects what kind of repair they need, they add details to their request, upload a picture of the repair, and then search. Next, the consumer can view various auto-technician profiles within a 25 mile radius from their current location or a specific address. If the consumer wants to receive quotes from multiple technicians, they can send off the same request without having to retype the details again. If they aren’t ready to send their request, a consumer can also save the request as a draft and come back to finish it later.
Next, all roads meet in chat. Once a service request is sent, the consumer is taken to a new chat room. Simultaneously, the technician receives a push notification or SMS text that a new service request was submitted. Both consumer and technician can start to chat about the details of the repair, send more pictures, and receive a quote.
To streamline the both user’s experience, the dev team added the ability to confirm payment directly within the chat, so that neither user has to leave the chat to complete a transaction. If the consumer wants to begin work, they click “Accept Quote”. Once a repair is complete, the technician can request payment in the chat, and the consumer can confirm and process their payment in the chat as well. If a consumer liked the technician’s work, they can endorse the business at time of payment, which is added to the technician’s business profile.
Mission Control, We are Ready for LaunchNow we had our rocketship that was going to take Steve to the moon. But first, we had to make sure his app was ready for the challenge.
Together with Steve’s help, Launchpeer put together two Beta Test Groups: one with real-life auto-technicians, and the other with real-life car-owners. Then we put the app to the test. Our technicians built their business profiles, our consumers requested services, and we let them feel their way through the app. After one week, we gathered their feedback and came away with three major critiques:
- As a technician, it was not intuitive to click “Settings” to complete my business profile.
- As a consumer, it was not intuitive to click the icon in chat in order to “Accept Quote”.
- As a technician, it was not intuitive to click the icon in chat in order to “Request Payment”.
The Launchpeer marketing guru’s got to work preparing the launchpad. We drafted announcements for reDUNNit’s email subscribers, began enticing our social media followers, prepared Facebook Ads, drafted a press release to send to local news outlets, created email sequences for onboarding technicians and consumers, and set-up a messaging support system for new users.