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What’s the Difference Between a Dealership and an Independent Garage?

What’s the Difference Between a Dealership and an Independent Garage?

The Difference Between a Dealership and an Independent Garage

Here’s a question: The service is due on your ‘newish’ vehicle (let’s say you bought it new a couple of years ago). There’s an independent garage just down the road, and a franchise dealership on the other side of town. Where are you going to book it in?

Here’s why we’re asking. At Country Vehicles in Shefford we’re asked all the time what the difference is between a dealership and an independent garage. We also get loads of queries about whether a service at an independent garage invalidates a dealership warranty. As a local independent garage, we thought it was time to set the record straight.

The Dealership Garage

A dealership has a contract with a vehicle manufacturer which makes them a franchise operation. They will tend to be bigger than independent garages, with a larger staff base. A franchised dealership is likely to be in or near town or city centres which means that they pay higher rents.

The Independent Garage

The independent garage is not tied to any manufacturer by a contract. They tend to have a smaller premises and serve local communities outside the city or town centre. Their customer base is built on the reputation of the garage, rather than being tied by warranty, and tends to be long term.

Why Does a Dealership Charge More for a Service?

There’s a simple reason for the higher costs; dealerships have higher rents and a larger staff bill than independents. Their hands are tied by the contract, so the costs get passed on to the customer. The independent garage has less overheads, and so they pass the savings on to the customer.

Do You Risk Your Warranty by Using an Independent?

A dealership cannot insist that you use a particular dealer to service your car. What they can do, though, is void your warranty if your chosen garage breaches its terms, by not using genuine replacement parts, for example. If, however, your independent garage is authorised to carry out services, and works to the manufacturers’ specifications, there isn’t a problem.

Are the Mechanics as Good in an Independent?

Yes, they are. They will have gone through an equivalent training process. In fact, arguably, they will have worked on a greater range of vehicles giving them a broader knowledge base. At a dealership you’ll rarely meet the mechanics because there’s a customer service rep between you and them. In an independent, it’ll be the mechanic who worked on your car who will talk you through the work required.

About Country Vehicles in Shefford

Country Vehicles has always been an independent garage, serving the local community in Shefford and across South Bedfordshire. We’re a small, highly-skilled team that’s worked together for a good few years now, and we know our customers – and their vehicles – well.

We’re authorised to carry out servicing on the vast majority of vehicles, and our workshop is fully equipped to do so. If you’re looking for savings on your garage bills, why not pop in to see what an independent local garage can offer you.

Looking for cheaper servicing, and more personalised customer service? Give Country Vehicles in Shefford a call on 01234 381555