Do garages need licensing?

  03 March 2014

 

I could just have easily titled this blog ‘Light blue touch-paper and stand well back’, because I suspect what I’m about to say won’t go down well in all quarters. But here goes.

 It was pointed out to me recently that while you need a qualified electrician to carry out the simplest of tasks around your home, such as changing a plug or a light fitting on a 240-volt system, anyone could legally service an electric car. Or, for that matter, any vehicle, be it petrol, diesel or fuel cell.

 The vast majority of owners take their 400-volt car to a franchised retailer, who employ only fully trained and qualified technicians. And given there aren’t that many EVs on the road, and those that are out there aren’t that old, the risks are minimal.

 However, as we all know, as cars get older they are less and less likely to be taken to a franchised garage. Which brings us neatly to the headline.

 Do garages need licensing? And more precisely, would it be a good thing for the industry?

 On one hand the licensing would have to be a level playing field and would therefore have to be available to independent garages as well as franchised. On the other hand, such a move should increase service retention. The question is, would the increase in business be worth the additional administration and running costs of conforming to a licence?

 So. Now that I’ve lit the blue touch-paper, let me know what you think.

 Tristan Young

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