Tuesday 30 August 2011

Relief for motorists as Hammond proposes new “lane rental” scheme.

Last week, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond revealed proposals currently under discussion that could appease motorists travelling primarily at peak times.
Roadworks have long been a bane of road users, delayed by utility companies digging up roads at times inconvenient to the majority of commuters, creating delays many would feel are avoidable with better planning.
Mr Hammond has announced that those companies wishing to dig up roads during peak hours could in future be required to pay a charge. If their maintenance was conducted outside these times, when disruption would be significantly reduced, these fees could be averted. Thus, it provides an incentive to carry out maintenance activities in off-peak hours.
 He said: "Everyone knows how frustrating it can be when you are sat in a traffic jam, unable to get to work or drop off the children at school because someone is digging up the road.

 "This disruption is expensive as well as inconvenient, with one estimate valuing the loss to the economy from roadworks congestion at £4 billion a year. We simply cannot afford this."

If these measures were introduced, on gaining Department of Transport approval for their plan, a local authority could impose fees on these companies for the use of specific roads during peak hours.
It is intended that funds raised would be converted into local schemes to reduce future disruptions of similar works in their authorities via methods such as improved infrastructure. 

Thursday 25 August 2011

Good Garage Scheme highlights misfuelling mishaps

Over half of Britain’s drivers risk potentially very expensive repair bills through misfuelling, according to the UK-wide Good Garage Scheme.
A Good Garage Scheme poll of nearly 2,000 motorists revealed fifty one per cent had put the wrong fuel in the car themselves at the pumps or knew someone who had.
Experts at the organisation said the results were not entirely unexpected as many families have more than one car and quite possibly both petrol and diesel engine vehicles. This makes the simple mistake of filling up their cars with the wrong fuel more understandable.
Tanks filled with the wrong fuel can be flushed, but if the engine is turned on the effects can be expensive with the cost of damage to the vehicle potentially running into thousands of pounds.
In response, the Good Garage Scheme has launched a 3-in-1 insurance policy for under £2.50 a month, covering motorists for misfuelling mishaps plus MOT and alloy wheel insurance cover. This can offer motorists greater peace of mind.

Anndi Sheppard, Good Garage Scheme marketing manager, said: “Misfuelling is easily done, especially when families have more than one vehicle which they share between drivers. Our research has revealed the extent of the problem and it’s an issue which we are encouraging our member garages to bring to the attention of their customers.”
Motorists looking for their nearest Good Garage Scheme member can quickly locate one by using the Good Garage Scheme website or downloading the iPhone app and view previous customers’ comments. 

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Good Garages are Noticed

The garage trade is hugely competitive and in order to stand out from the crowd it is important that the premises garage owners operate from are visually appealing to encourage customers to enter.  
One way of achieving this is by being a member of a nationally recognised scheme that consumers know and trust, and having the recognised signage that sets a Good Garage Scheme member apart from local competitors.

Good Garage Scheme members up and down the country adhere to the highest standards and Code of Conduct which consumers recognise. The brand is backed by regular national television advertising which makes the Good Garage Scheme even more instantly recognisable.

So, how do customers know which garages are in the Good Garage Scheme?  This is where strong signage comes into play, and as part of their package of benefits, members can access subsidised signage for their garage, saving up to 50% on costs.
In order for a Good Garage Scheme member to obtain one of these distinctive signs for their premises all they have to do is speak to their local representative who will arrange for photos of the garage to be taken and processed.  Once the garage owner has approved the signage, installation is arranged, and the garage becomes instantly recognisable. 

The feedback from member garages shows that good signage really does make a difference, and along with the marketing support they receive, garages do see an increase in business.  After all, if you wanted to go to a garage you can trust where would you go? 

If you are a Good Garage Scheme member, then contact us today to arrange your garage signage.

If you are a motorist looking for a trusted garage, then look no further than your local Good Garage Scheme member.  Why not download our iPhone app to see which garages in your area are a member of the Good Garage Scheme, or log on to our website and search by postcode at www.goodgaragescheme.com.

Thursday 18 August 2011

The good work of BEN for the automotive and related industries.

What does BEN do?

The BEN (Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund) charity was established in 1905 to support those who work or have worked in the automotive and related industries plus their dependants.
Its work encompasses a variety of practical methods such as support, advice and care centres to better the lives of those in their care, which number over fifteen thousand. The charity has opened four residential care centres in the UK (in Merseyside, Northumberland, Berkshire and Warwickshire), providing homes to over 300 people, plus a day centre in Coventry.
Each year, the charity participates in many events including challenges such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, the highest free standing mountain in the world, or treks such as along the Great Wall of China, sporting activities like the Great North Run, football, golf, cycling or karting events plus industry and corporate events like Goodwood Revival.

Last month saw the charity run National BEN Week from 18th – 24th July with the slogan “Hit the beach with BEN”.
Individuals employed to do charity work for BEN include nurses, carers, gardeners, physiotherapists, domestic assistants and many more. 
To contact BEN, please click here. To visit the BEN shop, where you can obtain a variety of items for your own use, while also raising awareness as well as contributing to the charity, please see here.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Prestige marques top Good Garage Scheme specialisms

Independent garages and workshops are increasingly specialising in some of the world’s most prestigious vehicle marques.

