Business Spotlight | On-Site Mechanics will come to you to repair your vehicle

On-Site Mechanics James Smith

On-Site Mechanics owner James Smith takes a wrench from partner Ashlee Smith while working on a customer’s car. The company does automobile repair and maintenance at clients’ locations.

In some ways, James Smith is the quintessential shade tree mechanic. After all, he often can be found beneath the hood of a car, hopefully shaded by a maple or oak, making repairs. He can also be found in driveways, along roadsides or in garages, doing maintenance, fixing problems or completing whatever task the automobile’s owner needs.

As the owner of Marion-based On-Site Mechanics, Smith does everything most automobile repair shops do – only he doesn’t do it in the shop; he offers diagnostic work, repair and much more at his customers’ locations.

“We offer a service with an alternative to help people,” Smith explained. “With me being able to come out to their site, I am able to save people a tow bill. Plus, a lot of times they will have more options because if I give a price and they don’t like it, they don’t have to have their car towed somewhere else.”

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Usually, however, Smith said his repair estimates and service costs are low enough that people are pleased. He said working out of a van where he transports everything he needs to do a repair reduces his overhead – savings he passes along to customers.

“Obviously it’s easier and cheaper to run the business out of a van than a brick and mortar, so customers like that. It saves my customers a ton of money,” he said before transitioning into a discussion of what he enjoys about the on-site arrangement.

“I think what I like about it is that when I go to work, I get to go to a different place every day or every other day. The scenery is different. I like that,” he said.

That being said, Smith admitted that sometimes working conditions can be a challenge.

“The roughest part of the job is definitely the weather conditions, but I get through it,” he said, adding that doing on-site work is unique. For example, parts suppliers do not make regular stops at residences, so he has to run to get any necessary components, but that means he – and his customers – don’t have to wait on deliveries.

He said he first became interested in the working of automobiles as a junior high school student and started On-Site Mechanics about five years ago. Originally, he said he could get to customers’ vehicles right away, but thanks to a growing client base and a reputation, his schedule is planned out a at least a week in advance.

For major projects that will take more than a few days, Smith will tow the vehicle to his own shop, but he said a vast majority – more than 95% of his work is done in driveways, garages and barns.

“When I started, I was trying to figure out how to do this and I realized that going to their locations was going to be a lot easier than having people come to me. With reduced overhead and the convenience, usually right after I give someone an estimate, they ask me when I can start,” he said.

Smith said customers enjoy having their car repaired while they are at work or relaxing in their own homes. An added benefit is that customers do not have concerns about getting a ride from the repair shop, he said.

On-Site Mechanics serves clients within 25 miles of Marion and works on vehicles Tuesday through Saturday. More information is available by calling Smith at (618) 944-9672 or on line at

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