As CEO of a large regional auto repair chain in Tucson, Jeff Artzi became convinced that there had to be a better way to serve customers than the traditional auto shop experience.
In 2014, Artzi launched his auto repair business, OOROO Auto, based in Oro Valley, with the goal of providing a better work culture and using technology to deliver a more efficient customer experience.
Today, the company has three shops in the Tucson area that have offered mobile repair service for several years and recently launched a subscription-based maintenance program, with plans to expand its regional footprint.
Artzi said his company’s “high-tech, high-touch” approach has the potential to fundamentally change an auto repair industry that has in many cases failed to meet the needs of customers and employees. .
He described the age-old dancing car owners to get their car repaired: schedule an appointment, drive to the store, get a diagnosis and a bill estimate, and wait for repairs or arrange round-trip rides.
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“It’s an industry that’s not known for its culture, its internal culture, and it’s not known for its customer experiences, as you well know if you own a car,” said Artzi, who has been CEO of Tucson-based automotive. Brake Masters repair line from 2008 to 2013. “It’s just not fun, and it’s not fun internally either. People aren’t generally treated well in our industry – they get hired fast, they get fired fast. And culture is an afterthought.
Artzi said he started OOROO because he didn’t feel able to make the disruptive changes he had in mind at Brake Masters, which at the time had 90 locations from Texas to California.
“It’s no disrespect to the folks at Brake Masters — they’re great guys,” said Artzi, who holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and studied for his CPA certification at the University of Arizona.
“But I wanted to do something different, and the only way to do that is to build a culture from scratch.”
To form a base for his start-up in 2014, Artzi bought an existing auto shop in the Oro Valley and named it OOROO – simply adding an “o” before and after “Oro” – as a catchy name. meaning the company was something new in the industry, he says.
The company has since added stores in Green Valley and in February in Vail, and also offers mobile service with a fleet of three service vans.
For its 25 employees, which include automotive technicians with decades of experience, OOROO offers industry-leading pay, health benefits, paid time off, a 401(k) retirement plan with a company match and weekends off.
Artzi’s wife, Sara, handles all HR and customer service matters for OOROO as the “Chief Feel Good Officer”.
“We operate in the car care industry, but we draw inspiration from tech and hospitality companies at the intersection of high tech and high touch,” Artzi said.
OOROO Auto’s attention to company culture and customer service has won it two Better Business Bureau Ethics Awards, two Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards – one for Best Workplace for Small Business in 2020 and an Innovation Award in 2018 – as well as an Arizona Daily Star Reader’s Choice Award and other accolades.
The company promotes a fun and energetic work atmosphere, and Artzi said he took inspiration from companies like Southwest Airlines.
OOROO only started offering mobile repairs in 2018, but it has always been part of the company’s business plan, Artzi said.
“It’s a business model we’ve been working on since day one and the mobile component stems directly from our mission statement. It’s all about expertise, safety, care and convenience. So of course we will bring our services to where people work or live.
The idea of a mobile car repair service is not new – such services have long been offered mainly by independent mechanics or small workshops – and limited emergency services such as battery and tire repair are common.
But large repair chains have largely been slow to adapt to changing customer needs, Artzi said.
Now, driven by technology and to some extent the growth of on-demand home services in general related to the pandemic, mobile auto repair is beginning to take off nationwide.
Several well-funded startups, including RepairSmith and YourMechanic.comoffer mobile service essentially by providing an online platform to schedule service with local independent mechanics and manage pricing and billing.
The value of parts used alone in mobile auto repairs of cars and light trucks grew from $265 million to $487 million between 2016 and 2020, growing more than 20 times faster than the value of all sales of parts to auto shops and mobile technicians combined, according to Lang Marketing, an Indiana-based market research firm that tracks the market for aftermarket parts used for many common maintenance and repair jobs.
“Millennials, who over generations are becoming the main buying force in the secondary market, are much more likely to use mobile repair than, say, baby boomers or Gen Xers,” said Jim Lang, president of Lang Marketing, adding that millennials are much more likely to shop online in general.
“The pandemic helped because people didn’t want to walk into a service store and sit in a waiting room,” Lang added. “Some of that has subsided, but more importantly, with rising gas prices, there will be an increase in mobile repairs among consumers, as they don’t want to drive to have their oil changed. oil if this service can be performed in their driveway.”
For regular OOROO customer Bethany Fernandez-Pogue, it’s all about time and convenience.
“It’s much easier for me to work from home, so I can work, they show up, and then it’s a five-minute conversation where I can give them the vehicle info, and then I can go about my day for that they do what they have to do,” said Fernandez-Pogue, who works as an analyst for Southwest Gas and lives on the Northwest Side.
“No commutes, no taking 30 to 45 minutes out of my day to drive there,” she said, noting that her mother referred her to OOROO after she had good experiences at her store. ‘Oro Valley.
Artzi acknowledges that it has well-funded and established competitors for mobile services, such as RepairSmith, which spun off from a Mercedes-Benz-backed incubation program in 2018 and raised $42 million in capital funding. -risk last year.
YourMechanic Services was founded in 2012 out of Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator and has raised over $40 million from investors including actor Ashton Kutcher.
But Artzi said those companies were struggling to maintain service and quality, he said, noting that RepairSmith no longer serves Tucson and both companies have had mixed reviews.
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In November, OOROO launched a service subscription program that allows customers to pay a monthly fee per vehicle – $19.95 per domestic car and $29.99 for European imports – and receive a suite of services from standard car maintenance, including up to three oil changes per year, wiper blade and filter changes and a 10% discount on all other repairs.
The “Happy Car Club” also includes a three-year or 36,000-mile warranty on OOROO-installed parts and enrollment in the company’s 3% rewards program for purchases and referrals.
OOROO has worked with some large local employers, including ADP and Geico, to enable access to mobile repairs in their employee pools, especially during the pandemic, Artzi said, adding that employers could potentially subsidize club memberships. car maintenance as a social benefit. .
Looking ahead, Artzi said the company plans to expand both its store and mobile operations, with at least one more store in the Tucson area and future expansion into Phoenix and beyond.
But Artzi said amid a new offering and expansion, the company will still maintain its customer-centric mission.
“The bottom line is, the thing we talk about in our caucuses is that we can never forget to focus on the car right in front of us – we call them ‘human transport machines’ because we don’t want never forget that there will be a human driving this car, with a car seat in the back and a spouse next to them.
Contact senior reporter David Wichner at [email protected] or 520-573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz