08 Mar 2018 | 09.30 am
Car Appraisals App Keeps Dealerships Motoring
Colm Murphy's Appraisee app
08 Mar 2018 | 09.30 am
Appraisee is a new venture started by Colm Murphy in Galway that that brings digital finesse to the appraisals process used by car dealers. Appraisee is an app system that enables salespeople to create car appraisals digitally instead of using paper, leading to better valuations and more efficiency for the car dealership.
Murphy (39) worked in financial services for ten years before establishing an app/web design business called AppDesign in 2012. The business proved successful and worked with clients such as Hertz and Paddy Power. Murphy established Appraisee in autumn 2016 and he says that all his attention is now focused on the app venture.
“Buying and selling cars is a tough business,” he explains. “With retailers making approximately 1.5% net margin on a new car sale, compared with 7% on a used car, maximising profit on part-exchanges is critical to a dealer’s profitability.”
Paper-based appraisal and communications process used by car sales team lacks accountability and traceability, according to Murphy (pictured). “Undervaluing and miscalculating the condition of the vehicle at the appraisal stage can be the difference between a profit or a loss for the dealer,” he adds.
Developing a new business app isn’t easy. Murphy says his ‘customer discovery journey’ was a long but enjoyable experience. “I spent several months and thousands of miles driving the length and breadth of the country meeting with dealerships to understand their problems,” he recalls.
“Based on that research we developed Appraisee. The app is a complex product in the background with an easy to navigate and understand front-end. We had some great early adopter customers like Joe Duffy Audi, Crossings, Motorpark and Colm Quinn, who were very patient and understanding.
“With new software development, there are teething problems to overcome and to date we have implemented over 25 updates on both the Android and Apple apps.”
In Murphy’s view, there is plenty of state supports for startups. “The Business Innovation Centre in NUIG where we’re based has provided us with good assistance,” he says. “We were accepted on the NDRC accelerator programme at Portershed in Galway, and this programme provided a great opportunity to focus on making improvements in a variety of areas, including refining a national and international sales process.”
The founder’s next objective is to raise up to €850,000 in funding for sales and marketing and to grow internationally. “We have completed a revamp of the product for the UK market and are integrated with the UK’s largest lookup provider. In the coming months we will launch into the Australian market too. A motor dealer down there found us online as they were desperately seeking a solution to their appraisal problems.”
Murphy likens the startup experience to driving a bus. “Depending on where the person who is starting off has come from, they have to quickly learn they set the direction of where the business will go. Secondly, they decide who gets on and off the bus, and whether those people are the right people to go on the journey with you and the rest of the team. Thirdly you have to ensure that there is sufficient cash/fuel in the engine to make sure the bus gets to its destination.
“Starting your own business is a thrilling time with a plethora of ups and downs, and time can be the one of the biggest challenges to overcome,” Murphy adds.