The maximum cost of an hour’s work for a garage mechanic now stands at more than £230, according to a nationwide study by automotive service and repair start-up, motoreasy.
Overall, the UK average labour rate – combining main dealers, independent workshops and fast-fit outlets – is £67 an hour.
Analysis of 6,000 garages from across the UK found that, on average, 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, Scottish county Selkirkshire 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.
motoreasy was launched last year to be 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 is able to pass on trade saving to customers.
The list of the top 10 most expensive regions of the UK is dominated by areas in the south with London the second-most expensive place for labour rates behind Surrey. Meanwhile, the list of the 10 cheapest regions features mostly Scottish and Welsh counties, indicating a clear north/south divide.
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 over 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.
Duncan McClure Fisher, motoreasy founder, said: “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.
“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.”