The economic slowdown has proved to be beneficial for some independent workshops, as motorists, stung by higher franchised dealer charges – and media reports of higher prices – switch sides.
But if independent garages are to cater for drivers used to
franchised dealers, they might need to smarten up their act with some new equipment.
Vitally important is a lift or ramp, and, here, workshops have been spoilt for choice. However, this choice has not always been a good thing – some cheaper products have proved to have notoriously short service lives, while both spares support and technical back-up has been, in some cases, non-existent.
While many workshops have been tempted by a low price, it has usually turned out to be a costly mistake, with some ramps lasting little more than a year.
Buying good quality lifts might cost more up front than the temptingly-cheap rivals, but in the long run it’s the more expensive equipment that survives the rigours of the workshop, says Boston Garage Equipment.
Its user-friendly designs are used in almost 5,000 MoT-testing stations. Lifts come with a two-year warranty, supported by installation and maintenance programmes.Maximise revenue
Snap-on Equipment believes workshops should take advantage of a single lift bay for MoT-testing and wheel alignment. It has introduced three-lift packages – two scissor lifts and one four-post ramp – to meet that dual role.
Snap-on says these lifts, which have 12-month parts and labour guarantees, can also be supplied with options to create automated test lane and one person test lane configurations.
“Potential changes to the MoT regulations mean that workshops need to make the most of their lift bays and maximise revenue,” says general manager Chris Behan.
“Our new packages aim to provide customers with the right lift for the job, along with the quality, expertise and service they expect from Snap-on Equipment.
The scissor lifts can be used with surface or recess mounting and because of their long run-on ramps, are suitable for cars with reduced ground clearance.
Snap-on also offers a planning, design and installation service, as well as training and maintenance, and finance packages.
Two and four post lifts
Hampshire-based Ranger Products offers a range of two- and four-post lifts, and has a design and installation service.
“Cheap products are still out there.
We’re seeing with Chinese products that once they’ve introduced a new lift, they don’t offer spares for the model just superseded,” says Ranger general manager Tony Strudwick.
“There will always be a cheaper end of the market, but we’re making inroads because we have a good supply and good pricing, and we’re getting recognised.”
While Ranger offers a design and planning service, not all workshops use it – sometimes with expensive consequences.
“We can be asked to install a two-post lift in a workshop, but when we get there it won’t fit,” Strudwick says.
Once installed, a new lift need not be costly, he adds. “A lift can cost as little as £2 a day, so adding 50p on to four services in a day will pay for it.”
The Euro Car Parts’ Euro Garage Solutions range offers a selection of lifts and ramps from Bradbury,
Nussbaum, Ravaglioli and Werther, and in a variety of capacities, ranging from one tonne up to five tonnes.
“EGS will fund the lease of new equipment through a rebate scheme and provide a full technical package from delivery to service intervals, including calibration, technical support from its team of experts, and training,” a spokesman says.
- Read this story in full in the 3 October 2008 issue of AM. To subscribe to AM magazine click here or call 01733 468659.