Independent garages preferred by motorists

Motorists prefer Independent Garages

60% of motorists say they would still go to an independent garage if they were as expensive as the dealers while almost HALF say online reviews determine their choice of garage.

For 15 years, motorists have been able to decide where to have their cars serviced – before 2003, main dealers monopolised the servicing industry meaning drivers that wanted to go elsewhere risked having their warranties nullified.

Since then there has been a healthy competition between the two types of service providers, but it seems there’s been a massive shift – in favour of the independents.

A new survey by online car servicing provider, Servicing Stop, has revealed that it’s not just price that sways drivers towards independent garages.

61% of drivers said they would still go to an independent garage if they were as expensive as main dealer garages while more than half said they would be happy to spend more for a service at their local independent garage when Britain leaves the EU as a way of supporting the local economy.

It seems just a third of motorists chose independents to save money as just 39% said they would not visit their small, local garages if they charged as much as the main dealers.

While drivers are remaining loyal to the independents – it’s clear a lot of research goes into making the decision of where to have their cars serviced in the first place.

When asked what determines their choice of garage – 43% said online reviews carried the most weight in selecting a suitable provider. A further quarter said it was staff at the garage which made the decision while more than a third more said they would judge a garage based on the appearance of its forecourt and reception.

Other answers given were whether or not the garage offered collection and delivery, the level of mechanical knowledge when tested, the location and prices.

While the majority of drivers said online reviews were the number one thing that decided which garage to choose – more than half said word of mouth was more important than online reviews meaning the most important factor is recommendations from friends and family.

CEO and founder of Servicing Stop, Oly Richmond, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many drivers remaining loyal to independent garages but it’s a massive shock to see that it’s not primarily as a result of their low pricing. While independent garages are known to be more reasonable, it’s not what’s keeping millions of drivers booking in.

“It’s also interesting to find out what carries the most importance in terms of marketing a garage. While it seems online reviews are of huge importance, they still aren’t taken quite as seriously as word of mouth which is making and breaking garage reputations every day. To take the advice of motorists would be wise – have a great online presence, friendly and knowledgeable staff and a clean and tidy garage!”

Would you still go to an independent garage if they had the same prices as the main dealers?        

Result

Yes, I go to independent garages for reasons other than price so would still choose them.

61%

No, I go to independent garages to save money.

39%

What are the things you look at before deciding on a garage to have your vehicle serviced at?

Result

Online reviews

43%

Staff at the garage

26%

Appearance of the garage forecourt

14%

Inside of the garage

11%

Other:

  • Collection and delivery
  • Level of mechanical advice
  • Location
  • Recommendations from friends/ word of mouth
  • Cleanliness of garage
  • Price

What carries more importance in terms of judging a garage?

Result

Word of mouth

54%

Online reviews

36%

Social media

10%

Would you be happy to pay more for a service at your local independent garage when Britain leaves the EU?

Result

Yes – it’s important to support the local economy.

53%

No – despite Brexit, I will go with the cheapest option.

47%

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