Lindsey Baker is being hailed the Karen Brady of the second hand car industry, and hopes to revoltionise just how we buy and sell second hand cars in the UK.
As a mother of a two year old, this successful career woman has grown three majorly successful car dealerships in the Midlands, but wants to take the used car business to a whole new level.
We put some questions to the entrepreneur about exactly what to expect from her new venture, difficulty in carving out a business in a male-dominated industry and the way women are treated when it comes to motors.
Tell us a little bit about how you got into the car business?
After having set up and ran three successful tourism businesses in the Algarve, I felt it was time to come back to the UK to start afresh. I had also just had my first child, Oscar, and I wanted him to go to school in the UK. Upon returning to the UK I was given the opportunity to run three car dealerships in the East Midlands and I’ve not looked back since.
What can we expect from your company Fetch?
You can expect a company that looks to put the customer first. We not only want to try and expose some of the myths of the second hand car market but also try and bring a bit of personality to the industry. We have created a brand that we believe people will genuinely develop a loyalty to and become our long term customers who are happy to refer friends and family to us.
Tell us about the 'Fetch Formula'.
The Fetch Formula is simple: If you accurately assess your car with our online valuation tool, we will not haggle you down on price and honour our online offer. Simple as that. We want to put you, the customer, in control of selling your car.
What is it that led to the creation of this company?
I not only had some bad experiences when selling my car privately but also when I tried to sell it to one of these “we will buy any car”, “we buy any car”, “we want your car”, “sell us your car” - type websites. When trying to sell it privately I ended up wasting four weekends of my time with “tyre-kickers” turning up at my door to drive me down in price. As a woman it was a horrible experience. I actually felt quite intimidated.
I then tried one of these cash-for-your-car websites. It seemed fairly easy and I got an online offer which seemed reasonable. I then had to take my car to one of their depots for payment. When their salesman took a look at the car he immediately started coming up with confusing jargon to say that my car was worth far less than the online valuation - “There’s a slight miss in the engine”, “The toxicity levels of the catalytic converter are too high”. It all sounded like completed nonsense and he ended up knocking me down £800. I’d had enough!
These torrid experiences got me thinking and I thought of Fetch.
How difficult would you say it is as a female to carve a career into an industry that's so male dominated?
There have certainly been some difficult times and I’ve had my fair share of run ins with some of the men that believe this industry has no place for women. However, on the whole I think the men see me as a breath of fresh air - this is definitely helped by my work ethic and desire to succeed.
The biggest difficulty I find is centred around car knowledge. On numerous occasions I’ve had customers and colleagues presume that I do not know about a specific component in a car or the mechanics of the engine. This presumption that I have no idea is a bitter pill to swallow - especially when you’ve spent hours swatting up on your car knowledge like I have.
One of the funniest places to be is the car auction trading floor. There are rarely any women so when I turn up it is as if I’ve got three monster heads or I’m wearing a t-shirt with “Men Are Pigs!” on it. Everyone just stares and doesn’t really know what to say. I love going head-to-head with one of the guys when bidding for a car I really want. Driving the price up as much as I can then dropping out!
How do you feel women are treated when it comes to cars?
As I said before, I feel there is a presumption that women are unknowledgeable about cars. Most people automatically presume that a woman won’t know what is wrong with their car. That is very frustrating but I suppose that’s just the way it is and until more women start working in the motoring trade, that is how’s it going to be. I want to be a pioneer in this industry and inspire more women to take the plunge and join me!
Why should people go to Fetch when selling their cars?
People should go to Fetch to sell their car because we are based upon three core pillars: honesty, transparency and convenience. We want to make the car selling experience as easy and convenient as possible and make sure you, the customer, is happy with the price you got for your car.
We also want to make the car buying experience a bit more fun. We have a fleet of dog cars that our Retrievers will be undertaking the collections in. We want the children of our customers to get excited when the dog car turns up. I mean, what’s more exciting for a little child when an 8 foot dog turns up at their doorstep.
I would also say that Fetch represents the female voice in this industry. I understand how daunting it can be for a woman to sell their car in such a male-dominated environment, however, with Fetch we want women to feel comfortable. When a woman gets an offer with Fetch, we will offer them the chance to have a female Retriever come and pick it up from their house.
What is it about your company that sets it apart from the rest?
As I mentioned before, we are the first company that is truly geared towards women in the second-hand car industry. We want to be that company a woman can trust and not feel they are getting ripped off by.
Fetch is different because we have taken time to invest in our brand. If you look at all the other cash-for-your-car companies out there, they all sound the same - we buy this, we sell that, money 4 your motor and trust me to buy your car - they all merge into one and none of them evoke any sort of brand loyalty.
We will be busy on our social media platforms to create competitions that people can enter and constantly looking to produce content that our customers will want to share. I am very proud of my brand and I want everyone to know about it!
When should we expect Fetch to launch?
We will be launching Fetch on 10th March 2014. This also happens to be the International Day of Awesomeness. Perfect timing I say…
You can follow Fetch on Twitter @fetchcars and find out more at www.fetchcars.com