Q&A WITH RIDESHARE MECHANIC’S CEO JONNIE COHEN

Author photoBy Michele Washburn

This article is brought to you by RideShare Mechanic; get your vehicle inspected by a certified mechanic through your smartphone today!

Jonnie Cohen wants to help your career. This young entrepreneur started RideShare Mechanic because he figured out a way to connect with thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers and make their jobs easier. Jonnie’s company saves rideshare drivers a ton of hassle and money when it comes to mandatory vehicle inspections, so when you talk to him for more than a few minutes, you’ll know that his business is an extension of his personality. You’ll know it’s not just your career Jonnie wants to improve; it’s your overall quality of life.

 

What was your life like before Rideshare Mechanic? Where do you come from?

Jonnie: Music has been a massive part of my life. I’ve played guitar quite seriously for almost 20 years. When I was in music school, I got fed up with the school system, not connecting me to opportunities after school finished to forward my career. After reading a book called “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Farrazzi, I put together a networking experiment where I wanted to send 1000 personalized greeting cards (birthday cards, thank you cards, etc.) in a year to my current network and anyone I met along the way of my music career.

Halfway through my experiment, I had just graduated from Jazz school at the University of Iowa, and I got the privilege to open for West African fusion artist Paa Kow. I have never cried during a drum solo until I saw Paa Kow. He was possibly the best musician I have ever seen in my entire music career. So I sent him a card after taking a picture with him and just said, “Thank You for being who you are” in so many words. Paa Kow was card number 467 in my experiment. After I sent the card, he called me (I put my phone number in all my cards) and said that he really appreciated the gift, and it just so happened that my card got there the same day that he and his current guitarist split up. He then invited me out to Denver to tour with his band, and I hit the ground running.

Fast forward 7 years later – I have played for millions of people through thousands of shows from big festivals to Jazz Clubs all over the world. This was an affirmation to a philosophy I adopted about promoting myself through celebrating other people. This was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. I got into business as an affiliate marketer telling my story and selling a product called SendOutCards to companies.

From there, I explored more of my entrepreneurial self by finding more affiliate opportunities and capitalizing on them. In 2015, I found Uber and Lyft’s driver affiliate program in which I started marketing online. This turned into a guerilla marketing effort in which my partner (Hamed) and I discovered that we could take Uber rides and convert the driver on our ride to become Lyft drivers. There was a double sided sign up bonus where both the driver and the referrer (me) would make on average $700 on every driver we signed up through our referral code after they completed their first 50 trips. They were already driving for at least one of the platforms and both Uber and Lyft were giving these sign up bonuses so it was a “home run” of an opportunity. On a single day, I took 70 Uber trips in a day and made a high 5 figures.

 

What inspired you to create RideShare Mechanic?

Jonnie: Back in 2016, state legislation came down hard on Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft with a clause that every vehicle had to be properly inspected by a certified mechanic before they could get approved to drive. All the recruiting we were doing turned upside because we could no longer activate the driver on the spot which was key to our strategy – but we weren’t going to let this stop us. We became certified mechanics in the state of California and continued our recruiting efforts. I then had a realization about the TNC inspection forms… all of the items on the form could be inspected over video chat! RideShare Mechanic was started with a simple intention of helping drivers sign-up for either company in the most frictionless way possible.

 

How did you start your company? Who else do you credit for its success?

Jonnie: I built this project in a basement with no programming skills whatsoever. I used a simple drag and drop website editor and put up some ads on google targeting “Uber Inspection” and “Lyft Inspection” keywords. This was started as a simple strategy to generate referrals and transformed into a virtual inspection company that added immense value to drivers and TNC’s alike. Hamed Yazdi has been my business partner since 2015 and we have worked closely together in this business to make it what it is today.

 

Why is RideShare Mechanic important for the industry it serves?

Driver’s love RideShare Mechanic, if you don’t believe me – check out our thousands of reviews on facebook and google! We also offer a HUGE opportunity to TNC’s to help them significantly lower their COA by increasing their Inspection Conversion Ratio (when a driver completes their vehicle inspection/a driver initiating interest in a vehicle inspection)

 

What advice would you offer fellow entrepreneurs?

Jonnie: Find a unique lifestyle vision that deeply pulls you and write about it every day. Read non fiction books every day to program your mind for success. Hang around with people who think bigger than you and have had more success than you, this will naturally rub off on you. Your brain is a tool that will subconsciously guide you to find opportunities suitable to your most consistent/dominant thoughts.

 

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your work?

Jonnie: What fulfills me most is being able to provide for my contractors/employees and their families. We are a team that really has each other’s backs through the ups and downs of this crazy time. I want to take care of my people like they are family.

 

What does RideShare Mechanic’s future hold?

Jonnie: RideShare Mechanic is both in the rideshare industry as well as the automotive inspection industry. We have created a category and hope to see virtual vehicle inspections become adopted by many other industries. We are currently focused on breaking our product into other industries such as NEMT, as well as focusing on our technology to provide the best experience for our inspector team and our driver customers. We also want to add as much value to our current/past customers by showing them other ways of creatively making money in this unique economic crisis we are facing together as Americans. Our message to drivers is simple: We see your pain, we are in this together, and we want to help YOU provide for your families.

 

You seem to have created a new market centering around the rideshare industry. What’s that like?

Jonnie: It’s interesting to think that we are the biggest virtual rideshare inspection company in the entire world. I feel fulfilled knowing that we are helping mechanics, rideshare drivers, and TNC’s by offering a disruptive technology and a new way of thinking about things.

 

What is the biggest challenge RideShare Mechanic faces?

Jonnie: The rideshare market has really taken a hit with all of the stay-at-home orders and the fear of spreading COVID-19.

 

Any advice for rideshare drivers who make their living on the road?

Jonnie: Rideshare will come back and this period will not last forever. In the meantime, there are LOTS of ways to make money from home. We are putting together the best opportunities we can find to make money outside of the rideshare industry to help drivers diversify their income. Stay tuned!