The great thing about basic well-established technology is that entrepreneurs can easily adapt it to new purposes. Find a situation that cries out for a better process and someone will deploy existing technology for a solution. That’s what happened to Brad Weisberg after he found a dent in his car.
Weisberg realized that the circumstance he encountered with a range in repair estimates of $300 to $1,200 was not isolated to his case. He thought that people could benefit from using their smartphones to send photos to body shops and thus save time obtaining the best estimates. In 2011, Weisberg lost his job at an operation offering a social travel app and decided to create his own company. BodyShopBids began in the Lightbank business incubator in Chicago.
The company developed a prototype application within a short period. Financing consisted of some bonds Weisberg cashed and $5,000 he borrowed from his parents. Weisberg than presented his app to the guys that established Lighthouse – Groupon founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. They provided Weisberg with $250,000 of seed money to pursue the new venture.
BodyShopBids has caused satisfaction among both vehicle owners and repair shops. Drivers set up accounts using the company’s app or website. This allows them to upload photos and fill out a form that only takes minutes to complete. Reputable body shops log in to see what work is available and submit bids. After a customer accepts an estimate, BodyShopBids sends the awarded repair shop a notification allowing the parties to connect with each other.
The company’s aim is providing customers with at least four bids within 24 hours. So far, BodyShopBids serves owners of damaged cars with over 1,000 body shop locations concentrated in Illinois, California, Oregon, and Washington. Weisberg reports that his company has facilitated more $4 million in repairs.
Testimonials by repair shop owners indicate that BodyShopBids is responsible for substantial volume increases. BodyShopBids collects a percentage of each job from participating repair shops. The company’s next plan is developing partnerships with insurance companies to facilitate the payment process for auto repairs.
The rapid progress of BodyShopBids recently attracted $1 million of investor capital for the new company. Weisberg intends to used the funds for expansion into new markets and refinements to the technology.