Opinion: A black hole is set to follow autumn’s increased MOT demand

GW columnist Andy Parsons considers his options as MOT demand nears its peak

Opinion: A black hole is set to follow autumn’s increased MOT demand

I read with some despair the article on Garage Wire about the impending flood of MOTs following the government’s MOT extension earlier this year.

Andy Parsons of Shortfield garage in Surrey.

Our area falls into 14th position of the top 20 areas to be worst hit, with just a 58 per cent increase expected.

In our nine-bay workshop, we have just one bay dedicated to MOTs, with a full time tester which on average we would process seven MOTs a day.

This means there is the potential for 11 tests a day.

This isn’t a sudden realisation though – we knew this way back when the government first announced an extension.

As I wrote previously, this was always going to be a potential time bomb.

DVSA saying ‘worst hit’ sums it up perfectly.

After our initial six week enforced furlough sabbatical we returned to work on May 11 and immediately thought about how we would tackle the future.

Related: MOT demand pushing testing volumes up to 60% higher than normal levels

We contacted existing customers who had booked prior to shut down and booked them in and from day one have been back to work as normal and almost fully staffed throughout.

We sent out the normal MOT reminders, albeit re-worded to encourage our existing customers to book without delay.

We also followed up reminders with calls to those who had not booked and we’ve had an encouraging response.

For customers that took advantage of the extension, we rescheduled reminders and they’ve now started going out.

This, combined with those normally due plus an influx of new customers, is already seeing our bay get fully booked.

Instead of booking four or five days in advance, we are now booked up for two weeks.

Related: Garages “very unlikely” to be affected by new track and trace regulations

Some may see this as an opportunity to increase business, to take it while it’s there.

Indeed, we considered increasing the bay availability but the question is how?

We could ask our tester and receptionist to work longer hours but this could be detrimental to their health and wellbeing at a time when their immune system needs to be at it’s strongest.

We’ve looked at the possibility of a split-shift system and employing an extra tester.

These too present problems though.

More MOTs means more failure work but with our workshop already fully-booked, this adds even more pressure.

Our best option would be to take on additional staff – another tester perhaps.

But what happens come March, April and May when we could potentially see a 90 per cent reduction in demand?

Related: DVSA updates guidance on how to request ‘key’ for connected MOT equipment

I am sure that many will do exactly that and have no qualms about letting those new employees go again once the demand falls but it doesn’t sit well with me.

The other avenue we’re exploring is to train one of the existing team to become a tester which would give us, with a bit of restructuring, the ability to increase our MOT capacity but that would be at the detriment of service and repair work.

In short, we have a time bomb looming with a black hole just around the corner – and that’s without mentioning COVID-19 or Brexit.

Luckily, I’ve already pulled out most of my grey hair.

2021 has got to be better, hasn’t it?

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Home Page Forums Opinion: A black hole is set to follow autumn’s increased MOT demand

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  • #201177 Reply

    I read with some despair the article in Garage wire re the impending flood of MOT’s following on from the governments MOT extension. Andy Parsons of S
    [See the full post at: Opinion: A black hole is set to follow autumn’s increased MOT demand]

    #202229 Reply

    DVSA should have kept everyone’s expiry date as it was. If you took advantage of the full 6 month extension then you only get 6 months on your new mot ticket. That way there’d be no ‘black hole’ and no Aug/Sept/Oct chaos every year. This wasn’t an offer to give you 6 months extra on your MOT for free, it was an offer to take the stress off getting a test done during a national crisis. People have abused it (or at least taken unnecessary advantage of it) and now we, the garages and staff, have to deal with the fall out from it all

    #202571 Reply
    Andy Bowyer

    Paul you are right should only be 6 months on the mot end of the problem. Was not a hard thing to put in place but shows the powers that run the mots just need to get into the real world

    #202763 Reply
    andrew carter

    I could not agree more, who is in charge of representing MOT garages? If there is someone lobbying on our behalf they should be fired (unless execution is an option). We all know the 6 month extension was not supposed to be an advantage for some and not others, it was supposed to aid limiting unnecessary exposure for both drivers and mechanics. MOTs are a completely computerised certification scheme, issuing a 6 month ticket to all automatically extended cars was not only possible, it would have been (from a programming point of view) easy to implement. I have yet to hear any single reason (other than blind incompetence) why this was not done. We would have only had to put up with the current surge, and loss of revenue due to over capacity once, now we face at least 4 years (no new cars registered this year either) of surge and decline. Many garages will suffer catastrophically as a result, BUT WHY?

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