Motorists face postcode lottery over car labour rates

Figures reveal huge variations in hourly workshop charges according to postcode

Car mechanic, servicing, fix, exhaust, spanner

Think your dealer is charging too much? It might just be down to where you live, because our exclusive data reveals how the cost of labour is a postcode lottery.

The figures – produced by Warrantywise – highlight the huge disparity in hourly rates across Great Britain. The cheapest average can be found in Kirkwall, Orkney, with mechanics charging just £44 per hour compared to the priciest in Twickenham, south west London, at £141 per hour. That’s a difference of more than 200 per cent across 700 miles.

The highest recorded hourly rate of an individual garage was £240 per hour in West Byfleet, Surrey, with the lowest cost found to be £36 per hour at a garage in Smethwick, Birmingham – a staggering 566 per cent difference.

Regionally, Scotland as a whole has the lowest hourly rates, at just £71.42 compared to the £101.60 charged in the capital. London is the only area to top £100 and is some way above the UK average of £84.30 per hour.

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Lawrence Whittaker, CEO of Warrantywise, said: “Some of the differences Warrantywise has discovered are, frankly, offensive. Our advice is simple: shop around, negotiate and remember that as a paying customer, you are holding the ace cards.”

Cost isn’t just down to region, though, with some networks charging more.

Despite motorists paying a premium, Auto Express’s Driver Power satisfaction survey, which polled more than 61,000 motorists, has revealed that Brits are happier than ever with their dealers.

The average satisfaction score was 87.84% - up from 86.83% in 2014. Nearly 50 per cent of the motorists who took part said they would be “highly likely” to recommend their dealer to a friend.

Click here to read more about this year's Driver Power dealer results.

Dealer labour rates by region and postcode

LONDON:  £101.60 an hour average 
N£81W£111
E£97BR£121
LU£82SM£76
MK£94SW£109
CM£89RH£103
EN£111WD£120
HA£106CR£108
SE£85RM£90
NW£99KT£129
AL£106SL£108
DA£105TN£97
IG£101CT£95
TW£141HP£104
UB£98GU£98
CO£93SS£98
SG£87ME£101
    
SCOTLAND:  £71.42 an hour average 
KW£44AB£63
KY£59PA£74
IV£72PH£71
EH£72G£74
DD£69FK£80
DG£72TD£91
ML£94KA£65
    
NORTH WEST:  £84.72 an hour average
CA£74BD£84
WA£86SK£94
HD£88OL£97
LA£83BB£84
PR£86S£82
HX£87LS£95
M£75WF£90
CH£88HG£87
WN£78BL£82
L£81FY£92
CW£66  
    
SOUTH:  £86 an hour average 
GL£72OK£85
SO£76PO£79
SN£96RG£98
BN£95SP£74
BH£99  
    
MIDLANDS:  £83.77 an hour average 
NG£89ST£109
WS£56NN£75
DE£94HR£79
TF£74B£74
LE£83CV£89
WV£73WR£109
DY£85  
    
NORTH EAST: £76.33 an hour average 
LN£86TS£75
DN£79DH£81
NE£75SR£96
HU£71YO£73
DL£51  
    
SOUTH WEST:  £89.12 an hour average
BS£91BA£85
TA£80EX£95
TQ£71PL£81
TR£85  
    
WALES:  £77 an hour average 
LL£64SY£83
CF£86SA£75
NP£78LD£76
    
EAST:  £88.75 an hour average 
PE£77NR£81
CB£109IP£88

What do you think about garage labour rates? Have you had any big bills recently? Let us know in the comments section below...

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