Garage owners left to weigh up pros and cons of staying open

Garages given green light to remain open and supply chain stocked for those wishing to do so

Garage owners left to weigh up pros and cons of staying open
Image: Bigstock.

The UK’s independent garage owners are facing tough decisions in the weeks and months ahead as the UK’s lockdown continues.

It is has now been confirmed that MOT centres and garages can remain open during the UK’s lockdown to service the needs of blue light services, key workers and for individuals who rely on their vehicle to shop for basic necessities, for any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person and to travel to and from work where it cannot be done from home.

The UK’s automotive aftermarket supply chain is also exempt from forced government closure to ensure workshops have access to the parts and services required to operate.

Related: Garages, factors and suppliers can stay open, IAAF confirms

However it remains down to individual garage owners to evaluate their own position and capabilities.

A Garage Wire reader poll suggests that 72 per cent remain open but with the coronavirus situation changing daily, many are uncertain about how long that will be the case.

Hayley Pells of Avia Autos in Bridgend, which is currently open at reduced hours, is encouraging other garages to remain open to help support those requiring essential travel.

She recently welcomed customer, Mr Doyle, who waited at a safe distance for his car to be repaired.

Getting his car back on the road was particularly important for Mr Doyle, who’s in isolation but needs to attend regular chemotherapy appointments.

“We have to consider all aspects of the business”

Tim Benson of Oldfields Garage in Leominster is one the garage owners that has taken the tough decision to temporarily close during the lockdown.

He said: “After much deliberation and consideration, we have taken the decision to temporarily shut until further notice.

“Our plan was to stay open using special measures, but with updated and ongoing guidance we feel we aren’t able to do that as we would have hoped.

“Whilst we are classed as an essential service and specifically excluded from the business told to close, we have to consider all aspects of the business along with the escalating situation.

“We don’t want to let our loyal customers down but we have to consider the severity of the situation and the impact on our staff.”

Opinion: It’s a worrying time for garage owners with difficult decisions to be made

Aaron Phillips of Jackson & Phillips Automotive Services in Leighton Buzzard has now also closed his garage.

He said: “We have now decided the most responsible course of action to keep everyone safe is to close up temporarily and wait for all this to blow over.

“It’s a very worrying time with lots of difficult decisions to be made.

“I’ve been in touch with our county council and we will be receiving some support so fingers crossed we’ll be able to make up the difference when we re-open.”

Keep your comments and experiences coming in on how you’re dealing with the current situation. Comment below or email [email protected].

Home Page Forums Garage owners left to weigh up pros and cons of staying open

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 26 total)
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  • #193447 Reply
    Belinda Teasdale
    Guest

    Staying open would have been an easy decision had the government not put the 6 month extension on car / motorcycle MOT’s.
    This has given people the go ahead to drive cars which could very possibly be unsafe to drive.
    The irony is they want to keep small independent garages open but with what work???

    #193448 Reply
    sue
    Guest

    It’s okay to ask us to stay open but why take away our bread and butter MOT work. We have 4 MOT testers who potentially won’t do another test until October. A 3 month extension would have been just about acceptable – 6 months will close us down.
    We would have stayed open for the whole duration, but not after that announcement

    #193450 Reply
    Mel Hakhnazarian
    Guest

    From the 24th of March I closed my doors under government guidelines of the coronavirus for approximately 2 weeks, only then will we reassess the risk to you and staff and take advice from government guidelines.
    Sadly we can’t work from home but we are working in a high risk industry. We’re dealing face to face with our customers, touching their keys, car door handles, steering wheels, parking brake levers, seat belts and driving controls, thus potentially passing any virus from vehicle to vehicle and then on to other customers, their family members and to my staff members. This hasn’t been an easy decision, with the limited amount cars on the road and where people are only using their vehicles for essential driving they can get by without a service for another couple of weeks or more. I briefly popped into work today to finish off some loose ends, there are 3 other garages and a tyre shop a on our industrial estate all without work and customers, they’re all sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. They were all 2 metres apart mind, but is it worth the risks of being at work for no work!

    #193455 Reply
    ALISON RILEY
    Guest

    We’re staying open at Holbrook Garage Bisley and taking every precaution necessary. Our difficulty at the moment is the supply of parts as most suppliers have shut down.
    We have doctors and nurses on our list of customers and feel we owe it to them to keep open.

    #193458 Reply
    Em Williams
    Guest

    It’s been a very tough decision to make but after a discussion with our staff, we have decided to stay open. I’m glad we did! As this week alone, we have serviced 3 cars for nurses, replaced a tyre for an elderly lady who uses the car to get her husband to hospital. MOT’s on vehicles being used by carers; Not to mention the safety checks we are doing for disabled patrons.
    We’ve taken a number of proactive measures to help ensure the safety of both customers and staff.
    All we can do, is take it day by day. Putting safety first.

