Are you getting value for money from your garage?

Press Release : February 11, 2010
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Recognising that we all judge value for money based on our needs, expectations and satisfaction levels, FOXY Choice publishes a Good Garage Guide to help women with their MOT and car servicing shopping by identifying measurable quality standards as well as good female friendly car dealerships and independent garages in their area.

FOXY Founder Steph Savill knows that many female motorists choose where to have their car serviced on the basis of convenience factors like the location of the garage and whether it offers a car collection service. Increasingly women drivers are sharing female feedback online which is how Steph knows that the following motoring myths continue for many.

Some women are happy to pay more and have their car serviced by the dealership they bought it from because they think they need to have it serviced there to maintain a warranty, that they will get superior customer service, or that a dealership stamp in the car’s handbook will guarantee a higher resale value. Alternatively females who are more cost conscious tend to shop around for the lowest price for MOTs, tyres and car servicing deals, thinking that all garages are much the same as each other.

These views are misinformed explains Steph…

Whilst dealership rates are undoubtedly dropping and offering much better value, it is true that many motorists can have their nearly new car serviced at a good independent garage for less money and within the terms of their warranty. However it isn’t true that a dealership stamp will guarantee a better price when it’s time to sell what matters most is that the car has been serviced regularly and to the manufacturer’s standards. More worrying, shopping for the lowest price and using a garage you don’t know anything about can be a decidedly risky decision in an industry where garages aren’t licensed and where mechanics don’t have to be qualified. Very often the lowest price can quickly escalate because the garage mightn’t have the latest equipment to diagnose the fault correctly and you end up paying more for the mechanic’s labour to see if he can find the fault instead.

To illustrate the differences in perceived ‘value for money’ a good example is the price that a BMW driver would pay in a dealership versus a good independent garage, for a simple job like an oil change or a typical car safety check.

In its recent advertising campaign the manufacturer states ‘Think we’re expensive? Think again.’ listing the following BMW Value Service prices for participating franchised dealerships to change the engine oil, front brake pads and carry out safety checks for BMW 3 series (E46) 4 cylinder models.
£115Oil Service (includes microfilter)
£99Front brake pads (includes sensor replacement)
£189Inspection 1 (includes oil service and safety checks)

Clearly these prices have been reduced so they represent better value for money than they did but £115 still sounds a lot to pay for a simple oil change, no matter the use of the word ‘service’. Indeed it is not at all unusual for mile-eating business drivers to need two or three oil changes a year which makes the cost of oil a significant factor when budgeting for car servicing costs.

And if BMW’s Inspection 1 costs £189 for an oil change and safety checks then their safety checks must cost £74…

But are these prices fair enough for an up-market dealership experience, with all that entails for the executive BMW driver?

The alternative solution to a franchised dealership is a measurably good independent garage who uses genuine BMW parts, BMW specified lubricants, accredited technicians and who carries out work in accordance with BMW’s specifications.

Starting with a Bosch Car Service garage in Scotland who is a FOXY partner and who operates to a fully approved OFT Code of Practice, Falkland Performance Centre in Glenrothes would charge the following prices:

£80.15Oil Servicesaving £34.85
£147.70 Inspection 1saving £41.30

But when it comes to the front brake pads, Falkland’s business owner Allan Adam calculates £111.35 which is £12.35 more than a BMW dealership because they always strip and clean the brake calipers prior to fitting brake pads which BMW does not specify.

Another leading and female friendly independent garage in Berkshire (where labour rates are higher than in Scotland) ISO 9001 approved Woodley Auto Centre near Reading would also save local BMW motorists money for the equivalent oil change and safety checks as follows…
£86.26Oil Servicesaving £28.74
£93.08Front Brake Padssaving £5.92
£139.43Inspection 1saving £49.57

In a nutshell it is possible to save money by shopping around and if these savings can be made for low cost garage services then there is much more to be saved by shopping around for the likes of full and major car services, comparing car collection and courtesy cars, other services & amenities and whether the business is near shops, a leisure centre or other entertainment to occupy the driver who chooses to wait.

But the most important factor on all occasions is surely to identify the best value for money, seen through the eye of the beholder, taking into account minimum quality standards, the latest diagnostic equipment, service levels and amenities to suit. This matters because, at best, motorists might be overcharged, patronised or sold services they do not need. At worst, the job might not have been done properly and they could be risking their personal safety and that of other motorists.

To find out more, motorists can read FOXY Choice’s Good Garage Guide and search for measurably good and female friendly UK garages and dealerships.

About FOXY Choice www.foxychoice.com
A sister business to FOXY Lady Drivers Club, FOXY Choice helps women drivers with their garage shopping for MOTs, car servicing and repairs by providing a Good Garage Guide and identifying the UK’s best quality standards and female friendly garages, fastfits, dealers and car dealerships.

About FOXY Lady Drivers Club www.foxyladydrivers.com
Award winning FOXY Lady Drivers Club is a life assistance membership service that helps women run safer cars, save money, enjoy female friendly services and cope when motoring gets stressful. FOXY Classic membership costs £20 per annum plus a one off £3 joining fee which is donated to the Cancer Buddies Network charity. Club services include a unique network of FOXY approved female friendly good garages; FREE quarterly car safety checks; exclusive moneysaving offers including discounted MOTs, car servicing and garage repairs; practical motoring advice; FREE legal advice about road traffic law and a FREE ‘no fault’ accident assistance service including up to £50,000 of legal fees.

About Steph Savill www.linkedin.com/in/stephsavill
FOXY Founder Steph Savill is a Chartered Marketer, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM) and a member of the Institute of the Motor Industry (MIMI). Steph has recently been appointed as a Women’s Enterprise Ambassador by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and recruited to act as a role model for women and to promote the benefits of entrepreneurship. She is passionate about encouraging the motor industry to recruit more women to transform male dominated dealerships and garages into the female friendly places that women motorists will enjoy visiting (and will be more profitable as a result…).

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