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Shirley Garage, presented with prizes as part of celebration for 600th Garage on the AutoCare network

by Saima Omar | 25 Sep 2017

Parent Company, GROUPAUTO are thrilled to announce that their garage network, ‘AutoCare’ has reached 600 garages on their network – making them the largest independent garage programme in the UK.

Out of the 600 garages 103 have joined the network in 2017 alone. The 600th Garage to sign up to the AutoCare network was Shirley Garage in Surrey, who joined on the 21st August 2017. Shirley Garage is aligned to GROUPAUTO distributor Discount Car Spares in Leatherhead.

To celebrate, the AutoCare team went to visit the garage on Wednesday 14th September.
The garage was presented by Garage Network Manager, Maria McCullough and their Business Development Manager, Stacey Eade, with some Love2shop vouchers and branded workwear for the technicians at Shirley Garage. Matt Rivett, Managing Director of Shirley garage was pleased with the celebration as it was unexpected. He said: “I’m was very impressed with the AutoCare programme presentation by Business Development Manager, Stacey Eade.

"I particularly liked the training and technical support that the AutoCare network offers the garages. I am really looking forward to being a part of the AutoCare programme for the long-term, and being the 600th garage on the network is a bonus.”
Matt said he has been at the garage now for just over three years so the training element is very important to him and his staff. The business was previously owned by his father in law and he has now taken over the reins. They have been a customer of DCS Motor Factor for a while now and always receive a good efficient service from them.

As part of the celebration we spoke to a couple of AutoCare Garages who kindly provided us with general feedback as to some of their reasons why they signed up to AutoCare.
From the communication we had with the garages, the training is a huge selling point for AutoCare, especially since the addition of the MOT training to the network. The garages like the fact that AutoCare have an annual set subscription fee with no hidden extras.

They also enjoy the AutoCare regional meetings where they get their chance to provide feedback and an opportunity to see presentations, from the guest speakers that are invited along to present on relevant industry issues. Furthermore, feedback suggested that they love the annual conference with numbers increasing year on year. The garages also appreciate the opportunities given to them, as well as the increase in leads that are coming from Approved Garages, the dedicated website specifically aimed at lead generation.

Maria McCullough, AutoCare garage network Manager said: “I am extremely proud of the fact that we have reached 600 garages; 12 years ago, when I launched the programme and we first started to visit garages to present the programme, it was extremely difficult. At the time, there was a lot of other garage programmes out there, and a lot of negatives about them as they were mainly product related rather than specific garage concepts. Over the years between me and the team of BDM’s we will have visited well in excess of 1,200 garages, and because not many garages sign up after the first visit, that figure will probably reach 2,000 in terms of physical presentations/visits.

That is some number, and it’s extremely pleasing to see that we still have over 70 garages that have been with us since day one; hopefully that is a testament that we are doing something right. I am a big believer in communication and I think that is where we score above other networks, we have the team of 4 ladies in the office and the 6 BDM’s as well as our GROUPAUTO Motor Factor members who regularly speak to and visit the garages to keep them informed of activity in the network.

Finally, I think over the years we have improved on everything and are continuing to add new initiatives to the programme to keep it fresh, having the marketing team and in house digital team has certainly been a massive help and the information and marketing material that we provide is of the highest quality. Big thanks from me to all the AutoCare garage network team as well as the BDM’s and the Marketing Team. We wouldn’t have done it without them and it’s a fantastic achievement.” And of course a big thank you to our garages and our Motor Factor members that help us to continue with the growth of the programme.

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