    #193460 Reply
    Shashi
    Guest

    We have asked our tester to stay at home

    #193463 Reply
    paul
    Guest

    Unless you work directly on key workers vehicles, all garages should close. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. The situation is going to get much worse before it gets any better. Coughing , sneezing in vehicles leaves germs and no matter what precautions mechanics take they are still at risk of contracting and spreading the virus.Money is one thing , lives are another. I opted to close my garage to protect staff, customers and anyone they come in contact with. Yes i will lose money and possibly take ages to recover. But get your priority’s right. We have got to slow this virus in order to beat it. That means we all have to make sacrifices and face this together.STOP WORKING!

    #193465 Reply
    Craig Bradbrook
    Guest

    We are trying to stay open but work is slowing down, we will have to weigh up my options as being self employed we won’t get any money from government till June 2020 , so will try and stay open and keep safe and well

    #193466 Reply
    Peter Miles
    Guest

    I’m staying open as long as I can get work in. As of now I have enough work for at least a week on site but nothing booked in after that so then I’ll think again. Purely on business grounds the six month MOT “holiday” is going to make a huge difference.

    #193467 Reply
    Steve mclellan
    Guest

    It’s a devastating decision. 6 months is a far too long of a period. The government is happy for us to be open and we are coming to work, yet no one to work for. It’s agreed cars need to be kept in a safe and road worthy condition. Most people rely on the MOT to tell them their car is unsafe otherwise they would never know till it’s to late I agree there should be an air of flexibility but we have all put procedures in place to cover eventualities and offer help where needed. It seems ironic that I can only get 3 months help with my mortgage we will need help for the hole 6 months till this business returns does the government have a separate scheme for us? I doubt it please re think so we will be offering a proper service to the key workers who need it otherwise many of us will be closed or worse.
    Steve

    #193468 Reply
    Phil Campbell
    Guest

    We have gone from having a full week of work next week to having one job booked in ! From government handed us a lifeline saying we could stay open, they then handed us a rope to hang ourselves with when they extended the mot expiry date by 6 months! What was wrong with month by month extension or a 3 month extension at most, what they have done is doomed most garages to never reopen! Unfortunately I may be one of them!

    #193471 Reply
    Dougal
    Guest

    Those who shut up shop indefinitely and abandon their customers can get furlough assistance.
    It would seem that those who wish to help customers through these difficult times, for instance by going to a 3 day week, are getting no help at all.

    #193472 Reply
    R B Autocare ltd
    Guest

    We will be staying open to be able to maintain our local Key services vehicles
    But it will be difficult as our local Renault,Nissan,Toyota,Kia,Hyundai,& Vauxhall parts departments are closed
    I understand the situation & we will do our best to carry on

    #193473 Reply
    simon
    Guest

    Hi I work in a garage that has opted to stay open and to be honest the public are a joke they haven’t taken the warnings seriously. we do very little essential services work so why are we still working on general public cars. we have had a range of customers cars in today one being a puncture and guy said hes going up the highstreet and hopes to avoid the police so he doesn’t get fined. another for a diagnostic im sorry but this isn’t essential the matter how you argue the fact. also the company I work for has tried to get us to do a collection and drop off service. in NO way am I getting involved in this as it puts us at a great risk. im sorry but vehicles are the most unclean propertly people have. im definitely against being open in this situation. in my opinion its called BLOOD MONEY

    #193497 Reply
    Andy Price
    Guest

    We are currently closed but a garage near us is saying business as usual on their website. While I understand there is a need for essential repairs. Servicing a motor home that was there yesterday is not classed as essential? I’m afraid some garages are seeing it as a licence to proferteir and abuse people’s trust.

    #193498 Reply
    Ather Bashir
    Guest

    Unfortunately were closing this week and letting our customers down all due to our Govts ill advised decision to extend MOT for 6 month. A 3 month extension with option to extend would have been acceptable. Now after losing business for 3 month, paying for staff and business cost from pocket with only a Govt promise of assistance, we then face coming back to work without our regular MOT income stream. Lucky we still have our health, or do we…..

    #193499 Reply
    Rich m
    Guest

    I’ve closed and all the garages and employees out there ,this is what made me closed .
    Imagine your child ,partner or relative lying in a hospital bed ,alone ,afraid and being cared for by a total stranger ,you won’t be able to visit them ,even when there crying and all they want is a hug!
    Your putting your love ones at risk !
    If your only open for emergencies and breakdowns fair enough, but if your still servicing them shame on you !

