How can I be BE Of service?

Rebecca knows her strengths lie in business, but many overestimate their automotive knowledge, and we know how that can end up

Published:  15 January, 2021

Having run my own independent garage for many years, I am lucky to be surrounded by highly talented and professional guys who mend, repair and diagnose vehicles.  If you were to test me on running a garage, I’d be red hot, but never ask me to mend a car. I simply can’t. There would be some very disappointed owners and dangerous cars too. In fact, I’m so impractical that
it hurts.
It is funny though, that so many people think they can mend cars and service them too. The number of cars bought for MOT that have substandard repairs and end up in our garage is not funny. Often, they belong to families with children that have been driving them for weeks or possibly even months. I wonder how many accidents are caused by substandard repairs.
Those of you who are a little older (with the chrome hair colour), may remember a ‘service’ when you were younger that took hours and included cleaning and resetting everything. The customers then drove away in a car that genuinely felt and ran better. Servicing nowadays is just not the same and the only thing you probably will notice is the wash or no service light on the dashboard.
Did you know, many years ago the motor industry was threatened with a Super-Complaint? I’m not sure what this would have looked like. Maybe some kind of muscle-bound complaint letter wearing a cape? Seriously though,  the essence of it is was that the government would have had to have step up and rule on many things our industry did. “What does or should, a service entail?”That would have a been a significant question.
Currently, I can open a brand-new garage with my fabulous admin team. We can get a wonderful website together and in the small print write that our ‘full service’ will include a thorough wash using high quality products and that we will definitely black your tyres. It may also include a check to ensure that the clock is set to the right time (we all know how annoying customers find that), ensuring that Radio 1 is on button one, a free litre of oil (specific to your car of course) and a stamp in the book.  How sad is it that I could do this?  Why is this not wrong?  Where is our Superhero, even if they do have their pants on the outside? We really need this to change.
Now I know this will bring more paperwork, but how lovely would it be if all technicians were licenced and insured? We could be like our neighbours in Germany, where mechanics and owning a garage is considered the same professional standing as being a solicitor. This would bring wealth and much needed respect to our industry.
So, next time you’re shown a photo of a ridiculous repair and you’re all guffawing over it and someone like me asks you to explain the joke, remember that, not only could
the person who carried out the repair own a garage, so could anyone.


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