Mood of optimism amongst garage owners
A survey by The Parts Alliance has revealed that garage owners are feeling confident about the future with many planning to invest in equipment and training, and some looking to take on extra staff. Some 67 per cent of those who responded said they expected the first half of 2014 to see an upturn in trade and, looking further ahead, some 73 per cent felt ‘very confident’ about the year as a whole. The survey was conducted among garages belonging to the Servicesure Autocentre garage programme run by The Parts Alliance.
“The results of our survey show increasing confidence among garage owners and that is reflected in proposed investment into their businesses,” said Mike Smallbone, The Parts Alliance’s national garage programme manager. “Sixty-nine per cent of garages said ‘yes, I will be investing in new equipment’ during 2014 and 76 per cent said ‘yes, I will be investing in technical/product training’.
“While it is encouraging that they feel able to spend it’s also a reflection that garage owners recognise they have to keep abreast of technical advancements, as innovation in vehicle technologies and diagnostics gets more and more sophisticated.”
One in four garages said they see staffing levels going up in the next 12 months, with 73 per cent planning to keep their workforce as it is and just two per cent feeling they may see a decrease.
“It’s good to see some owners considering taking on additional people, for although there is talk of the recovery being under way we’re not far enough down that road yet to be certain how sustainable it is,” added Mr. Smallbone. “In general the investments garages are proposing are to ensure existing technicians and other staff have the most up-to-date knowledge, skills and tools to the job in what is a rapidly technologically advancing industry.”
Interestingly, some 67 per cent of those who replied to the survey said they would not be liaising with their bank for financial capital, although only 16 per cent indicated they would be looking for funding elsewhere.