Scotlands Ash Garage is an award-winning garage based in Didcot, Oxfordshire. The company prides itself on providing a range of services to motorists throughout the area, operating with a team of five and three ramps, alongside a separate MOT bay.
Peter Welch, proprietor, talks openly about the future for independent garages: “The future is incredibly scary for small businesses like independent garages. With an array of threats and challenges, we have to continually look at ourselves and ensure we are the best we can be.”
Pressing Peter on these “threats and challenges” reveals bigger concerns about short term changes affecting the business.
“GDPR and MOT changes provide us with imminent challenges to our business. GDPR affects all business and so for many garages, like ourselves, it’s a question of where do we start?”
Throw into the mix MOT changes and every automotive garage in the UK faces a summer of transition.
Peter sees investment as the answer, something which the garage has done for the past 30 years and is the biggest driver of business.
“I first visited Automechanika Birmingham in 2017 and thought wow, how am I going to get around this event with the time I have. But I did just that. I took my time and spoke to so many different businesses from automotive components to equipment – and I learnt a lot.
“We don’t want to be a garage that says “no” to a customer so we make sure we are at Automechanika Birmingham to find out what’s new and how it can help drive my business forward. At last year’s event, I purchased new air-conditioning service equipment that I didn’t particularly need at the time, but I do now, and it’s been a great investment. This puts us ahead of the competition.”
Going back to GDPR and MOT changes, Peter has stayed true to his investment. He has employed the services of the consultant for GDPR and all MOT testers within the business have attended training courses on the new MOT test changes.
“At this year’s event,” he says, “I’m really looking forward to talking to other garages to see how they are embracing the changes affecting the trade. It can be a lonely life as an independent garage but Automechanika Birmingham represents a key opportunity to bring us together under one roof and develop our business skills.”