If you are like most people, you have at least used or know of someone who has used Uber before. Unlike cabs, with an Uber car service you can get picked up wherever you are at a low cost and not have to worry about exchanging funds with the driver as everything is paid through your phone. Well, now the “Uber of Tow Trucks” has launched across Canada and is breaking into the United States… The app is called RAPITOW (https://rapitow.com), and with hundreds of thousands of users, this mobile app is helping redefine the entire concept of dialing for roadside assistance when your car breaks down.
Waheed Subhani is the mastermind behind this app and he took some time out of his truckin’ schedule to give us here at The Levity Ball the 411 on Rapitow’s current North American takeover and expansion plans…
How did you first get the idea to create the Rapitow roadside assistance app?
I was very fascinated by the meteoric growth of Uber. Approximately 2 years ago, my car broke down on the highway. I waited 1.5 hours for a tow truck to show up and as I was being towed away we passed a tow truck on the side of the highway no more than 2KM’s from where I was. I thought, if there was an “Uber” for tow trucks I would have waited 10 minutes.
What is your own personal worst tow truck story?
Many years ago my car broke down. I waited more than 2 hours and paid $240 to be towed 5km’s. Towing rates are completely unregulated.
Is it cheaper for someone to use your app than to actually call a tow truck on their own? What’s the catch?
Currently, we have a subscription model. For only $9/month Rapitow will provide full roadside assistance for your vehicle and all drivers. Cars breakdown, this is a fact, and for only $9/month all roadside costs are covered. We provide 4 calls per year and will tow you up to 100km. The only catch is that after the free 100km our members pay $2/km. It’s extremely rare to be towed more than 100km.
Without the security of a Rapitow membership, you’re paying street price. Towing prices vary since towing rates are unregulated. In my opinion, no one will notice $9/month but when you have to hand over a few hundred to a tow truck operator, you’ll definitely feel it. Most people don’t have an emergency towing budget, so when disaster strikes, you may find yourself spending grocery money on a tow.
What is the hardest part of running your mobile app company?
At this stage of the business the hardest part is scaling our towing network. It takes an incredible amount of labour to screen and setup towing companies across Canada and the US. We are on track with our expansion goal but the effort is huge .
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Follow your dreams and don’t give into fear. It’s always better to try and fail than not try at all.
What is your advice to others looking at starting their own company or bring their “idea” to life?
You can’t do it all yourself. Build a team and surround yourself with people who are smarter and more experienced than you are. If you can get these people to believe in you and your idea, you know you’re onto something big.
What does the future hold for Rapitow and yourself?
It is time for roadside assistance to evolve. Our goal is to make roadside assistance easier and faster for everyone. No one likes being stuck on the side of the roa d, it’s a terrifying experience. My personal goal is to lead Rapitow towards rapid expansion across North America and Europe within the next 12 months. It’s an aggressive goal, but we have a solid plan and a great team.
We are curious… What is the #1 reason people call a tow truck on Rapitow? Out of gas? Tires?
Currently, our most common request is a batter boost. Mind you, we did launch in December and we’re just coming out of a very cold winter. Flat tire is a close second, but I expect this to surpass battery boosts throughout the spring and summer.
How do you feel about people, such as us, calling your app “The Uber of Tow Trucks”?
Personally, I like it. When people say “Uber for tow trucks” everyone gets it. They instantly realize that we’re connected stranded motorists with the closest available roadside service provider in our network. There are operational differences, but the concept is similar.