Starting a Vehicle Recovery Service

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: September 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

Vehicle recovery services provide roadside assistance and recovery on behalf of motoring clubs, directly to private motorists, and under contract to trade and public sector customers. These include taxi and private hire firms, vehicle rental services, courier services, the police, highways agencies (responsible for major roads) and local authorities (responsible for minor roads). Recovery is carried out using specially adapted vehicles. 'Casualty' vehicles (i.e., the vehicles that are being recovered) are typically transported to the service's premises, a local car maintenance service, or the client's home or trading premises. Frequent roadside repairs include replacing tyres and/or wheels, filling chips and cracks in windscreens, draining engines that have been filled with the wrong type of fuel, and replacing wearable components such as exhausts, spark plugs and car batteries.

Recovery vehicles are exempt from certain vehicle and operator licensing requirements. Vehicles that have a maximum authorised mass (MAM) or gross plated weight that exceeds 3.5 tonnes are classified by law as large goods vehicles (LGVs). Recovery vehicles also benefit from favourable vehicle excise duty (VED) rates.

Some vehicle recovery service proprietors also provide repairs from fixed premises. This is covered separately in BOP 98, Car Maintenance and Repair, and BOP 102, Motorcycle Maintenance and Repair.

This profile provides information about starting up and running an independent vehicle recovery service. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends, and the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information.

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