A new campaign has been launched by an independent garage owner in protest against fleet companies that refuse to pay normal hourly labour rates and, in some cases, supply their own parts.
The Facebook group, ‘Say no to cheap fleet work’, has so far attracted more than 150 members since its launch last month and hopes to further raise awareness about the pitfalls of fleet work.
Group founder, Mark Kettle of EAC Telford told GW that he normally charges customers £59.95 plus VAT per hour but said some fleet companies pay less than £39.00 + VAT – a 33 per cent loss on retail prices.
Mark said: “We need to stop being held to ransom and stop under valuing the independent garages.
“Fleet companies aren’t paying us enough and now they are supplying parts to us at 15 per cent mark-up.
“We’re now looking to wind down fleet work.
“Looking at our costs over the last year, we will gain about £40,000 per year with less running around, less car cleaning and more retail work.”
Mark told us that he’s aware of numerous other garages that have already stopped fleet work or are in the process of doing so.
Posting to the Facebook group, Simon Croft wrote: “Car fleet work should really be used as “filler” work, not your mainstay.
“Companies that solely rely on this type of work are on a hiding to nothing.
“Not only that, if you rely on one supplier in particular, and the lease company loses the contract, you’ll be out of business and it can happen overnight.”
Steven Paterson of Krypton Garage and MOT Centre told GW that while it’s not a new problem, it’s one that’s getting worse.
He said: “We need to stop the devaluation of our industry.
“Some of the fleet work providers are demanding that we do work for a set labour rate, purely so they can take a cut out of the profit.
“It’s unsustainable for us, it’s as simple as that.
“We’ve got to pay our workers, we’re having to go and pay fees to vehicle manufactures just to gain access to vehicle data so how can you run a business when fleet companies only pay £40 an hour?
“Because you’re doing fleet work and accepting £40 an hour, your missing out the jobs which pay your normal hourly rate.”
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