Tag Archive | "Garages"

TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT

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TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT


The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has published its 2017 annual review, which highlights changes to the MOT testing service and the association’s actions on tackling claims relating to MOT fraud.

According to the report, 511 garages and 483 testers were investigated by the organisation from last year while 45 garages and 111 testers have been stopped testing altogether. A statement from the review said: “With some of these cases there were administrative errors, the more serious cases involved testers who’d issued MOT certificates without actually testing the vehicle. In the most severe cases we took the testers to court, and some received prison sentences”.

In addition, the report outlines 25 new improvements for the MOT testing service with the integration of technical information made readily available for vehicles so testers can carry out the mandatory procedures correctly while being able to identify and remove any defects before retesting.

The agency will continue clamping down on illegal MOT activities within the trade and is in the process of developing an MOT Reminder service for motorists; encouraging them to get their vehicles serviced on time. The statement concluded. “We’re going to look at using new technology to provide streamlined processes for our commercial vehicle testing service. We want to improve our testers’ access to vehicle information at the time of testing, and capture and produce test results digitally. We also aim to improve the service to our customers by simplifying the current payment process, making it easier for them to make payments and view their account in real time”.

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A POINT OF GARAGE DIFFERENCE

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A POINT OF GARAGE DIFFERENCE


Sometimes it’s good to take a bit of time out to think through why a customer should choose you, as opposed to any other garage in the area.

Thinking about your business from your customers’ perspective is an exercise worth taking. After all, we can be so immersed in what we do that we lose track and take things for granted.

Personally, I think I can safely vouch for your typical customer and tell you that most find it very difficult to differentiate between one garage and another. Many independent garages unfortunately do appear the same. They all say they do brakes, clutches, servicing; some offer air conditioning services and other’s MOTs, but there never seems to be a lot of difference between them.

This makes it very difficult for customers to make informed decisions on which garage to use. They have very little to go by. They may have driven past your premises, seen your signage, again reiterating that you do what everyone else does.

Some premises will be big and others small; in these cases, price will probably go through the customer’s mind, big = expensive (but perhaps they have more capabilities); small = cheaper (but can they work on new cars?).

LOYALTY
This could be a reason why some customers don’t stay loyal and change garages from year to year. Or, worse still, you lose out on a major repair because the customer wasn’t aware that you could do it and went elsewhere.

Very often customers are left to read the ‘signals’ that independent garages put out and to decipher for themselves who to use.

But this means for those who do reach out to their customers, who are prepared to communicate and engage with them, there are great opportunities to win them over. Customers do need more information to help them with their decisions. It’s not all about price and where you are.

To the majority, the mechanics of cars are a mystery. Most never lift their bonnet from year-to-year and as technology rapidly advances, people understand less and less. This only increases their difficulty with decisions. Who is really up to the job – can that small garage down the road really handle my particular car?

DIFFERENCE
So how can you make yourself more appealing to customers? You need to differentiate yourself from the crowd. You need to help customers with their decision making so they gravitate to you.

In an industry where this is rarely done (outside of the dealerships), there are opportunities for those prepared to put in the effort. And this is what marketing is about – it’s not necessarily about hard-sell offers and saying how great you are. It’s about helping customers, informing them and going that extra mile. It does take time and effort but it can pay off.

If you take a leaf out of other industries it might help you understand what I mean by ‘differentiation’. Take the airlines; you’ve got Easyjet, Virgin and British Airways, all fly planes and take passengers fromAtoB–butallare distinctly different and spend a lot of money communicating how different they are and evolving services to back this up. Customers know pretty much what to expect.

Then there’s the supermarkets, who do you choose Waitrose or Lidl? Extreme cases I know, but with one you know the products have been chosen with a more discerning approach, plus you can pick up a nice lifestyle magazine with hints, tips and interesting stories. Whereas the other has a more, no frills, pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap approach – both are clearly different.

It has been said that those that are too ‘middle-ground’ or too general are the businesses that are struggling. You’ve only got to look at some big high street names that have gone to the wall. In most cases, it was because they lost their way and,
in the eyes of the customer, weren’t different enough.

So how can you differentiate your garage? As I’ve already said, in most towns there are great opportunities for those who are just bothered to communicate; to actually do something like sending out regular mailings. This is because most don’t do anything.

But the key here is ‘communicating’, after all, it’s no good being good at something, or offering something different if you don’t tell anyone.

