(Editor’s note: Here is an article from our archives which we think is still relevant)
At times, your car can kill your weekends.
Most of us use the weekends as an opportunity to have our car serviced. This often jeopardises our plans to spend quality time with family and kids, however. In some cases, it takes an entire day to queue up and to have the desired maintenance service done.
And then there is the issue of trust. How sure are you that you can trust the service advisor or mechanic. Worse, some service centres often charge exorbitant rates from uninformed customers, which could easily burn a hole in our pockets.
But that is now a thing of the past, thanks to MisterTyre. A mobile tyre-fitting startup, the Kuala Lumpur-based company allows customers to buy tyres, batteries and engine oil online, and customers can also schedule a fitting or service at any suitable location of their choice — be it their home, work, condo, or even a shopping mall.
“Our mobile fitting units (typically, Ford Transit vans) make sitting-around in a cold garage a thing of the past,” says Dennis Melka, Founder and CEO of MisterTyre, which currently operates only in Klang Valley. “Now, you can be at home or at work getting on with the things that are important to you, while our expert technicians deal with your tyre fitting or other services.”
Melka, a Czech by birth, came to Singapore in 2000 while working for Credit Suisse. The global financial services giant transferred him from Prague to Singapore to take care of its Malaysian business.
In Malaysia, Melka also got opportunity to work for companies like AirAsia, Celcom and Unisem. He also learned about many other industries such as travel, aviation, and palm oil plantations, and founded/co-founded several companies, including TuneTalk, Asian Plantations, and NIDA Rooms.
“I am a small investor in UK-based mobile tyre-fitting company Tyres-On-The-Drive. I’ve seen how the business grew from something very small to massive in a few years. I realised this was the future of automotive repair, and Malaysia makes lots of sense to build a business serving car owners,” Melka explains the motive behind the company.
MisterTyre on the wheel
MisterTyre seeks to transform automotive aftermarket services in ASEAN through low prices and doorstep delivery of services. According to Melka, MisterTyre is the first company in the region to offer mobile tyre services through a mobile app.
The booking process is simple. One can download the app (available on Android and iOS), select the car type, insert tyre details (which can be taken from the tyres’ sidewall), make the payments, and place the order online.
“We’re the only mobile tyre fitter to offer dedicated one-hour time slots, meaning you don’t need to be sitting in all day waiting for us. We make the entire buying, scheduling and co-ordinating the service easy just like Grab/Uber. Our team of trained technicians is primed and ready to fit tyres, align your wheel, change your battery or even replace your engine oil in a location near you at a time that suits you, seven days a week, no matter the weather,” he explains.
The van is equipped with state-of-the-art tyre changing machines that incorporate a pneumatic arm and bead raiser, tyre balancing machines and a compressor to inflate tyres. All of the equipment is similar to the equipment one would expect to see in a traditional tyre shop, Melka says.
Melka is of a view that since MisterTyre doesn’t have the huge overhead costs of a high-street tyre shop, it can pass the savings directly on to the customer. “We believe in straightforward pricing — you no longer need to shop around between tyre shops for pricing,” he said. “Additionally, we capture all other information on your car, so we can keep innovating towards making your car maintenance easy in future. This helps us know, say, when your car battery will die down or when the brake pads will wear out. Accordingly, we send notifications to the customer on his mobile. This way we are able to get future works from the customer.”
Currently, MisterTyre deals only in SUVs and passenger cars.
The startup, however, does not offer breakdown/rescue services.
So far, MisterTyre has partnered with 23 brands to directly source tyres, and has on-boarded eight more brands in engine oil and battery.
MisterTyre makes money from battery sales, engine oil change, rotation and front wheel alignment. “We will add a fifth and sixth product line — brakes and rim sales –next year. Each of our current product line is already profitable for us,” Melka goes on.
As of now, the company operates only one van, which undertakes up to six jobs a day. The startup now has plans to operate two more vans in January.
MisterTyre is looking to expand business to Singapore in 2018.
MisterTyre is also working on a corporate programme, wherein its vans will drive to large corporates with 1,000 to 4,000 employees per location. The HR department notifies the staffers that the MisterTyre van will come to the office park on a particular date.
“Almost like a “staff benefit” and we give them a promo code. This lowers our customer acquisition costs, and the staff can have their car serviced whilst at the office, so they don’t waste valuable time after work or during weekend. We have several dozen such corporate promo programmes starting this month.”
As per an estimate, Malaysia is a US$1 billion annual market for replacement tyres, batteries and oil change. There is effectively zero e-commerce.
“We want to change this as fast as possible,” he concludes.