Figures released earlier this year by WhoCanFixMyCar reveal that 72 per cent of car owners now shop around before settling on a garage, suggesting that it’s never been more important to know your competition.
Trend Tracker data shows that the retail value of service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs have risen by £1 billion since the 2008 recession.
With latest studies showing that independents are holding up well against the main dealers, we turn attention to the fast-fits that are taking a cut from that billion.
There are over 600 Kwik Fit centres across the UK.
The household name undertakes a wide range of work including tyres, exhausts, brakes, MOT testing, car servicing, air-con servicing and windscreen repair.
Recent investments include the installation of Hunter laser wheel-alignment equipment and customer waiting area improvements, which now offer free Wi-Fi.
The brand has a strong local and national media presence and has an interactive website, which allows customers to book services online.
In addition to its core business of tyre-fitting, services at ATS Euromaster include batteries, brakes, exhausts, suspension, servicing and Class 4 and 7 MOTs.
Its 340 centres and 820 mobile service vans employ around 2,600 technicians.
ATS has recently updated it branding and is planning to build up to 20 new centres in the next five years.
Just last year, the company opened its new £350k flagship service centre in Wrexham.
Halfords Autocentres has more than 300 UK centres offering MOTs, servicing, brakes, tyres and general repairs for more than 850,000 customers each year.
A price match service proves popular in attracting custom, as does a guarantee on all of its work for 12 months or 12,000 miles.
National has 233 branches across the UK and operates a network of mobile tyre-fitting vehicles for fleets.
The brand boasts a ‘while you wait’ service on tyres, exhausts, batteries, steering, suspension, servicing and also carries out MOTs.
National has recently invested in MOT expansion programme, which has seen the company open more than 70 new sites in the past couple of years.
There are 125 HiQ Franchise Centres and 195 HiQ Fleet Service partners in the UK, offering tyres, MOTs, servicing, air-conditioning maintenance, exhaust work, batteries, oil and filter change, and fleet checks.
The brand also offers a contracted mobile service with pre-booked appointments and rapid response.
It’s no secret that the big-chain fast-fits have been attracting the attention of some motorists with bold signs, bright lights and cut-price deals but it’s the personal touch of the independent sector that cannot be replicated, notes Stuart James, IGA Director.
James told GW: “These people [independents] are always good technicians, that’s why they set up their own businesses.
“They talk to the customers, are a part of the community and offer superb value for money.”
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