Garage labour charges 'extortionate'Survey finds rates up to £170 an hour

08 August 2006

Garages are charging ‘extortionate’ labour rates reaching as high as £170 an hour in some areas, says a report out today.

The highest rates were found in London - but charges of £100 an hour were common in 80 per cent of the 3,000 garages across the British regions surveyed by warranty provider Warranty Direct.

Rates were higher at franchised dealers than at independent workshops, with London franchise dealers charging on average £116.53 an hour compared with just £32.12 at independent workshops in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Franchised and independent garages

The survey found the greatest disparity between franchised and independent workshops in the West Midlands, where the average was £66.35 an hour, but was as high as £117.45 at franchised garages and just £23.50 at an independent garage.

The five most expensive regions for franchised dealers were Hertfordshire, London, Middlesex, Surrey and Warwickshire. The five cheapest were Aberdeenshire and Angus in Scotland, Cornwall, Cumbria, and North Yorkshire.

The highest hourly rates for independent garages were in Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, and Middlesex. The least expensive were Angus, Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Somerset and Staffordshire.

Warranty Direct’s Duncan McClure Fisher said: ‘The latest findings show that garage rates are still extortionate, but motorists can help themselves by asking hour much they charge an hour. Unfortunately, once you get the bill, it’s too late to yell.’