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UK’s most expensive garages revealed

Garage servicingNew research has exposed a huge gulf in the rates charged by mechanics throughout the UK, ranging from £36 to £234 per hour.

Overall, the average rate – combining main dealers, independent workshops and fast-fit outlets – is £67 an hour.

According to a nationwide study of 6,000 garages by automotive service and repair start-up, motoreasy, Surrey is the most expensive place to have work done to your car, with an average hourly rate of just over £81.

At the other end of the scale, Selkirkshire in Scotland has the cheapest average at £49.69.

The highest individual hourly labour rate of £234 an hour was found at a prestige sportscar manufacturer’s dealership in Reading. The cheapest, offered by an independent workshop in Manchester, was just £36.

Top 10 most expensive labour rates by region

Region Average hourly labour rate
Surrey £81.07
London £77.42
Worcestershire £77.16
Berkshire £76.77
Buckinghamshire £76.65
Middlesex £75.86
Hertfordshire £75.40
Kent £74.81
East Sussex £72.72
Bedfordshire £72.35


Top  10 cheapest labour rates by region

Region Average hourly labour rate
Selkirkshire £49.69
Shetland £53.25
Inverness £55.81
Caithness £56.10
Outer Hebrides £56.10
Gwent £56.19
North Humberside £56.27
County Durham £56.99
Renfrewshire £57.00
Powys £58.20

Franchised workshops are generally more expensive, with an average UK labour rate of £99 compared with an independent garage average of £56, a difference of more than 40%.

Despite the ever-increasing cost of service, maintenance and repair work in garages, motoreasy found that more than three quarters of motorists (77%) admit they have no idea how much they pay for an hour of labour.

More than three in five (62%) say they don’t shop around to get the best price before agreeing to work and, alarmingly, nearly a third (31%) don’t even check the final bill before paying.

Female motorists are worse than men for not checking what labour rate they are paying, with more than four in five women admitting they don’t know the hourly cost at their regular garage.

“Today’s drivers don’t have the time or, in many cases, the knowledge to make absolutely sure they are getting the best price from garages,” said motoreasy founder Duncan McClure Fisher.

“It’s not made any easier by the fact that the cost of labour differs so vastly across the UK. Even so, anyone spending money should at least understand how much they are paying and for what.”

motoreasy was launched in 2016 as a concierge-style service for motorists. Every customer gets their own personal, professional mechanic who will negotiate all costs, including labour, to ensure that motorists are not paying over the odds, or for unnecessary work. By operating a national network of approved garages, motoreasy claims it is able to pass on trade saving to customers.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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