It’s gotten to the point where I actually get annoyed if there’s something I can’t do on the internet. (“What do you mean I can’t wash my dishes with my computer?? The outrage!”) That said, I’m always pumped when a new site or app comes out that gives me one more excuse not to have to make a phone call or leave my house.
Scheduling appointments is always a special pain and something that I inevitably avoid doing until the last minute. Luckily for me, John Formento Jr. also had trouble making appointments and decided to do something about it. His solution was OnlineMechanix, a website that allows customers to book doctor’s appointments for their cars online. No more busy signals, phones ringing in empty garages or waiting for days to get in touch.
John chatted with KillerStartups about his own frustrations with mechanics and how he hopes his product can help.
How long have you been involved with the internet? What were your first steps? What was your first computer? How old were you?
I have been using the Internet since I was around 9 years old. My parents purchased a Macintosh when I was 9 and I have been an avid computer user since!
What time do you usually start work each day?
I usually wake up between 5am – 6am and head right to my laptop and I usually end my day around 11pm. I don’t really consider it work though. I believe in Onlinemechanix.com so much and thoroughly enjoy what I’m going, so spending time progressing the business is a blast!
Do you have an office or work at home?
Myself and other two co-founders all work from our homes. We are bootstrapping OnlineMechanix.com, so renting office space does not make sense for us at this time.
What’s the first thing you do when you leave the office at the end of the day?
Since I work from home, I’m always at the office. This has both advantages and disadvantages, but the advantages definitely out way the disadvantages. No matter the time of day I have everything I need to capitalize on an idea.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? After working for 16 hours? On your third beer?
Great question. I would say it’s really random. It could be first thing in the morning or at 10:30 pm when I’m starting to relax and end the day. However, I will say I have had some good ideas at night.
We want to know about where you spend your day! What’s on your desk right now?
My desk consists of an external monitor for my Macbook Pro, a clock, issues of Inc Magaine and Harvard Business Review, a bottle of water, and clear sight of a window!
Favorite book? Author?
Tao Te Ching by Sun Tzu.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually put your life on hold and realize yours?
The fact that it did not exist and I wanted to use it! Also, the more I asked others about the concept and saw their excitement really motivated me to make it a reality!
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get their business off the ground?
Patience and perseverance is key!
Who has been your biggest cheerleader throughout this process?
I would say myself and our two other co-founders. We all believe in the idea so much that failure was and is not an option.
Three people you recommend we follow on Twitter, and why?
I’m a big car fan so my first would be Road & Track because I like to keep learning about new developments in the automotive field. I have to say Onlinemechanix.com, so you could learn about developments with our startup. Finally I would recommend Jeremy Clarkson from TopGear, his tweets usually make me laugh!
We also love to know the fact and figures: revenue (this year? last year? your first year in business?), profit, investments, year of funding / amount of funding, number of employees, etc. If you feel comfortable sharing those details with us, we’d love to highlight your growth with specific numbers.
We launched April 25th 2012 and have 500+ member shops in 14 states. Stay tuned for more later!
Where can our readers get ahold of you? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Personal blog? Any other projects you’re working on that we should check out?
They easiest way would be via email johnjr [at] onlinemechanix.com or via our website www.onlinemechanix.com. Lately I have been using the Onlinemechanix.com Facebook and twitter accounts more than my own.
What made you want to start OnlineMechanix.com?
I started Onlinemechanix.com because of the experiences I have had when trying to schedule an inspection for my car. I first had to search online for the shop’s phone number and then when I called I was greeted by a busy signal. After three more attempts over the span of 30 min I finally got through.
This experience got me thinking.
I wondered why I couldn’t easily search for a repair shop online and schedule my appointment online through one website. I also thought that mechanics must be getting interrupted continuously throughout their day fielding phone appointments, so with Onlinemechanix.com shops can just let the appointments roll in!