Monday, 07 December 2015 15:27

In America many independent mechanics plan to leave the industry in 5 years In America many independent mechanics plan to leave the industry in 5 years

USA - Drivers who prefer to take their vehicle in for servicing at a "mom and pop" garage may find it more difficult to do so in the next several years. A survey by Hiscox, a company providing insurance to small businesses, determined that more than half of these mechanics are considering whether to close or sell their garage by 2020.

Jack Walsworth, summarizing the findings for Automotive News, said 56 percent of small- and medium-sized garage owners believe they may get out of the business in the next five years. This share was 18 percent higher than similarly sized businesses in other fields included in the study, such as catering, construction, financial services, and professional services.

One-third of the respondents in the automotive services and repair industry considered that their financial situation has worsened in the past year. The same share also identified financing as an issue, saying they believe it is more difficult for their business to receive a bank loan in 2015 than it was in 2014.

Twenty-two percent of independent garage owners said they have taken out another mortgage on their home to help support their business. In other fields, the highest share indicating that they had taken this step was 10 percent.

Independent garage owners were also likely to say they have not received much time off. Thirty-two percent said they have taken nine or fewer vacation days in the previous year, the lowest number of days off among all fields surveyed.

Walsworth says the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has recorded a decline in the number of independent garages in the past decade. The number of these shops fell from 165,315 in 2005 to 159,547 in 2014. In the same period, the number of people employed in the automotive repair industry in the United States dropped from 885,281 to 863,888.

Richard Read, writing for the automotive site The Car Connection, says extended warranties and competitive prices offered by dealerships often appeal to vehicle owners more than independent garages. Auto service chain stores have also been able to compete for drivers' dollars.

Walsworth says that while the National Automobile Dealers Association changed its methodology for its report on 2014 data, it still recorded a large increase in business. In 2014, the average dealership's revenue from vehicle servicing and parts sales was 48 percent higher than in 2005. The average dealership's repair orders went up 39 percent in the same period, while the typical number of technicians increased from 12 to 17.

HIS Automotive, which provides analysis of trends in the automotive industry, reported in July that the average age of a vehicle in the United States reached a high point of 11.5 years at the start of 2015. Walsworth says these older vehicles often require more frequent maintenance, keeping the demand for servicing high.

In addition to the competition from other businesses potentially affecting independent garages, Read suggests that these businesses may find it more difficult to service newer vehicles. Read says repairs for these vehicles often require expensive diagnostic equipment to assess and fix a problem.

Source:, 5 December 2015

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