Biggest Challenges Faced By Workshops In 2021 Revealed
A nationwide survey of garages and workshops by the Motor Ombudsman has named staff shortages as the most significant challenge faced by the industry over the past year.
67% of respondents felt that the biggest obstacle of 2021 was simply finding enough mechanics and MOT testers to keep up with customer demand. This was due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected 50% of the garages surveyed. Employees self-isolating compounded the staffing shortfall, and MOT testing demand rose sharply following the six-month exemption put in place the previous year, making it even harder to keep pace.
40% of respondents said that they had insufficient resource to send team members on training courses, while 38% commented that they only had a limited number of staff qualified to maintain electric vehicles – this in a year where EV sales reached new highs.
Staffing issues weren’t the only thing on garage owners’ minds, though; a lack of spare parts was cited as an issue by 60% of respondents, which delayed repairs and left some cars out of action for much longer than expected. 42% of businesses polled said that they’d experienced rising overheads and reduced profitability during 2021, too.
Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Our latest research has provided a unique insight into the main headwinds that are being faced by some of our accredited service and repair businesses across the country.
“The results of the study clearly show that staffing levels and a limited pool of qualified technicians to recruit from have taken centre stage, with there being little sign that this will change in the near future according to the garages and workshops polled.
“As we look ahead, 2022 will see businesses having to continue to contend with challenges brought about by COVID-19 and the trading environment witnessed in 2021, whilst the increasing parc of electric vehicles on UK roads will also demand both expenditure and expertise to be able to accommodate them for servicing and repair work.”
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