Let us take a simple product like water for example. Any person with basic business knowledge will tell you that it is easier to sell a bucket of water for an exorbitant price in a desert than to sell a gallon of water by a brook or a river.
This logic can be extended to any business. Basically, it comes down to the scarcity of a resource, the urgency of service, and the importance of a particular service at that point in time.
Some services might be considered trivial but when the situation demands, those services are inevitable. Roadside assistance services in India can be considered one of the top contenders for this category.
Roadside Assistance Services
More often than not, roadside assistance services in India are not available by people even if it is available as a package. However when a car breaks down in the middle of the road, especially when you are doing a cross-country drive, roadside assistance is the only thing that you can ever think of at that point in time.
The Erstwhile Status
Rewinding the status of roadside assistance services by a couple of decades, it was quite cumbersome and difficult. You had to call the agency and the agency would have a tough time locating you.
Needless to say, there would also be some communication issues because of the restrictions on using mobile devices while driving/riding.
From 2009, the landscape of service businesses changed forever with the introduction of the on-demand model spearheaded by Uber.
With the GPS and the personal profile in place, it is possible to build an on-demand roadside assistance app.
This app, in essence, functions like an Uber for tow trucks and roadside assistance services, where people can request any kind of assistance at any time of the day from anywhere in the country.
Although it seems like a fancy idea, we will need to question the profitability and feasibility.
It has been estimated that the vehicle roadside assistance market will be worth about $6 billion by 2026 in the United States and Canada. This is a massive growth considering the market was just worth about $5.3 billion in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to contribute to the growth of the roadside assistance market. Since most people will have an aversion towards using public transport, it’s quite likely that they might use their own car to travel from one place to another even if it means a few hours of driving. Therefore, the number of instances of people needing roadside assistance services could see a massive increase.
Roadside assistance would still mean that there are a wide variety of services that can be provided. It includes assistance for flat tires, assistance for engine-related problems, and towing in case the vehicle can only be serviced in a proper garage.
The Business Model
The business model is almost similar to Uber and any other on-demand service. There are three apps in the business ecosystem: One for the customer, another for the service professional, and another for the business owner.
Each entity needs to be provided with features that make it easy for them to avail off or provide or manage their activities.
The Customer App
- The customer should be able to easily register for the services without any hassle. They should also be able to register using legacy credentials like Google, Facebook, and Apple. The registration should immediately create a profile for them that keeps a record of their vehicle, the usual routes, and the payment information. The customer should be able to add multiple vehicles if needed.
- The GPS should come into play in precisely identifying the location of the customer in case of an emergency. Once they launch the app, they should also be able to select the vehicle that they are in right now, in addition to choosing from a menu of the possible services like battery repair, tire replacement, towing truck, and should also be able to specify if they need medical attention.
- Upon choosing the services needed and the location, the customer should be displayed the basic cost of the service. The cost can factor in the distance from the nearest available service station to the location of the customer, the kind of service required, the need for spare parts, the need for transporting the equipment needed for service, and the vehicle that has been damaged.
- The customers should be able to make their payments using multiple payment instruments. For this purpose, the app should be integrated with a versatile payment gateway that can accept payments from options like credit cards, debit cards, Internet banking, and wallets.
- A review and rating system should be in place to ensure that the business does not falter with respect to providing quality service. After every service, the customer can rate the company and the service person who provided the assistance.
The Tow Truck Driver
While there might be a few instances of the business having its own fleet of tow truck drivers, some businesses can also consider employing the Uber model where independent mechanics and service experts can enroll themselves with the company to provide assistance for highways and problems in the vicinity of their location.
- Just like the customer, the driver and the service provider should also be able to easily login and register. However, in addition to the registration process, there should also be a verification and authentication process in place to ensure that the experience that they claim is real.
- These tow truck drivers and service assistance are, in most cases, gig workers. Therefore, they should have the freedom to toggle their availability and to accept or reject requests. The availability should determine whether or not they receive service requests in real-time.
- They should receive the details of the job over the app and also as an SMS. The job alert should also be able to guide them to that location using GPS, mapping, and navigation facilities. The acceptance of the job and the commencement of the service should be notified to the user.
- The payments should be fulfilled for these tow truck drivers and service assistants without any delay.
- The payments made to the business directly on the app using digital payment instruments should be quickly credited to the bank accounts of these mechanics as there is a good chance that they might depend on these earnings for their livelihood.
The administrator is responsible for the overall health and functioning of the app. They should be provided with adequate responsibilities and powers that help them make critical decisions in the interest of the app and the business.
- The administrator should be provided with a dashboard that gives them a bird’s eye view of the vital stats of the app including but not limited to the number of active service requests, the number of available to track drivers and experts, the total revenue, and the prevalent commission rates.
- To access the dashboard, they should be provided with a secure login, preferably with two-factor authentication.
- They should be able to manage the fleet of the tow trucks and the available employees/assistants in real-time.
- They should be able to manage the promotions, offers, and pricing. They should be able to change the commission rates and the cost of a service based on demand and the availability/scarcity of professionals.
- They are responsible for customer support, and if need be, they can delegate customer support to a team.
The profitability and relevance of an Uber for tow truck application have been addressed beyond a question. It is a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs who would like to jump into the on-demand business revolution in the near future.
It is quite possible that they might think it would be cumbersome to develop the technology behind building such an app.
With the availability of white label clones, you can afford not to worry about the process of on-demand tow truck app development.
You can outsource it to a company that specializes in the development and customization of such applications.
They will take care to understand the requirements and present you with a perfect app, so you can pick up cars and your profits can pick up too!