Micksgarage plans to launch ‘Airbnb for garage services’
Company is trialling service that connects motoring customers with nearby mechanics
Micksgarage founders Mick and Ciaran Crean. “We are trialling a fitting network. Some of our customers fit their own accessories, but others are DIFM [do it for me] customers.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Micksgarage, the online retailer of car parts and accessories backed by a number of corporate heavy hitters, is planning to launch “an Airbnb for garage services”, according to its chief executive, Ciaran Crean.
The company, whose high-profile investors include former Paddy Power Betfair chief executive Breon Corcoran and Paddy Power co-founder Stewart Kenny, is currently trialling the online service, which will connect motoring customers with nearby mechanics.
“We are trialling a fitting network. Some of our customers fit their own accessories, but others are DIFM [do it for me] customers,” said Mr Crean. “With the network, if you buy a product from us, we will then be able to put you on to a specific garage near you to get that item fitted for you if you wish.”
Mr Crean said Micksgarage has already approached a large number of garages about taking listings in the new service, with many expressing an interest.
Accounts recently filed for Micksgarage show a 17 per cent spike in sales last year to break the €10 million mark for the first time, as the company’s UK expansion clicks into gear.
The business, founded by Mr Crean and his twin brother Mick, recorded a €1.2 million loss in 2016 as a result of its UK expansion, which included investing last year in the opening of a new distribution facility in Yorkshire.
Mr Crean said Micksgarage will return to profitability this year, however, and he expects it to add a further 10 per cent on to its €10.5 million sales of last year. He said 2017 growth is still “slower than anticipated”, although the directors note in the accounts that they are satisfied with the performance.
“The negative bottom line is directly attributable to our expansion in the UK,” said Mr Crean. “But that investment is going to pay dividends for us in future.”
The company closed a deal for its new Barnsley facility just weeks before the Brexit vote in 2016, and it has since grappled with the effects of weak sterling.
“But this year, we are effectively hedged against some of the impact of sterling. With our UK facility, we are now buying stock in sterling for resale to our UK customers, instead of buying it in euro and then selling in a weaker currency.”
Micksgarage is based in west Dublin, where it employs almost 60 staff. As well as Mr Corcoran and Mr Stewart, its backers also include former Paddy Power chief executive Patrick Kennedy; builder Michael Stanley; and former Grafton chairman Michael Chadwick.
The Crean brothers have retained about 40 per cent of the group through its various fund raisings.