During the first Covid-19 lockdown that lasted 21days, the roadside assistance startup Ready Assist serviced about 1,800 vehicles of essential services staff free of cost.“Covid-19 crashed our business by about 70%,” said Vimal Singh, founder & CEO of ReadyAssist. “But it also gave us the time to contemplate where we want to see ourselves a few months from now.” The start-up, which currently operates in eight cities (including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli, Shimoga and Vijayawada), and will soon be providing services in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Pune, Kolkata, Cochin, Indore and Chandigarh through its own fleet and franchise model, is now targeting to hire around 12,000 mechanics as it aims to go pan-India over the next 8-12 months.
“We operate with our exclusive mechanic fleet; we upskill and groom roadside mechanics so that they can service upscale customers, ”said Singh. ReadyAssist, which had a turnover of Rs 4 crore last year, currently employs 50 people directly and has more than 500 mechanics. It gets an average of 45,000 work orders every month. The start-up has gone to smaller towns and helped create local jobs. It trains mechanics who can later become micro-entrepreneurs. They are independent to work on their own, but have a commitment towards ReadyAssist whenever the start-up needs them.“This, after all, is the age of gig-economy,” added Singh.
During the lockdown, it imparted a lot of training digitally. It also has training setups for hands-on training of mechanics, in the cities where it provides services. “In addition to core training, we train the mechanics for soft skills and do their police verification so that safety of our customers is ensured. We train our mechanics also for any eventuality,” said Singh. Its training academy is called Mecademy. For customers, ReadyAssist provides accident recovery support, repair and towing on the spot, among other services. Customers, however, don’t have to buy a subscription; right now it’s on-demand. As far as mechanics are concerned, they need to own a vehicle to reach the customers, while the tools and equipment is provided by ReadyAssist at subsidised rates. By August15, it will be launching its online booking service as well.
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