Picking Cherry

“We empower technicians and drivers to have open and transparent communication.”

I love taking my car to get serviced. I love pretending to understand what the technician tells me my car needs. I love paying a month’s salary to meet those needs. I love sitting on a dirty sofa and watching Judge Judy while I wait for my car to be driveable again. The whole experience makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Smart and competent. ON OPPOSITE DAY. It’s the worst and I hate it. Given the choice between taking my car for an oil change and going to the dentist, I might choose the dentist. And guys, I hate going to the dentist.

“I have always been fascinated by the way customers feel when they are standing inside of a service center and the feeling they get when they go up to the counter,” says Cherry CEO John Griffin. Griffin explains that many customers, like me, don’t know much about cars and feel they are being taken advantage of. Meanwhile cars are getting nicer and need fewer service visits, making it tempting for some technicians to overcharge in order to make up for lost revenue.

So Griffin created the Cherry Inspect app to improve the trust between drivers and technicians.“We empower technicians and drivers to have open and transparent communication,” he says.

Cherry Inspect allows technicians to make comments, take pictures, and record any necessary information within the app. The inspection results are permanently saved, making it simple for technicians and customers to access a car’s history.

Cherry Inspect is the first of two apps. Griffin plans to release the second app in April. The second app will enable location services to tracker drivers’ mileage and make recommendations for services based on technicians’ knowledge. Drivers will be able to choose service centers, order parts, and dramatically decrease the time spent on service center sofas. Which is great, because once the thirty minutes of Judge Judy are over, mid-day TV gets pretty bleak. “It’s mean to ultimately be a hub,” Griffin says. “The Amazon of service centers.”

If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about service centers, it’s Griffin. He grew up working in Jiffy Lubes, which his parents owned. After graduating college, Griffin and his brother grew their franchise from 12 to 57 stores.

Then in 2013, Griffin broke his leg. And instead of binge watching Cupcake Wars like any of the rest of us would do if we were unable to work, he taught himself to code and created the first beta version of Cherry. He showed the app to his family and they all wanted in on the investment. So he paid a developer to take the app to the next level. “We have the ground knowledge of working on cars and the technology skill set that we’ve grown over time,” Griffin explains, making his family especially qualified to succeed in this industry.

Cherry Inspect is currently used in over 1,700 stores and plans to be in an additional 9,000 locations by the end of May.“Our goal is to change the insanely painful experience of getting your car serviced,” Griffin says. “We’re building these apps to fundamentally change the way the automotive industry works.”

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