For those bookish types out there, I recommend reading any book by Jack Trout the author of ‘Repositioning’ (an updated version of his earlier book ‘Positioning: The battle for your mind’, or ‘Differentiate or Die’. These books will give you greater insight into differentiation techniques.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

  • Becoming the local expert
  • Offering guarantees
  • Providing a unique approach to serving customers
  • Specialising in types of vehicles
  • Providing more customer endorsements
  • Providing additional products and services that others don’t n Doing charitable work
  • A long track record or unique story

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RMI OPENS NEW ACADEMY IN RUNCORN

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RMI OPENS NEW ACADEMY IN RUNCORN


Runcorn academy opens on 3rd July

The Retail Motoring Industry Federation (RMIF) has announced the launch of its MOT training facility in Runcorn, Cheshire.

The new 7,000 sq ft. warehouse follows a similar set-up to the Southam site in Warwickshire, but includes a larger workshop space allowing delegates to carry out MOT Tester training before completing the final test on their work premises. In addition, this is supported by two MOT bays for class four and seven vehicles, a dedicated service ramp and three classrooms catering for industry events and seminar programmes.

Speaking of the launch, Stuart James, Independent Garages Director at the RMI, said. “We decided to open an academy in Runcorn because of the significant number of businesses around the area”. He continued. “Delegates at our latest facility can expect new MOT Tester training for classes four and seven vehicles. We are also doing Level 1 and 2 Motorcycle and a Pre-Mot Testing Level 3 course to support individuals who want to become MOT testers or become eligible to go onto the course”.

The federation will integrate the Independent Garage Association’s training infrastructure, with the inclusion of new courses starting later this year. RMI’s Stuart James provided further insight. “One thing we’re doing in the near future is launching the IGA’s new training regime where we will have a suite of new on-site courses. The newest addition is the ‘Oscilloscope course pilot’, which we have run and will be coming out soon”, adding that the firm’s next course catalogue will be available to the trade next month.

Although there have been discussions of opening an academy in Basingstoke, the team are focusing on getting the Runcorn facility up and running at full capacity before tackling their next project. The site is available to both members and non-members of the RMI.

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THE INTRODUCTION OF THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY

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THE INTRODUCTION OF THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY


The long-awaited Apprenticeship Levy for UK employers came into effect from 6 April 2017. While it’s been widely heralded, few seem to fully understand what it is, how it will operate and what effect it will have on businesses.

WHAT IS IT?
When the present government was elected in 2015, it revealed ambitious targets to significantly increase the number of apprenticeships in the UK. The plan was that these apprenticeships would be funded in large part by employers and that in turn, they would be able to access the benefits of the new system.

The government then put forward more detailed proposals for a new levy on large employers, with the aim of supporting three million new apprenticeships for people over the age of 16 by 2020. In essence, the levy will be an obligation on all qualifying UK employers in both the public and private sectors to fund new apprenticeships from May 2017.

Although skills training is a devolved policy issue in the UK, the levy will apply equally to employers in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The government has plans to work with those devolved administrations to understand how they intend the levy to operate in their particular areas, but it appears that they plan to utilise the additional funds as a supplement to existing funding arrangements, rather than operate any centralised digital system comparable to that being set up in England.

HOW WILL IT OPERATE?
The purpose of the levy is to encourage employers to invest in apprenticeship programmes and to raise additional funds to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships. The levy paid by employers can then be accessed by those same employers to fund apprenticeship training in their business.

In England, control of apprenticeship funding will be put into the hands of employers through the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS), an online service that:

  • allows employers to access funding for apprenticeship training;
  • choose the type of apprenticeships they want to run;
  • choose the number of apprentices they take on;
  • choose the training provider that suits their needs.

The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill and will only be paid on annual pay bills in excess of £3 million. In reality, this affects less than 2% of UK employers. The levy will be collected by HMRC through PAYE, alongside income tax and National Insurance Contributions. The pay bill will be calculated with reference to total employee earnings (not additional payments, such as benefits in kind) and will be payable by the employer on a monthly basis. It will be up to employers to notify HMRC each month as to whether they are eligible to pay the levy.

When the money goes into the DAS, it gains a 10% top up from the government. This means that for every £1 that enters a business’ digital account, it gets an additional 10 pence. For example, if a company has a payroll of £3 million, they will pay £15,000 in levy payments throughout the year which will gradually appear in their digital apprenticeship account, and they will also gain an additional £1,500 (or 10%) from the government for the same period. Therefore, the company will have £16,500 in their digital account to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment.

