Mike Simpson backs out of his driveway, greets neighbor Jill, and begins his afternoon rounds, dropping the kids off at football practice and rushing a visit for dinner necessities at the grocery store in the hour before to have to take them back.
He tries to ignore it, but the bright yellow glow saying “check engine” catches his attention again. He’s known for two weeks that the Subaru needs an oil change, but time never seems to be on his side.
“Ugh, you see man. I have to take care of this. I can’t afford the Subee to die for me.
We walk the aisles of Fred Meyer as he recounts how he works remotely as a mechanical engineer reviewing plans for a new stadium his company is building in the UK, while simultaneously helping to manage children and home when his wife is at work as a registered nurse. in the local intensive care unit.
“It’s a lot, but we make it work. It’s the important, time-consuming things like oil changes that create the most stress. You know you have to do them, but where do you put it?
Mike’s situation is not unique. His time is precious and he never seems to have enough of it. They are too time consuming and impractical. It always feels like something is slipping through the cracks.
That’s precisely the dilemma that the Vancouver, Washington-based app Oili (pronounced Oil-e) solves.
The idea was born during a meeting in 2019 between co-founder Charles Swatzell and a young and brilliant coder, Makai Lester. During the meeting where Lester was presenting a candidacy for CEO of Formos Software, Swatzell lamented his own difficulties queuing at local lube stores.
“I told him I wasn’t sold on the app he was showing me, but I really wish someone had developed something where a local mechanic would come to my house or business to change my oil. on my terms.”
Two weeks later, Lester produced the first version of the concept.
Now, about 3 years later, the founding team consists of Swatzell in an advisory role, Lester as CTO, high school friend Trey Natherson spearheading marketing efforts, and entrepreneur local Colton Telford as CEO.
The team has just hired its first recruit to manage its social media efforts.
“It’s an exciting time,” says Telford. “We have a list of major providers, our first fleet service agreements and officially launched in March in the Vancouver/Portland Metroplex. We’re seeing app downloads and appointments take off, and a lot of interest is coming from fleets, apartment complexes and businesses who want to offer this as an incentive to their residents and employees.
The application is simple. After downloading from google play Where Apple app store, the user quickly adds their vehicle details, address and payment method, and selects a date and time for the service. A local, insured and certified Oili supplier is notified via the app and accepts the appointment.
“This is a win for me,” says Bryan Munnick, Oili’s independent supplier. “I can put my training as a master mechanic to good use, work my own schedule and make more money than in any garage.”
Oili suppliers are all independent contractors who apply to work through the Oili app. If accepted, profit can range from $30 to $40 per appointment after cost of goods. “I love the freedom and flexibility it gives me,” adds Munnick, “It can also lead to other mechanical work the client may need.”
“I’m excited to try it out,” Simpson says as we walk over to her kids. “My wife heard about it from a friend of hers who said the experience was amazing. She said it gave her back some of her precious time to do the things that mattered most to her, as well as the peace of mind knowing that his car was in good hands.
“It’s our mission,” says Telford, “to give people time back, create opportunities for local vendors to earn meaningful income and boost the local economy. We love our community and look forward to bringing it to other cities across the United States. »
According to Telford, Oili is taking meetings with investors and plans to be in 3-5 cities in the coming months, while also developing Oili Academies; a partnership with local high schools to train interested students in fluid mechanics, entrepreneurship and professionalism.