Texas City’s ‘Uber of Auto Care’ Wants to Transform Auto Repair Industry

Denton, TX-founded TinMan Automotive is hoping to shake up the auto repair industry through its mobile model. Courtesy photo/TinMan Automotive.

When Erick King’s mom had an issue with her Dodge Nitro in 2016, the family was expecting a simple repair. Several incorrect diagnoses and repairs later, the car was still on the fritz, and worse, the high costs of repair led to the King family’s eviction, after which they spent time living in the Nitro.

The situation sparked a desire for change among Erick and his brother, Timmothy, who co-founded TinMan Automotive in Denton, TX, alongside friend Adam Macias. The mobile auto repair company is hoping to bring transparency to the industry---TinMan mechanics use body cameras to document the diagnostic and repair processes from start to finish, with the footage and repair notes available digitally to customers. Customers enjoy a completely customizable experience, Erick said, with the ability to select their preferred technician and parts brand.

With customer satisfaction in the industry ranking among the lowest for the past two decades, Erick said trust is something TinMan is aimed at bringing back to the art of auto repair.

“The automotive industry as a whole has neglected consumers,” Erick said. “There hasn’t been a viable alternative to force them to start earning customers’ hard-earned money until now.”

Among the industry practices that create issues for consumers is a focus on speed over accuracy, Erick said, often leading to mistakes that create further issues for car owners. And technicians are often encouraged to upsell, leading customers to feel uncertain as to whether a prescribed repair is really needed.

Since TinMan is mobile, technicians can take their time to diagnose and repair properly while customers wait in the comfort of their homes, according to Erick. The company’s mobile model also allows it to offer lower prices since there’s less overhead---prices are about 2.5 times lower than the national average, the company claims. But that doesn’t mean they’re shortchanging repair professionals, either; techs start at $51 per hour, earning more for luxury vehicle repairs.

With a model similar to services like Uber or Lyft, techs are independent contractors who choose which jobs to take based on their availability, expertise and location. Most are mobile mechanics already, Erick said, so connecting them to TinMan’s system is seamless. Just as the company’s a la carte repair menu allows customers to get the experience they want, giving techs flexibility means burnt-out repair techs aren’t rushing through car care and making costly mistakes.

It’s all part of the company’s mission to make repairs less stressful, expensive and disruptive, according to Erick.

“Knowledge about vehicles isn’t a complicated thing so I think by putting that in the customer’s hands, they have the ability to have more power and protect themselves before a small issue becomes a big issue,” Erick said.

TinMan has technicians in Denton as well as major metro areas in Texas including Dallas, Austin and Houston. To schedule service, visit TinMan’s website.

We thank the Denton Record-Chronicle for reprint permission.

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