IGA News

Member Feature – Hardy’s Recovery Ltd

Member Feature – Hardy’s Recovery Ltd

02 March 2020

IGA Member Hardy’s Recovery Ltd serves Gwynedd, North Wales under the directorship of Simon and Jason Hardy, who, after a range of poor experiences with work providers, believes the trade would be better without the addition of skimmers as “middlemen” in the automotive aftermarket.

The IGA spoke to Simon about his ongoing experiences with work providers to see why he believes they are unnecessary for the industry.

Simon said: “After my experiences with work providers, I frankly think they are sharks. They say from the beginning they cannot promise work but still make you pay – so why bother putting money into a business that can’t even guarantee you a return on investment?

I don’t understand how the trade has allowed this to happen. I’m currently involved in court proceedings to try and recover over £4,500 from Servicing Stop and have a judgment against them, but we have to accept that we might not get the money back. It’s shocking – and how many other garages are experiencing this kind of problem?”

Hardy’s has also had other experiences with work providers. In some cases, a work provider has requested certain vehicle specifications and then suggested outsourcing the work from the garage to a fast-fit once the garage had sent them the information.

Simon said of these types of incident: “ Some lease companies request every tyre specification on every vehicle we look at on their behalf; tread wear, depth, tyre pressure, tyre size, the tyre’s speed rating and its E-number – and then after we’ve given them the information if a tyre needs replacing they say they’ll call a fast-fit in to replace the tyre. It’s time my business is spending to lose money.”

For Hardy’s, there have also been instances where customers have booked in work for their vehicle through an online platform, then not kept their appointment. The work provider has still taken fees from the business, but they have lost out on work, time and income.

Of these issues, Simon said: “We’ve had customers book in through – for example – Who Can Fix My Car and then not show up, but we’re still charged. When we contacted the provider, they said we should have confirmed the booking with the customer twice, emailed them a reminder and then called them when they did not arrive for their appointment.

It’s time our business cannot afford to spend chasing no-shows, when we could be working on the vehicles of paying customers – and then I suffer with being charged a large percentage on top by a work provider.”

Simon also called out the disparity in pricing offers from work providers, and how it can differ from the pricing in our own premises. He said: “As a rule, we don’t discount MOTs because they have a DVSA-set price for a reason – but if a customer comes in with the information from a provider’s website that we are forced to offer them for £10 or £15 less, we have to do the same work for less money.

Pricewise, it’s a race to the bottom for customers looking to save the most money instead of considering the quality of work on their vehicle, and all we want to do is provide quality work as a principle. It’s simply unfair to the customers who come to us directly as well.”

Simon also believes that garages can do more to promote themselves to consumers, and in turn remove work providers as a middleman between garage businesses and their customers.

He said: “The public are in a position where they feel things only exist on the internet, so they go online to look for pricing information and suggestions, and these work providers advertise themselves there.”

“If garages took the time and effort to ensure they were creating and maintaining their presence online, or even tried to market more directly to customers through schemes like Trust My Garage where customers can request quotes for work directly from a garage, they could cut out these so-called work providers and get the business they should be getting anyway.”

The IGA has previously looked at the business models and available information of many work providers in two Garage Work Provider Reports, released in 2018 and 2019. Both reports found that although some garages may feel they benefit from using work providers, many are left dissatisfied with the service and support they receive, particularly when those services come at a cost to their business.

To sum up his feelings on work providers, Simon said: “We’ll never change the fact that people go on the internet and press buttons and think it’s the best deal, but maybe, if we think about it as an industry, we can change the impact that “work providers” have had.”

If you have a view or experience regarding work providers, positive or negative, and would like to share this with fellow members, please contact the IGA helpline team.

For more information about work providers, members can download a PDF copy of our 2019 Garage Work Provider Report here. You can also call the IGA direct helpline, or 0845 305 4230, or alternatively email enquiries@rmif.co.uk, to request delivery of a physical copy of the report to your garage.