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How VMAX built a network of 12 repair centres across the US in one year

VMAX USA Operations Manager Steven Shehata tells Zag how the e-scooter brand is supporting local businesses and cutting consumer costs by building out a network of repair centres right across the country

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When VMAX USA launched in 2023, it started with one central repair centre based in Los Angeles. Just one year later, it now has 12.

The goal of the Swiss e-scooter brand is to see repair centres in every single major city across the country, with San Francisco, Miami, Houston, and New York just some already ticked off.

Last year, we heard from VMAX on the dos and don’ts of entering the US market. Now that the company is there, we turn our attention to one core focus: local repair.

Financial Sustainability

You might know VMAX for its 24-month warranty period. Generous as it may be, it wouldn’t be the most cost-effective strategy to ship vehicles in need of repair all the way across the US to its California-based central repair centre. Especially when a round trip of a 40 to 60 lbs vehicle can cost hundreds of dollars.

“We started off with one repair centre. As the business grew, we realised that we needed to make sure it’s sustainable for customers,” VMAX Operations Manager Steven Shehata told Zag Daily. 

“Nobody wants an e-scooter they can’t fix.”

VMAX’s solution is local repair centres that see vehicles in and out on the same day. Instead of customers having to ship their vehicles to LA, and VMAX having to pay for that, customers can instead attend their local repair centre just like they would a car service.

If a customer is too far away from a repair centre, then VMAX will pay for their vehicle to be shipped to the closest one. The company’s in-house inventory means required parts can be sent to the centre on the same day, minimising the time a customer is away from their vehicle. 

The result of the shipping strategy? Lower costs for customers. VMAX can reinvest what would have been steep shipping costs back into the business and keep their premiums low.

Supporting local business

VMAX not only works with its own repair centres but also forms ties with other local businesses that aren’t part of the company.

If a customer needs an urgent repair but doesn’t have a VMAX repair centre close enough, VMAX can form ad-hoc temporary agreements with local repair shops to get the vehicle back on the road. This could be the store a customer goes to for other vehicle services, and VMAX can pay the local business to make the necessary repairs to their scooter.

A one-off repair by a local business can manifest into becoming an authorised repair centre for VMAX, where a contractual agreement is set up between the companies to give customers a closer option.

“These local businesses help keep our whole repair network moving. We work with them to bring in more business for them and repeat customers. Those customers can then bring their friends, cousins, uncles or whoever it may be. It’s a whole ecosystem in itself.”

According to VMAX, supporting local business is crucial after the pandemic – a tough economic climate and an e-commerce boom made it difficult for these stores to compete with bix-box retailers.


Customer satisfaction

If a VMAX customer can’t or doesn’t want to send their vehicle to a repair centre, then they have another option: fixing it themself.

Under the 24-month warranty, customers can have the necessary replacement parts sent to their door with guided instructions. This saves the customer from having to box up the scooter and wait while it’s under repair, and instead lets them opt for a more hands-on approach.

“I personally like to work on my own things,” Steven said. “If something appears to need fixing, I like to fix it. But some people don’t want that and they just want it fixed. We tailor to all markets.”

That is the VMAX goal: tailoring to all markets. And in the meantime VMAX is identifying demand to determine where its next local repair centre will go until every US major city has its own flagship shop. 

These shops aren’t just for repairs either, and potential clients can use them to test out a vehicle before choosing to purchase one.

“We are making it so that everything can be hands-off for the customer. They can walk into the shop and walk right back out. It’s designed to be a streamlined experience from start to finish.”

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