App uses live location to connect drivers with mechanics on the road
Trucks break down, that’s part of trucking. It could happen on a busy highway or on an isolated back road, at a customer or a rest area, during the day or night.
Finding a mechanic to fix equipment can take time. Drivers sometimes wait hours for a mobile unit to arrive and then wait some more as a mechanic works on fixing the problem. A truck that’s not rolling is losing money.
Livebreakdowns, a mobile application, connects drivers and mechanics using live location. The concept is like an Uber to find mechanics, founder Jarmanjit Singh said.
The idea was born when Singh’s brother, a truck mechanic, asked him to build a website where he could list a directory of mechanics. Singh, an IT security professional, said a directory listing would be static and suggested a mobile app with live location would be ideal.
He created two apps – one for drivers, another for mechanics – on the same platform.
When a truck breaks down, traditionally drivers search online for mechanics and call to see who is available.
Livebreakdowns aims to make the process more efficient.
How it works
A driver opens the app on the phone and fills out details of the breakdown. The app will broadcast the location. A service ticket is published and mechanics receive a notification on their phones.
For example, if there are five mechanics in the area, if they are available, they express interest and reach out to the driver.
The driver can see the mechanics’ live locations, along with ratings and reviews from previous customers. They can then choose a mechanic. Phone numbers are exchanged, and the driver and mechanic discuss rates.
Singh said the next step is to add tow trucks to the app. The option has already been built into the application.
Larger fleets have preferred vendors, subcontracting work to local mechanics to make sure they are covered in case of a breakdown. Singh wants them to use his app.
If a fleet truck breaks down, for example in Sudbury, Ont., and the company has three preferred vendors there, their addresses are known but not their live locations.
Singh said if the mechanics were on the app, they would still be preferred vendors, but the driver could reach out to the one who is available and nearby.
Free for drivers
Singh said more than 100 mechanics have downloaded the app. More than 300 truck drivers, mostly owner-operators, have downloaded it as well.
Drivers can use the app for free. Mechanics pay a fee for finding work. “When a mechanic expresses interest in a ticket, and if the ticket gets assigned to them, we get paid,” Singh said.
He said trucking is not a very tech-savvy industry and there is resistance when one tries to usher in a technical solution. It is not their fault because they were never exposed to technology, he adds.
The company is targeting younger owner-operators because they use a lot of technology and adapt quickly. Singh said bigger fleets will eventually adapt when they realize the benefit of getting connected with the nearest available help.
Sometimes, a mechanic is just five minutes away, and online searches will not reveal that, Singh said. Livebreadowns is keen to make more connections and get trucks rolling again as quickly as possible.
By Leo Barros