A poll by the UK-wide Good Garage Scheme revealed that over a recent three month period, a total of 39 different marques were searched by over 2700 motorists looking for a specialist independent garage.
Motorists visiting www.goodgaragescheme.com can find their nearest Good Garage Scheme member and refine their search to identify those who have expertise in specific makes of vehicle.
 Ford, Volkswagen, and BMW were the most popular marques searched, comprising over 35% of postcodes searches.
Anndi Sheppard, marketing manager at the Good Garage Scheme, said: “More and more of our members are specialising in specific marques to offer consumers an alternative to taking their vehicles to main dealerships without compromising the standard of work being carried out.”
Consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a specialist Good Garage Scheme member in the UK. The Good Garage Scheme can now reveal the most popular marques its members specialise in:

1.    Volkswagen
2.    Audi
3.    BMW
4.    Mercedes
5.    Rover
6.    Vauxhall
7.    Ford 
8.    Peugeot
9.    Land Rover 
=     Renault
 Visit www.goodgaragescheme.com and check your postcode and your make of vehicle to find a garage you can trust.

Thursday 11 August 2011

The Good Garage Scheme continues their look at rules for driving abroad.

A large number of British families, during their summer holiday, will drive while abroad, hoping to find unspoilt beaches or plan excursions “off the beaten track” with their families without the need for a coach full of other tourists and a guide.
Many choose car hire once reaching their destination. One of its main advantages is not having to make mandatory additions to your own vehicle (such as safety measures, additional vehicle documentation/stickers) to comply with other countries’ regulations.

It is important to check the local rules as there are many laws which differ in each country. These include:

•    Speed limits
•    Which side of the road is used
•    Age restrictions on who can hire a car
•    Driver to have had a license for at least a year
•    Zero-tolerance regarding drink-driving
•    International Drivers Permit (IDP) required

Some car hire procedures can also differ from those in the UK. It’s advisable to use a reputable company for your car hire as sometimes it’s worth paying that bit more and getting a better overall deal for your money.
Also, be aware of any extra charges added on that are very common. These can include the following:

•    fuel for the vehicle
•    out of hours services
•    one-way rentals (e.g. travelling to or from an airport by hire car)

Some countries require possession of an International Drivers Permit (IDP) in addition to your own UK driving license. These are only valid for one year and need to be obtained at least three months prior to travel.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

With school holidays in full swing, the Good Garage Scheme looks at rules for driving your own car abroad.

A large number of British families will drive while abroad during their summer holiday, hoping to explore some unspoilt beaches or plan excursions with their families without the need for a coach full of other tourists and a guide.

Some choose to drive their own car by taking a ferry. Others will hire a car once reaching their destination. This raises issues that many motorists won’t consider until it’s too late.

A few simple checks on your vehicle can make all the difference.

Top Five Essential Vehicle Checks

•    Oil & Fluids – check, top up and change oil and coolant if needed to ensure smooth running and prevent overheating. Power steering fluid and brake fluid are other particular areas to get checked.
•    Tyres –Ensure correct pressure to cope with increased weight of luggage and passengers.
•    Rubber components –check and see if items like wiper blades need replacing.
•    Brakes – listen for excessive noises and have the discs and pads checked for wear.
•    Air Conditioning – check for bad smells in the air conditioning ducts which can cause flu-like symptoms.

There are aspects of driving overseas that need to be prepared for:

•    Roads – the most basic difference in most countries is their motorists drive on the opposite side of the roads to the UK.

•    Communication – it’s wise to ensure you have a good phrase book with you to ask directions or find a local garage in case of getting lost or your car breaking down

•    Speed Limits – each country differs. Most display limits in kilometres per hour. Therefore signs showing “80” as the maximum speed will mean “50” in terms of miles per hour (80 kmh = 50 mph).

•    Mobile phones – if used for directions and/or route planning please be aware of the costs of using abroad which can be significantly higher.
Further advice can be found at the websites of the RAC and the Foreign & Commonwealth office.

Thursday 4 August 2011

Are we nearly there yet? How do you keep kids entertained on long road journeys? The Good Garage Scheme provides some tips.

August normally sees thousands of families take to Britain’s roads to journey to the seaside with their children for their summer holiday. For some, this can take families several hours which any parent knows can provide challenges when it comes to keeping their kids entertained.

Ideas exercised by parents in years past include various in-car games like I Spy or various alphabet-based games, magazines, puzzle or colouring books or children’s card games like Snap or Old Maid.

With the developments in technology, the options have become ever more sophisticated. Nowadays many choices of gadget exist to ease the boredom. Portable DVD players, iPods and console computer games can be really useful at breaking the monotony of road travel for younger passengers.

Even with all these options, journey times can still be tedious for children. So what else can you do?

One option is to stop off at a recreational area like a park to allow them to run around for a while to help them release some pent-up energy. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure the kids are comfortable by making sure they have enough room and are not cramped by luggage.

What ideas have worked for you and your children?

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Good Garage Scheme raising standards through customer-focused training

There is an air of positivity throughout the Good Garage Scheme at the moment, as members are being constructively urged to develop their customer focus.
New training seminars specifically developed for Good Garage Scheme members are another addition to the list of proactive support and development that drives our members to business success and raises the standards throughout the industry as a whole.
Our ongoing ‘mystery shop’ initiative has opened the door to further areas of improvement to maintain the excellent standards our members adhere to.
In July we saw the launch of the first one–day Customer Focus seminar where members joined to experience training by an Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Accredited Training Organisation. The feedback from members was great, as they now have some direct training and support from a reliable and educated source.
Sid Patel of Cavalier Cars in Loughton, Essex said: “Very interesting course! We need more of these courses.”
Included in the training was telephone handling skills and delegates were presented with a certificate of completion for display in their reception areas.
The Good Garage Scheme is positively working with its members in a hands-on approach to monitor the direction of all the businesses and guide them to even more success.  By investing in customer-focused training for our members, we will provide them with tools to help them compete in today’s business environment with the specific aim of developing new leads and retaining more business.