A further aspect of the levy proposals will see each employer receive an annual allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment. If the employer has more than one payroll reference, it may apportion the allowance between them. The levy allowance is spread evenly throughout the year, so that the amount offset against each monthly levy liability is one-twelfth of the total allowance for the year to which the employer is entitled. Any unused allowance from one month is carried forward to offset against subsequent months. At the end of the tax year, the employer may reallocate any unused portion of the levy allowance for one payroll against the liability for another. If the levy has been overpaid, the employer must offset the overpayment against its other PAYE liabilities, before making a claim to HMRC for reimbursement of any remaining excess.

If an employer starts or stops trading during a tax year, the pro-rated share of its allowance for the earlier or later months (as appropriate) is added to that of the month of commencement or cessation (so the full annual allowance still applies). If an employer chooses to adjust a previous month’s pay bill, it should account for the change in its next employer payment summary (EPS). If, at the end of the year, it determines that the National Insurance Contributions reported to HMRC are incorrect, it must submit a correcting EPS.

In the case of a group of employers, only one annual allowance of £15,000 will be available and it will be for the employers themselves to determine how this is apportioned between them.

Each apprenticeship framework will have a maximum funding band and the government has set 15 different bands. Employers can then negotiate an appropriate price with their training provider – for many larger businesses which have a training department, they may be able to make the levy go further by offsetting some of their own training input.

HOW WILL IT AFFECT FIRMS?
Companies which qualify to pay the levy will need to consider the impact that it may have on their business, including:

  • any changes that need to be made to the payroll system;
  • dealing with associated payroll administration;
  • seeking advice on financial (re-)modelling; and
  • potentially mitigating the impact of the new costs incurred.

The government has announced that any unused levy funds (i.e. those that have gone beyond the 18-month expiry date) will be used to fund apprenticeship training for small and medium sized businesses, which do not reach the threshold to pay the levy in the first place. It is expected that the levy will raise approximately £2.5bn per year for training in England and that this will cover all employers who take on apprentices, regardless of their size, as there will be many employers who do not use all the money in their digital accounts. This means that non-qualifying businesses will not miss out.

Non-levy paying businesses with over 50 employees, or businesses that have used up their levy pot, will have to make a contribution of 10% towards the cost of apprenticeships. The remaining 90% will be paid for by the government. Smaller businesses will not have to make a contribution for apprentices up to the age of 23. For all employers who take on apprentices between the ages of 16-18, they will receive a £1,000 bonus payment from the government. However, it is also worth noting that the levy can be used to fund apprenticeships for new or existing employees of any age or position, as long as there is a genuine need for training. Employed adults can undertake apprenticeship training – they do not need to be in entry-level job roles and they can continue to be employed on their existing terms and conditions.

In light of these upcoming changes, therefore, it is important that businesses consider their strategy for dealing with the new levy. Although it may focus primarily on lower-level staff, it should also reach up to include leadership and management programmes and in some cases might also include professional pathways.

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REMOVING EXHAUST MANIFOLD BOLTS WITH EASE

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REMOVING EXHAUST MANIFOLD BOLTS WITH EASE


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF INDUCTION INNOVATIONS

Removing exhaust manifold bolts is often a lengthy, difficult and frustrating task. The nuts securing the bolts rust easily and as they are usually placed in inaccessible areas, it’s very hard to remove them. Heating the part with a naked flame in this area is not advised either!

Fortunately, a safe and efficient tool is available to make the job easier. The innovative Mini-Ductor® Venom™ handheld induction heating tool uses invisible heat which heats ferrous metal (containing iron), and some non-ferrous metal parts in seconds. This allows all types of adhesives bonded to metal, bonded with thread lock compound and seized hardware to be removed and released much quicker and more safely than by traditional naked flame heating.

Made in the US by Induction International Inc., the Venom™ is becoming known as a ‘must-have’ tool for professional mechanics.

Why use induction heat to remove an exhaust bolt instead of the naked flame method?
The Mini-Ductor® Venom™ tool has multiple benefits that keeps technicians safer and it helps remove problem parts quickly and easily:

  • Safety – The coil itself doesn’t get hot; instead the energy is created by an electromagnetic field between the two sides of the coil which creates a friction in the molecules of the metal which causes it to get hot. Induction heating is a much safer alternative to an oxy-acetylene powered naked flame, which often cannot be used in sensitive areas, such as exhausts
  • Works fast – typically, the rust and corrosion is broken down in 15-20 seconds.
  • Parts can often be reused and there’s no costly collateral damage to the area surrounding the problem part, which would happen with a naked flame.
  • All of the above leads to increased productivity and profits

6 easy steps to remove tough Exhaust Manifold Bolts

Induction International Inc. has produced a series of step-by-step video guides to demonstrate some key applications for the Venom™

You can watch this video at www.youtube.com/user/theinductoruk and here’s the key steps you need to follow to remove rusted and inaccessible exhaust manifold bolts.

