I had the opportunity to interview the founder of Repair Revolution, an automotive repair shop in SODO. Eli Allison started the shop in 2012 with a mission to “empower clients by teaching them about their vehicles and build a community for people that want to learn how to work on their own cars”. This mission seeks to create an environment that is in stark contrast to both personal and observed experiences. During work both in and outside of the automotive industry, Eli found that many women and members of the LGTBQ community felt vulnerable to being taken advantage of and were inadequately informed in many of the auto repair shops. Repair Revolution takes several steps, such as provide detailed explanations and assisting with prioritization of needs, to ensure that their clientele do not experience these feelings. In addition to providing maintenance and repair services, the shop offers workshops and supported do-it yourself space.
The automotive repair market, which has demonstrated a steady growth of about 3%, reached $60 billion in revenue in 2013. There are over 85,000 businesses in the industry, and as many as 400 of these are located in Seattle area. Repair Revolution is a disruptor in this established market. The company has established itself as a niche player by providing underserved customers with robust services not offered by other shops. Only one other competitor in the area offers do-it yourself space, but does not provide any support or supervision. The queer owned shop is also disrupting the industry on the personnel side. Eli has created a safe space and an opportunity for women and queer employees, who often face a great deal of discrimination in the male dominated industry, to thrive. The success of the team at Repair Revolution is inspiring more people in the LGBTQ community to pursue careers in the automotive industry.
Repair Revolution must be making a good on its promise to provide high quality, convenient and comprehensive vehicle repairs because the customer base has been steadily growing. In fact, the vast majority of the new customers are from referrals. Most of the shop’s marketing and customer outreach is done through social media and the company’s website. Repair Revolution’s Facebook page houses on outpouring of customer support. The shop also offers three unique programs that help with customer retention including a financing program, nationwide roadside assistance, and a two-year warranty on all repairs.
Eli is very passionate entrepreneur committed to creating an unparalleled customer experience and people are taking note. The Greater Seattle Business Association recognized Repair Revolution as the New Business of the Year in 2013. I suspect this is only the beginning, and there are many great things to come from Eli and Repair Revolution.
Check out Repair Revolution at: