The CAT Council: garage responses

Chris Meredith

Chris Meredith

“The amount a garage should charge obviously depends on their location but here in Cheshire we’re in the £50 to £60 bracket. Interestingly our most expensive local dealer (BMW) charges £112 plus vat per hour!

If the MOT fee was enforceable the maximum recommended price with retest fees however in the real world where customers can get MOT’s carried out for £25 here at ABP we charge £45 so that we actually get cars booked in for tests!

We absolutely need compulsory licensing. Voluntary code membership is pointless if the bad guys out there keep making the press for the wrong reasons!

I would love to say that formal licensing will come but I very much doubt it will happen. The government managed it with Gas fitters (Corgi) and electrical contractors but whether they go down the garage route is a whole different question. The biggest question might be ‘do we license the technicians actually working on the cars?’ or the businesses in which they are employed?”

Chris Meredith, ABP Motorsport

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Andy Savva

Andy Savva

“The answer to how much a garage should charge is rather difficult to answer as there are to many factors that can determine a specific labour rate for a garage.

The MOT fee should be fixed and not be allowed to be discounted.

I strongly believe in stringent licensing, however it will never happen if our life time.”

Andy Savva, Brunswick Garage

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Tim Hall

Tim Hall

“To maintain quality of technicians and equipment would suggest hourly rate of nominally £60.00 inclusive as a minimum.

VOSA’s attitude is there should be no need discount tests. My view is as per above, to maintain quality staff and equipment charge should be well in excess of £40.00. I would be grateful if someone could explain to me how they can offer heavily discounted tests because I can’t afford to. Always afraid of being busy fools, surely half price MOT’s means twice the work for same return?

Yes we need formal licensing, though regrettably I doubt we will ever get it.”

Tim Hall, T J Hall & Son

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“My primary concern for the independent sector is the lack of investment in tooling and training.  Cars are complex animals and having a good mechanical knowledge is no longer sufficient.  I wonder how many technicians know how to fill the passive Ad-blue tank on the latest Mercedes Bluetec systems, which is a service requirement?  Ignorance is not bliss, you need to find out if you’re willing to offer your services to repair these vehicles.  With this investment in time and money comes increased overheads and this has to be passed on to the customer if we’re to survive.

It would be nice in an ideal world if everyone charged the fixed maximum fee.  Unfortunately if it were made a fixed fee, then someone would add a bolt-on service for £25 and we’d be right back where we started!  The costs of operating and equipping an MOT testing station are significant and whilst the majority of people appreciate that it is impossible to offer a service for less than it costs, others are being seduced by ‘come and get me’ prices.  Only the quality and integrity of the testing standard will suffer as a result of this.

It staggers me that anyone can wake up one day and decide that their career choice today is to repair cars.  If someone asked to you to give your considered opinion on an assembly of more than 20,000 components, weighing 1500kg, capable of exceeding 100 mph what would your response be?  I’d like to know that the persons assessment was pretty accurate, based on experience and training.  Do we need formal licensing in the independent motor sector – why don’t we have it already?

The problem is impartiality.  If a scheme is presented from an automotive body or supplier there has to questions asked about their role and whether there is a conflict of interests.  Unfortunately the scale of the task is vast and whilst the industry will have to supply “experts” to assist in the process, the only organization capable of funding it is main government.  So the question has to be asked, how bigger priority are we?  Yes there could be a super complaint which forces their hand, but in this economic climate funding would, I suspect, be non-existent.  Do we need it to improve the quality of the sector, yes, will we get – would you prefer heads or tails?”

Mike Harding, Harding Autos

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