Equipment needed: Heat resistant gloves, overalls, goggles and a respirator mask (if smoke will be produced from heating).

Knowledge required: A well-reviewed proficiency of the tools safety and operating instructions.

Step 1


Select Correct Coil
Bendable coils come in various sizes.

Step 2


Bend Coil to Fit
For easy access to the nut. The coil provides good access to the nut and fit around the part without touching it.

Step 3


Attach Coil Using Twist Lock™

Step 4


Heat the Nut for 15-20 seconds
Be cautious not to overheat or turn red hot.

Step 5


Use a selected tool to unscrew the bleeder nut, such as a spanner
Dispose of excessively heated hardware.

See the Venom in action at Automechanika Birmingham

If you’re attending this year’s show, pop along to the Sykes-Pickavant stand, 17A9, for a live working and controlled demonstration of this highly innovative tool.

To find out more, visit www.theinductor.co.uk call 01953 859138 or email info@theinductor.co.uk

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MOT CHANGE: IS THE TRADE IN AN ECHO CHAMBER?

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MOT CHANGE: IS THE TRADE IN AN ECHO CHAMBER?


Mixed responses for 4-1-1 proposition

A YouGov poll for SMMT indicated that 76 percent of motorists want to keep the interval for vehicles’ first MOT at three years, rather than increasing it to four as proposed by the government.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The MOT is an essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles. Extending the first test for cars from three to four years is not what consumers or the industry wants given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance. The latest vehicles are equipped with advanced safety systems but it is still critical that wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes are checked regularly and replaced. We urge government to scrap its plans to change a test system that has played a vital role in making the UK’s roads among the safest in the world.”

However, a story in the Telegraph suggests that the motor industry might be living in its own echo chamber. Under the headline ‘Car industry battles changes that could save drivers £100m a year’, the story mentions the SMMT report and counters it with a similar survey conducted by the AA, which asked the same question but phrased differently. In this survey, only 26 percent wished to keep the current regime, with 44 percent keen to change to four years and the remainder ambivalent. Luke Bodset of the AA press office was quoted as saying: “Cars now have the ability to ‘squawk’ and tell drivers if there is a problem with the tyres or battery as well as more fundamental mechanical maladies” he told the paper.

Neither tyre pressure nor states of battery charge are part of the MOT, but his sentiment seemed to chime with a high number of the readers that responded in the the below-the-line comments. “Ridiculous arguments by the motor servicing industry and a change that is long overdue” wrote reader Richard Bassett. Andrew Blowers concurred, writing: “A healthy dose of self-interest from the motor trade then. Modern cars are so well put together and safe that a four years makes perfect sense!”

Not all readers agreed. “South Africa had roadworthy checks only at change of ownership. I don’t recall any checks during 18 years in Botswana” wrote Charles Guerin. “Makes me appreciate the British MOT. At least I have a statistically reasonable chance that the vehicle coming towards me will be able to avoid me”.

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J S AUTOS UP IN FLAMES

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J S AUTOS UP IN FLAMES


Fire at Empress Road, Southampton. © Daily Echo/Solent News & Photo AgencyUK

Family-run garage J S Autos, along with three other car repair businesses, were engulfed in flames after a fire broke out on Thursday morning.

The incident took place on Empress Road, Southampton where 79 fire fighters rushed to the scene to battle the blaze. No casualties were reported while police and ambulance services offered support to local residents and bystanders.

The family business, which has served the area for over 40 years, took the brunt of the fire suffering from smashed windows and broken vehicles when the roof collapsed in on itself.

Speaking to the Southern Daily Echo, Jhalman Rai, owner of JS Autos said. “It’s 40 years of business down the drain. It’s a family business and it happened so fast. I was coming back from a test drive and the business next door, people were working on a car,” he continued. “Smoke started coming from it and then all of a sudden it just went up, flames everywhere and we had to get out.”

Also speaking to the newspaper, Kevin Evenett, Incident Commander added: “There were multiple businesses affected and it appears that they were all interlinked. We had 79 personnel on scene and ten pumps and fortunately everyone was out and okay wn we arrived”.

