9 May 19

A DingGo ate my Smash Repairs!

There’s been a major shake-up in the Australian Panel Repairer industry with the rapid growth of start-up DingGo. The small business has taken a new approach to an industry that has been largely untouched by the tech upheavals of every other part of the Australian auto industry be creating an online aggregator that allows repairers to bid for jobs based on photos alone.

No experience

Chief DingGo, Shaun Janks, explains that the idea came to him when a close friend had several car accidents over a short period of time. "I couldn't believe the time and effort involved in something as simple as getting a quote." he says. Janks, with no experience in the auto or fleet management industry at all, says he approached the problem simply from a consumer's point of view, talking to many of the repairers directly and finding that an industry much-maligned as untrustworthy was actually peopled by largely honest family operations.

"I went to their workshops and found that they were father and son or husband and wife operations. Highly skilled tradespeople that took pride in their work and wanted to provide service to their customers." he said. Janks also noticed that many of these repairers could quote with a high degree of accuracy from a photograph alone. That's when the idea of the aggregator took root.

Consumer benefits

Janks explains that it all happens online, with a prospective customer loading photographs of the damage up to the DingGo site. "We use a combination of human and computer analysis to categorise damage and match it to the most appropriate repairers for the job."

The benefit for the consumer is the speed of obtaining quotations that previously would have required making appointments and driving to the repair shop. Janks knew that there were opportunities in the fleet industry as well and got what he describes as his "lucky break" when fleet giant SG Fleet came on board as an investor. Janks explains that, "With SG Fleet the benefit was much more than just the investment. Their expertise and market knowledge has really paid dividends for us."

Fleet benefits

DingGo now offers specialised services for the fleet industry that are without competitor in Australia. A dedicated fleet website (www.dinggo.com.au/dinggofleet) walks the fleet manager through the process. Janks also welcomes direct queries from fleet managers looking for more details.

For fleets the advantages are multiplied because you’re saving time at several different levels. A driver can take photos of their vehicles and upload it to the site and within hours the quotes required will be back with the fleet manager for approval. This contrasts with the old process that could see a month pass before the work was approved and took time out of the driver and fleet manager's schedule.

Looking ahead

Currently DingGo services only the greater Sydney area but Janks is already eyeing Melbourne and Brisbane and believes that national coverage will be complete before 2020 is out. “We’ll be well on the way to full national coverage by the end of 2019 and we expect to complete that by 2020,” he says.

Janks look set to rehabilitate both the smash repair industry and the reputation of the Australian dingo at the same time.

Article authored by Shane Curran