As a mechanic, Brent Fetters has worked on Humvees in Iraq and Afghanistan and fine-tuned high-performance motorcycles for Erik Buell Racing in Yuma.
But he feels like he’s on his biggest adventure yet as he opens up new East Valley territory for Wrench, the hot Seattle-based startup that sends mechanics to homes and offices to perform repairs and routine maintenance.
“I like being outside and meeting people and helping them out,” Fetters said. “A lot of them drink beer and chat with me as I work on their cars.”
Therein lies the appeal of Wrench, because no one enjoys taking time off work or killing a few hours on a weekend at a shop or a dealer, said CEO Ed Petersen.
“These are people who are working hard and playing hard and value their time,” Petersen said.
He said he and his partners—“not traditional car guys”—came at the $150 billion car repair industry from the consumer’s perspective. They wanted to remove the hassle and provide an honest, up-front price.
To get started with Wrench, customers go online (getwrench.com) or use the Wrench app to enter information about their cars, select the service they need, pick a time and service location, enter payment information and book the appointment. The quote is what you are billed after the service is performed. Customers also have the opportunity to give a star rating to the experience.
A typical synthetic oil change costs $68. Oil changes carry a 90-day/3,000-mile warranty. Other work is guaranteed for 12 months/12,000 miles.
If you don’t know what’s wrong with your car, you can request a diagnostic visit. Fetters said about the only things Wrench can’t do are engine and transmission pulls and tire patches. Wrench mechanics don’t work on heavy trucks or electric- or diesel-powered vehicles. For safety, mechanics can’t work on busy public streets or steep hills, either.
Petersen said Wrench can keep prices competitive and pay mechanics well because there is no shop overhead or parts inventory to worry about. Unlike other tech companies, such as Uber, Wrench mechanics are employees, not contractors.
“I can work on four or five cars a day and make the same as fixing 10 cars a day at a dealer,” Fetters said.
Petersen said Wrench tried a soft launch in Seattle last February and got quick affirmation after servicing more than 1,000 cars. Fetters helped get the program up and running, and now Wrench mechanics are doing 20-25 jobs per day.
A new membership program is also proving popular. For $14.95 per month for sedans and $19.95 per month for SUVs and trucks, members get quarterly diagnostic/safety checkups with fluid top offs and vacuum and window cleaning. You also get twice-a-year synthetic oil changes and tire rotations, plus 10 percent off other Wrench services.
Wrench set its sights on Phoenix and the East Valley because of the climate and residents’ willingness to adopt outside-the-box ideas, according to Petersen.
“It’s a progressive area for these types of services,” Petersen said. “We’re really bullish on the Phoenix area.”
Fetters said he is currently covering Phoenix and the East Valley from north to south by himself, so he’s motivated to bring additional mechanics on board. Mechanics must pass a background check, be ASE certified and have 3-5 years of dealer or similar experience.
– Reach Mike Butler at 480-898-5630 or email@example.com.
– Comment on this article and like the East Valley Tribune on Facebook and follow EVTNow on Twitter.