“It’s definitely a reasonable size incident and that thick black smoke is tyres, grime and oil. Cars were involved in the fire but we don’t know how many, and the roof of the building has collapsed in on itself”.

The fire services  deemed the area ‘safe’ the next day (Friday 21st) at 9:25am.

The cause of the fire is still not known as the Hampshire Fire and Rescue continue their investigation.

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MINI DUCTOR VENOM SHOWCASES AT AUTOMECHANIKA BIRMINGHAM


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF INDUCTION INNOVATIONS

The highly innovative version of the Mini-Ductor® induction heating tool, the Venom™, will be demonstrated on the Sykes-Pickavant stand, 17A9, at this year’s Automechanika Birmingham.

The Mini-Ductor® Venom™ generates Invisible Heat® to release ferrous and some non-ferrous metals from corrosion and thread lock compounds without the dangers of an open flame. The tool can be used for a wide variety of applications and 19mm nuts are turned hot in around 15 seconds.

Tom Gough, President of Induction Innovations, Inc. the tool’s manufacturer says, “Venom’s features allows users to repair vehicles and equipment faster, safer and more profitably, and to salvage parts normally discarded.”

Visitors to Automechanika will be able to see the tool in action, in a controlled working environment. Rob Hawker, Product Development and Training Manager for Sykes-Pickavant says, “This is a truly unique tool – a must have for automotive technicians. We’re looking forward to showing visitors how it will help transform the way they work.”

Special coils offer
All Mini-Ductor® Venom™ orders placed by the end of April 2017 will come with a free coil kit worth £125 + VAT. Place your order and claim your free coil kit by calling 01953 859138 or emailing info@theinductor.co.uk

To watch an overview of the Venom™ in action, visit The Inductor UK’s YouTube channel and view the product spec at www.theinductor.co.uk

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CHOOSING THE BEST TIME TO EXPAND

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CHOOSING THE BEST TIME TO EXPAND


Going up in size can be daunting, but there are a number of options to be considered while doing it.

Mike Owen

Recently, we’ve been approached by several businesses looking to expand, most of them asking about what criteria to use to be in the best position post expansion/acquisition – the answer is simple, follow your entrepreneurial nose! The real question is, has your current business got enough strength to support such an acquisition?

All businesses follow a basic maxim and that is of generating a return on investment. If a company generates sales of a million pounds and a profit of £100K then this is a return of 10% – simple. If you look at that same company and say that the investment in premises, stock, working capital is £250k then the return on investment is 40%; the invested money has rotated four times and generated 10% each lap – ‘circulation of funds employed’ multiplied by ‘return on sales’ equals ‘return on investment’. This is not supposed to be a lesson in accountancy but a yard stick that can be used to evaluate a business’s readiness to expand.

Using the above company again and extrapolating the figures forward some strange things start to occur. The £100K profits this year, after dividends, tax and a myriad of other distributions, is reduced to perhaps £30K and this amount is held within the company then the investment is increased to £280K, circulation drops to (£1m / £280K = 3.6) and the return reduced to 36% and so on – all the time profits are replacing borrowed funds the investment remains the same; once the profits (or reserves) are building up inside the company then the investment increases – time to expand.

LEAN AND FAT
Rule number one – Fat companies become complacent! Lean companies fight for survival, stay alert to every opportunity and cost increases. In general terms the worst thing to have in a business is money; money should be invested in stock and ‘turned’ but overstocking is the ultimate in stupidity. Businesses that ‘take offers’ that exceed their immediate stock requirements can adversely affect the equilibrium of their returns.

Once a company becomes fat then it needs investment to keep the speed of circulation up and maintain the returns so here is a basic requirement that needs to be satisfied in considering further expansion. Another is the ‘gearing ratio’, the amount of borrowed funds to equity; equity equating to the company’s own funds. We look at this a little differently to most and believe that, particularly now, the ability to repay the interest on, together with the pay-down of the principal amount, of any borrowings is the ‘grail’ rather than the amount borrowed. We considered it good practice to keep repayments below 25% of cash profits – exceeding this may throw you under the bus if rates increase or the cost of stock goes stratospheric post-Brexit.

But of course business expansion looks good on paper – that’s why we do it; reality generally removes the rose-tinted glasses very quickly. Experience dictates that a business planning for expansion rarely gives consideration to the detriment that will happen to the existing business. Most accountants and finance directors will suggest that it brings ‘economies of scale’; basically, if you are taking over another company you will take out the acquired management in favour of current management overseeing both businesses, this rarely works. Surprisingly we often overlook the ‘involvement’ of management in day-to-day operation and how unavailability due to being ‘elsewhere’ will frustrate staff and customers alike.