    #193506 Reply
    simon bailey
    Guest

    Garages are staying open to get as much money in as possible this has nothing to do with working on key workers vehicles, face it this is just an excuse to stay open. over the last week we have probably worked on 2 cars related to nhs workers. the majority are people who are supposed to be staying indoors. do you class someone leaving there house to get a wiper blade fitted an essential journey or repair ??? or a puncture the guy stating he needs his vehicle to go back and forth to hospital to have chemotherapy after they said on the news that they are halting the treatment for patients ??? diagnostics because all of a sudden the eml has come on ???. when is this line going to get drawn. is it going to take the death of people they work with before they realise how serious this is. mechanics get a low wage as it is. ive just saw the dvsa covid 19 precautions for mots what a complete joke theres no mention to safety of the mot tester at all. it just shows how much mechanics/mot testers are undervalued in this type of situation, come on guys seriously how much do you value your employees !!!!!

    #193512 Reply
    jackie wright
    Guest

    It will force our garage to close and lay off staff with mortgages . MOT is an important part of our work .
    we see cars after 12 months and some really are not roadworthy, customers not realising they need brakes , tyres etc .
    We took all the precautions to protect staff and customers and feel 6 months is far too long the government need to change this . They will put my garage out of business and there are now more people unemployed this was not thought out and no real help for garages , we have heard nothing about our rates etc and the landlord still expects his rent.

    #193513 Reply
    JOHN TULLETT
    Guest

    We have many customers who work at Kings College hospital London SE and are an RAC Network garage. If we close how will the people who will rescue you when your car breaks or repair you when you break get to work without our support? The MOT ‘holiday’ is unnecessary and will compromise our efforts financially, the RMI IGA is speaking with government about that currently. Apart from our Nissan dealer just about every other manufacturers’ agent has closed completely – not even a phone and collect parts service and I find that completely inexcusable. Our staff have complete autonomy to decide whether to work or not, nobody is forced to. We are all fit and healthy and feel that we can make a difference. No disrespect to those who think of themselves first (honestly!).

    #193515 Reply
    Joe digney
    Guest

    We have took the decision to close toe we have tried the measures laid down by the government to decrease the threat but when people come in coughing everywhere including a NHS health worker then sending them away disgruntled there is no point trying to continue my staff deserve protection seems people aren’t taking any notice to the advice

    #193525 Reply
    Dean dixon
    Guest

    We chose to close our garage as we were seemingly unable to keep customers at a safe distance, we had several incidents of customers wandering around the work are despite our signage and the government advice, since then the government has given all vehicles with mot due to expire 6 months grace so this along with the inevitable drop of customers has reinforced our decision, we are also facing difficulties collecting money from our account holders which in turn makes it hard to pay wages and creditors.

    #193508 Reply
    Brian Baldwin
    Guest

    Good old D V S A….How sad that our M O T Test Stations have been let down by them Until a few days ago No advise or direction offered.THEN THOSE OF US STILL TRYING TO PROVIDE A ESSENTIAL SERVICE TO KEY WORKERS AND MOTORIST WHO NEED THE USE OF THIER CARS.D V S A HAVE KICKED ALL M O T TEST CENTRES IN THE TEETH BY DELAYING RENEWAL OF TESTS BY 6 MONTHS.COME ON GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER A SHORT TIME COULD BE CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE TO HELP US ALL THROUGH THESE DIFFICULT TIMES.I AND ALL TESTING STATIONS BEG TO ASK WHY…
    BUT D V S A are quick to jump on us if through no fault of our own should we make a mistake.SORRY I HAVE ALWAYS SUPPORTED anything that PROMOTES ROAD SAFTEY.But lack of guidance and direction now does nothing to enhance what should be partnership between D V S A and your testing stations.
    Gripe over…will D V S A take note…I VERY MUCH DOUBT IT

    #193535 Reply
    Russell Hill
    Guest

    I think the best thing the government could do is to say that the MOT you get in six months time only covers the period up until it would normally be due. That way there won’t be another big slump in April / May / June 2021. It was a knee jerk reaction badly thought through and will result in some garages having to close.

    The large dealerships and businesses where the building is owned will see significant help but the smaller organisations who will not have access to the grants are going to struggle.

    #193989 Reply
    Ken Lister
    Guest

    Our Mot station closed to general business on Friday 27th March following the DVSA announcement of the six month extension which decimated our business overnight .We are still offering an emergency MOT and limited repair service for NHS and essential services staff but not much call to date . So furlough and deferment of monthly’s with cost savings are the order of the day. We are planning for the future with clear PVC shielded counter area , chairs removed from waiting area and one person in reception at a time one of the many new procedures for the foreseeable future .How to manage courtesy cars in the future could be challenging as well.
    The government help over this period for SME garages is a little flaky to say the least however. Lets see if the chancellors castigation of the Banking Industry yesterday frees up the money supposedly available.
    One area to date the government help has failed small independent garages in is Rates Holiday – Franchise garages up to a certain size ,Car sales , car wash etc all get 12 months rates holiday ! Mot stations and garages not in the SBRR scheme pay full wack and the six months MOT extension has killed us Something is very wrong and unfair ! However happy days still alive and Healthy ! Stay safe !

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 26 total)

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