Entrepreneur

How A Car Breakdown Inspired This Philippines Startup To Be An 'Uber' For Auto-Repair Services

It was a typical weekday for Rainier Paolo Punzalan – he was driving his old Toyota Land Cruiser BJ70 to work in Clark, Pampanga, when the car suddenly stopped along M.A. Roxas Avenue.

“I am personally very fond of this old 4×4 vehicle and every time I try to start my car, I’ll pray “please start, please start, please start”, said Punzalan.

“My personal mechanic could not come all the way from San Fernando to service my car so I felt helpless. Many of my colleagues were passing by and they asked me what had happened, but I was too embarrassed to take their time and ask for help.”

“I ended up spending half the day solving my problem.”

This particular incident inspired Punzalan to establish a car service startup called Larin, which means ‘fix’ in Kapampangan.

Auto Repair Is Just A Few Clicks Away

Launched last October, Larin is a mobile app that connects car owners to auto shops for emergency repairs and maintenance services.

Best of all? Its service is available 24/7.

Image Credit: Larin

For auto repair, customers can make a service request in-app and simply input problem details.

This will allow the auto-shops to pre-diagnose the car problem before a mechanic heads to the client’s location to fix his/her car.

On average, Larin’s mechanics can arrive within 10 to 20 minutes upon request.

Customers can also book and schedule a car maintenance service via the mobile app.

Larin will then send a price quotation, which the client has to confirm before the request pushes through.

According to Punzalan, Larin now has seven partnering auto shops – all accredited by the Department of Trade and Industry – and 40 mechanics catering to the needs of their clients.

Overcoming Speed Bumps

Image Credit: Larin

Just like any other startups, Larin has encountered speed bumps along the way – particularly in the area of mobile app development – before it was officially introduced to the public.

“The app we first built was very complicated and consumed too much of our time. We wasted two months on it before we finally decided to go for a simpler app, which we made in just a month,” said Punzalan.

But Punzalan remains optimistic, and sees this setback as a learning point instead.

Do not overthink, and do not burn time and money thinking if the market will accept it or not. Go talk to your market instead and you’ll eventually figure out what to do next along the way.

Five months into the startup journey, Punzalan is now focused on creating a solid base of customers and service providers for Larin.

He said that the app is still in its beta stage and its service is only available in Pampanga.

Despite this, Larin has managed to secure 300 registered users onboard its platform.

As such, Punzalan is confident that Larin will be able to launch the final version of the app by October or November.

“This year will be great because we are cooking something new for our customers. We are working on launching a more convenient way of maintaining your cars and hopefully, we can also expand to Metro Manila this year.”

Download the Larin app for free on Google Play and Apple App Store here.

Featured Image Credit: Larin 

 

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