The most important aspect of business expansion is policy transfer – ask yourself ‘how many times a day do staff ask me…?’ Each of these questions state, in big letter, there is no policy for this item so staff either ask you, don’t want to be held accountable (due to insufficient delegation) or are too lazy to take a decision; before you start expanding getting this right simplifies life post purchase. Instilling missing policies and procedures in the new business will tax your tolerances, putting it into two (or more) is the absolute stuff of nightmares.

DIRTY TALK
Now we must really talk dirty – Health and Safety! If your current business is not squeaky clean then it damn well should be! You owe every member of staff the right to be safe at work and return home alive. H&S does little more than this and whilst it would test the patience of a saint, it is a necessity – No business owner can abdicate responsibility by delegation even to an HR officer so, post purchase, you will have your head on two blocks. Two options present themselves; employ an external specialist company or get your own ‘Gestapo’ but have monthly meetings with them, minute the decisions and make it happen; the Health and Safety Executive, should they swoop, will expect these to be available together with actions taken.

We test readiness of companies both financially and structurally prior to undertaking their expansion programmes and it is an ongoing source of amazement at how much within some companies is left to assumption – assuming that staff know what is expected of them leading to incredulity when they don’t.

MODERN CURIOSITY

Now for the up-side. This is a good time to invest and to expand your business. The day of ‘the old curiosity shop’ business is over – this is the time of the professional; at every level. The days of holistic growth is gone, as is the premise of just opening a new depot in the hope that customers will come in just because you are there; it was former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, who stated “‘change’ is not a destination, just as ‘hope’ is not a strategy! Ensure that any intended change is not based on hope? Create a plan and test the it with as many ‘what ifs’ that you can imagine – one of them is bound to happen! Any expansion must then be measured against that plan and progress and performance religiously monitored; any shortfall or deviation is costing you money.

Acquisition is often the lesser evil as, whilst you will acquire some problems, you start with a going concern. Don’t miss out on performing your ‘due diligence’, don’t just delegate this to accountants; bean-counters can check the finances but you know about the business – use your expertise and be sure you are buying an asset rather than a liability.

Expansion is the land of the bold not the silly; of course you should look to grow but rather like buying at auction it’s no use asking those around you if you’ve done the right thing – if they thought it was right they’d have done it first! ‘Tener cojones’ and self belief is your starter pack everything else follows!

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THE MOTORING COMPLAINTS CULTURE

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THE MOTORING COMPLAINTS CULTURE


Steph Savill thinks that garage codes and complaint handling processes don’t make up for the lack of adequate regulation

steph

The image of the motor industry in too many motorists’ minds, fuelled by dubious garage surveys I suspect, is that it’s open for complaints. There’s no one organisation responsible for the industry’s reputation, the industry is largely unregulated, motorists are encouraged to buy cheap garage services despite safety concerns, staff don’t have to be licensed to service/repair or sell us used cars and bad businesses don’t join good trade associations.

COMPLAINTS HOTLINE
When it comes to CTSI schemes however, all make a selling point of their respective complaints handling processes whilst smaller and genuinely independent mediators are priced out of competing here.

Even a new industry service called THE Motor Ombudsman can restrict its CTSI approved services to the good garages and dealers, mostly franchised dealerships, that subscribe to it. Not the bad garages or dealers where an affordable Ombudsman service is needed most.

This means that trusting motorists who are ripped off by unscrupulous garages or car dealers have little support to call on, other than from Citizens Advice, the media or potentially expensive law courts, when things go wrong. There also seems no government awareness or will to remedy this area.

INDUSTRY PROBLEM
Fortunately I am an optimist as well as a realist so my contribution to this debate is to promote ALL measurable signs of garage and dealer quality to as many women as I can, working with the measurably best quality businesses to do this whilst encouraging more (brave) women to enter the industry to change its macho culture from within.motor_complaints_culture

When all else fails and females, in particular, fare badly despite our intervention, hell hath no more fury than this Foxy Lady. After giving the business the opportunity to learn from and address a serious complaint, we will ultimately hand out and promote Red Cards within the Club about ‘couldn’t care less’ bad motor businesses so Club members know to steer clear of them.

One thing is for certain – I’m not giving up in this area because women need to know about the many good guys in this industry who’ve invested in being better than the rest and deserve to thrive ahead of lesser others!

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