October 21, 2011

Local start-ups on the WWW

Body Shop Bids
BodyShopBids.com is an interesting website, with a lot of potential. If you are ever in an auto kerfuffle, and need some body work done, this seems like a great way to get some bids to fix the damage without a lot of driving around.

I recently got into one such scrape myself, and when a friend suggested this site. I was naturally overjoyed. So, I created an account, took photos of the damage and created a report.

As it turns out the site is predominantly focused on the Chicago area, and did not have too many body shops signed up near me. While the guy from the company who called me up was definitely super-nice about it, the whole experience got me thinking of the travails of start-ups that connect physical world with that part of the world online.

There are some problems shipping can solve, but for something like this, the only answer is a Groupon-scale company. And without the scale, it is life between a rock and a hard place. Do you advertise your limitations on the site, and have potential customer's lose interest? Or spend a lot of time on the flip side, telling users that the service is not available in their area?

While you figure that out, I'll be hoping BSB comes soon to a body shop nearby.

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