When Femi bought his 2008 Tokunbo Camry from a seller eager to make a sale for less than the market price, he didn’t know that he’d spend the money he thought he had saved from the bargain on repairs. He bought the car to start earning money as a driver on the side while still earning a monthly salary from his day job. Before discovering Flickwheel he spent almost every weekend at the mechanic’s shop fighting and emptying his pockets instead of earning a side income. The worst part of the matter was that, this was the same mechanic who had connected him with the car seller.
Femi discovered FlickWheel by accident on a Nairaland forum for Uber drivers where he had gone to complain about car maintenance issues. Now with Flickwheel, Femi’s repair woes are finally coming to an end. According to him, before, he was declining trips to certain areas because of bad roads. He was afraid his car would eventually pack up one day. Now with Flickwheel, he not only feels like his car is more steady to brave Lagos roads, but his salary is also not constantly drained.
Femi’s story is familiar to drivers in the country. Between bad roads and substandard repair work from mechanics, owning a car as a salary earner can feel more like a liability than an asset.
A Nigerian problem
Between bad roads and bad cars, Nigerians spend a lot of time and finances on managing their vehicles. Nigeria is an avid importer of second-hand cars and a large percentage of cars on the road are previously-owned Tokunbo cars. Improperly repaired or overused cars come with a myriad of issues inherited from previous owners and will sometimes cost too much to maintain in the long run.
Besides faulty cars, roads in Nigeria are abysmal. Nigerian roads are constantly in a state of needing repair due to poor maintenance. From floodwaters to potholes, driving on Nigerian roads can be a deathtrap.
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) identifies road accidents as the second leading cause of premature death among adult men 15–44 years of age. According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics, in the last quarter of 2021 alone, 3,407 road traffic accidents (RTAs) were recorded in Nigeria and over 10,000 crashes were recorded for the whole year.
In the last 4 months, there have been 11,823 recorded casualties from RTAs and about 10% of these accidents are caused by bad roads and faulty cars (brake failure, tyre bursts, and mechanically deficient vehicles).
With the last recorded estimate of the number of cars on Nigerian roads putting it at almost 12 million, Nigeria’s bad roads are full of poorly maintained vehicles constantly putting drivers in physical danger, while also eating into their finances.
Nigerians often skip getting car insurance and people are less likely to attend to automobile faults if it poses no immediate hindrance to driving the car. This leaves highways and narrow streets littered with abandoned vehicles desperately in need of towing and repairs.
When it comes to automobile servicing and maintenance, vehicle owners are either stuck with expensive car dealerships that partner with OEMs or are very expensive. These dealerships offer skilled technicians and are more trustworthy but can often be a financial strain on the pockets of salary earners and ride-hailing service drivers like Bolt and Uber.
The alternative to this is roadside mechanics who do shoddier work and are inadequately trained and less skilled. They often lack the tools to provide adequate quality services and with no mechanic review available, car repairs become a try-your-luck gamble with any mechanic you find.
Roadside mechanics are also less trustworthy. Unskilled mechanic repairs can seem cheap but cost more with constant faults that need more repair work in the long run. Before Flickwheel, Femi used to wonder if the mechanic was switching out his car parts. It seemed like every time they repaired one thing, they damaged another, so he would return soon.
This is the story Flickwheel wants to change. Flickwheel is on a mission to improve the roadworthiness of cars on Nigerian roads by offering vehicle maintenance financing to ride-hailing drivers and salary earners.
The Flickwheel solution
You’ve heard of buy-now-pay-later? Now meet repair-now- finance-later.
Flickwheel is a tech-enabled automobile platform that provides sub-financing for all sorts of vehicle maintenance & repairs. They provide financing for car repairs to ride-hailing service drivers and salary earners.
Simply put, if you want to get your car repaired and you don’t have the money or maybe you just negotiated a deal for the vehicle you want to use for Uber and you want to fix all the little problems to make it Uber-worthy and roadworthy, you can download the Flickwheel app on your mobile device, apply to get your car serviced/fixed, get the financing you need, then visit an auto technician to get the service carried out and eventually get your vehicle back on the road while choosing a suitable repayment plan that fits your account balance.
Flickwheel no longer wants people to bear the burden of vehicle maintenance alone amidst everyday responsibilities, so they assist with the cost of vehicle maintenance while you pay in bits later, at your convenience.
Flickwheel users can enjoy interest rates that go as low as 5% and a payback duration of up to 6 months.
Launched in January 2022, Flickwheel was born out of the desire to help.
“The idea stemmed from me wanting to support my guys to sort out their vehicle financing issues whenever they reached out to me, as I have a couple of friends who are into the Uber business. I actually started manually but got overwhelmed with managing it on my own due to the demand,” – Paul Edward CTO and co-founder of Flickwheel said.
Wanting to expand this great idea, he reached out to his friend and fellow problem solver, Henry Okafor. Okafor, a tech enthusiast who had previously run a startup called DHING, didn’t need much convincing.
“When Paul reached out to me with the Flickwheel idea, (then Auto Flick), it was something I could resonate with because as a salary earner and someone that works in an office, I had a couple of friends that experienced this issue ever so often. Instantly, I knew this was a problem that needed to be solved, and what better way to do that than with the use of technology,” Henry Okafor said.
Already partnered with over 30 service stations in Lagos, Nigeria, Flickwheel provides a pool of vetted and professional auto technicians in almost every local government area in Lagos State to choose from.
Besides quick vehicle maintenance financing, Flickwheel offers other services which include:
- The FlickyFriend: One of Flickwheel’s most innovative services, the FlickyFriend is like your personal repair buddy. This is a member of staff that has been screened and vetted and possesses firsthand knowledge about vehicle maintenance. FlickyFriends oversee and work alongside your auto technician to ensure the car servicing is done in time and in detail.
This means that people like Femi no longer have to worry about being swindled by their auto mechanic. FlickyFriend provides quality assurance by taking out the challenges that arise with auto techs using sub-standard car parts or cutting corners in some of their services, and it also adds a personal touch to the auto service process.
- Service Tracker: FlickyFriend also comes with an in-app feature that provides vehicle owners with real-time updates on the auto service progress. This means no more long wait times or constant trips and calls to the mechanic to check the progress of your repairs. Once a user logs into the app, they can track everything going on with their vehicle repair.
- VIN check: With just your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can get a detailed vehicle history report that covers specifications, accident records, theft records, sales, and ownership records, and so much more. This feature comes in handy for users who are looking to purchase a car and need more information on the car.
Flickwheel also offers users the opportunity of using their own personal and trusted auto technicians on the platform, but these technicians have to undergo verification and checks to ensure they are meeting the standards set by the company.
In the future, the Flickwheel team hopes to launch an additional service for vehicle owners who do not need vehicle maintenance financing but would like to have a firsthand experience of the FlickyFriend service. With this service, vehicle owners with tight schedules can pay instantly and be assured of smooth auto service maintenance.
Flickwheel is solving real-life challenges with tech and innovation. They are building a culture of vehicle maintenance irrespective of social class.
Even with better roads, driving constantly which is what people like Femi do with their cars for Uber, will put a strain on your vehicle and will require regular servicing. With these services that Flickwheel provides, in time the quality of automobiles on roads in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole will greatly improve, preventing more accidents while also not straining the bank accounts of drivers and salary earners.
Join the Flicky family here and get your vehicle roadworthy by using a dependable and less time-consuming repair service and pay at your convenience.