Starting a Car Maintenance and Repair Business

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: April 2015
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • What qualifications and skills are required?
  • What are the key market issues and trends?
  • Trading and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Car maintenance and repair services carry out routine maintenance work and repairs on private cars, commercial vehicles, small vans and other light commercial vehicles. Trade customers include taxi and private hire firms, car rental services, driving schools and other fleet operators.

Typical services include fault diagnosis, dent and scratch correction, electrical fault repair, parts replacement, minor accident repair, MOT testing, general servicing and winter vehicle checks. Some repair services specialise in certain types or makes of vehicle or a specific service, such as SMART (small to medium area repair technology) repair or tyre replacement.

The UK retail car service, maintenance and repair (SMR) market is dominated by franchised dealers, which benefit from manufacturers' business support, and national chains such as Halfords Autocentres and Kwikfit, which have more than 300 and 600 outlets in the UK respectively. In 2013, the UK SMR market was estimated by the Castrol Professional Car Servicing and Repair Trend Tracker as being worth around £10 billion. However, despite increasing in value since 2008, it had not recovered to its 2003 value (£10.3 billion) and is predicted to decline from 2016. The volume of retail service and repair work is expected to fall by 11% between 2013 and 2019.

This profile provides information about starting up and running an independent car maintenance and repair service. It does not cover repairs to badly damaged vehicles, which is covered separately in BOP 280, Car Body Shop, or motorcycle maintenance and repair, which is covered in BOP 102, Motorcycle Maintenance and Repair. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and some of the key trading issues. It also explains the main legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information.

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