Rising business energy costs: Running to stand still?

Martin looks at how you can afford to run your business with rising energy costs

Published:  14 February, 2023

The rise in energy prices is an issue that is not just affecting homeowners it is also causing problems for garage businesses, including bodyshops. It is leading to owners having to think if they can afford to run the business due to the increasing cost of gas and electricity eating into the already tight margins the business runs on. However, it is not all doom and gloom. There are many ways businesses can deal with rising energy costs alongside some new trends designed to respond to this issue.

Tools are the life blood of a garage or bodyshop and a fair few of the tools used on jobs are powered by rechargeable batteries, which need to be charged regularly. With the charging, the cost of electricity during the day is significantly more expensive, so businesses should look to charge them overnight, which comes under off peak times, when the energy price is cheaper. However, businesses should be reminded to only charge tools at night as long as they do not pose a fire risk.

Do not waste electricity. Most of the wastage comes from items not being switched off, so it is important to remind technicians on the workshop floor that when they are not in use they should be turned off. This is especially important to remember when closing in the evening.

Heaters used on the workshop floor to keep staff warm are comfort items to have but they are expensive to run. In addition, they do not work well when processes like welding require heavy ventilation. This means that the heat produced from them will be sucked out of the workshop before it has had a chance to warm anyone up.
Ramps such as a three-phase electric ramp are expensive pieces of kit and are a key cog in the workshop. These ramps use quite a bit of energy however, reducing their energy consumption is pretty simple. It is achieved by ensuring the ramp is correctly maintained and is regularly oiled and serviced. In addition, technicians on the workshop floor should ensure the right ramp is being used for the car that is being serviced.

Price increases?
To combat the rise in prices we are seeing businesses, no matter their size, increasing the prices of jobs that require a lot of energy such as re-spraying and heating ovens to ensure the job is not loss-making. The price increases that are being seen now are here to stay for the foreseeable future, and it is something that the customer will have to be made aware of.

Going green?
Another avenue businesses are going down to cut costs is the use of green parts. Green parts are made up of undamaged and reusable parts from end-of-life and written-off vehicles, which does bring costs down. But they can cause issues once installed. This is highlighted by the fact that the part might have an electric module in it that is programmed for a specific vehicle or chassis. This means that if it is installed on a new vehicle, there is the possibility it may stop the vehicle from starting and it can also be difficult to code, which adds time to the overall job.

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