On-demand mechanic app revolutionises car repair industry


UrDrive mechanics provide hassle-free repairs akin to an "Uber for car maintenance." 

Photo credit: Margaret Maina | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • UrDrive was started due to the founders’ harrowing seven-hour roadside.
  • Determined to ride this experience to offer swift and reliable service, leveraging technology and partnerships.

Convenience rules today’s fast-paced world. The on-demand service sector has been flourishing, and e-hailing services and platforms like Uber and Airbnb are on the rise, revolutionising how we book travel and find accommodation.

However, what if auto repairs could be done with the same ease? Vehicle manufacturing and sales have increased dramatically in recent years and the requirement for vehicle maintenance rises in tandem with the number of vehicles on the road.

Due to wear and tear, Kenya's substantial reliance on the importation of second-hand cars has created a sizable requirement for maintenance and repair services. Even with the surge of imported vehicles, most repairs are still done at informal garages, and the quality of service may be poor.

Recognising this gap, Harry Rotich aims to intervene by providing professional and transparent automotive services, focusing on organised garages, and leveraging technology to meet the pressing need for reliable maintenance in Kenya's automotive market.

His goal is to transform fleet managers' and automobile owners' access to automotive services.

Harry Rotich

Harry Rorich is the founder of UrDrive, an online platform that links customers to networks of qualified, certified mechanics. 

Photo credit: Margaret Maina | Nation Media Group

Together with Oscar Owiti who manages operations, they founded UrDrive, an online platform that links customers to networks of qualified, certified mechanics. As a result, the business serves as more than just a service provider; it is an essential solution for contemporary car owners.

Vehicle maintenance

Established in 2021, UrDrive revolutionises vehicle maintenance and repair accessibility providing hassle-free repairs akin to an "Uber for car maintenance."

“We saw the need for more convenient request placement, expert support, and effective oversight of on-demand auto repair service applications that mechanics can gain from their increased consumer outreach and the appropriate backing for their competencies on the platform,” says Rotich, who is the CEO.

UrDrive was started due to the founders’ harrowing seven-hour roadside ordeal, which brought to light Kenya’s acute lack of readily available automotive assistance.

Determined to ride this experience to offer swift and reliable service, leveraging technology and partnerships, UrDrive envisions a future where obtaining mechanical assistance is effortless, transforming the automotive assistance landscape in Kenya.

“The Leila Jana Foundation's Give Work Challenge provided us with the initial grant funding of Sh600,000 that we needed to develop our technology and get into the market. Since then, we have established ourselves in the Kenyan and regional markets by bootstrapping as founders to fund operations and marketing,” he says, adding that they are actively looking for investment and interacting with stakeholders in the start-up ecosystem to create a long-term financial plan for growth and expansion initiatives.

According to Rotich, UrDrive’s concept is simple yet brilliant and provides vehicle owners with rapid and convenient access to qualified mechanics at any time or location. With seven full-time employees and 20 mechanics, UrDrive has serviced over 700 automobiles since its inception and currently offers three services; repair, service and maintenance, and tracking/fleet management.

“You can now request a mechanic to come to your location and fix your car on the spot, much like you would when ordering a ride on Uber, the idea has gained traction in recent years due to the growth of mobile apps and the increasing demand for more convenient solutions in the automotive industry,” he says.

After downloading the UrDrive app—which is available on the App Store, users can register, create an account, and input the details of their vehicle. Currently, the services are only offered in Nairobi, Western and the Rift Valley regions, but the duo hopes to expand into other cities across the nation.

To get a mechanic when your automobile breaks down or requires repair, all you have to do is open the app. The app connects you with the closest mechanic who specialises in the kind of work your car needs by using GPS to pinpoint your exact location, which makes it easier for mechanics to reach you fast, he explains.

UrDrive mechanics

UrDrive mechanics providing hassle-free repairs akin to an "Uber for car maintenance."

Photo credit: Margaret Maina | Nation Media Group

The user will then receive information about the mechanic’s experience and ratings from previous customers.

Rotich says that the user receives an upfront cost estimate for any necessary maintenance or repairs before confirming the service. By doing this, the unpredictability that comes with traditional repair shops is removed.

The mechanic will come to your location with the required tools and parts after you approve the estimate.

“Our pricing for products and services varies depending on the specific nature of the automotive repair or maintenance required, as well as factors such as vehicle type, location, and parts/labour costs. For specific pricing information, customers can request a quote through our user-friendly app, depending on the service and location of the client, the average being Sh1,500,” he says.

Fixing a car

Discussing the company’s research, Rotich says they found that most mechanics make about Sh250 per hour as they are only paid after fixing a car. Mechanics at UrDrive get 60 percent of what they would earn in traditional repair shops.

“Our mechanics are paid a service fee by the clients, and they pay UrDriver a referral fee per service conducted from our platform. We have partnered with TEVTs, where we absorb skilled talent, after which they go through a three-week tailored training offered by our master mechanics with a fit assessment carried out after the training to determine who progresses to activation on the App,” he says.

UrDive has managed to penetrate the competitive world of automotive services by leveraging a combination of innovation, technology, and strategic partnerships. Rotich notes that transparent pricing, vetted mechanics, and real-time tracking via their user-friendly app ensure top-notch service, Ur-Drive's tech-driven approach creates job opportunities for local mechanics, fostering economic growth.

Their vision is to solidify its position as a leader in the automotive service industry. The company prides itself in being the pioneer in mechanics hailing app in the automotive service sector, expanding its customer base, and receiving positive feedback from satisfied clients.