Car Service Cost: Independent Garages vs Franchised Dealerships

car service cost: independent garages vs franchised dealerships in white text over a car mechanic inspecting the suspension of a vehicle

You might think that your car service will always cost less when booked with an independent garage.

But that’s far from true.

Many franchised dealerships offer discounted MOT and service deals to out of warranty drivers, and the best deals are found exclusively through SecretServiceTM.

 

What do we mean by ‘franchised dealership’?

Franchised car dealerships are the authorised ‘front line’ for car manufacturers to sell their vehicles and products to consumers. They may specialise in one or more manufacturers, such as Peugeot, Kia and Vauxhall in one site, but technicians have specialist manufacturer diagnostic equipment. This specialist equipment is not readily available to independent garages, so can mean higher car diagnostic inspection charges, but also results in a fantastic sales and aftersales experience tailored around that brand.

There are some 3,400 UK franchised dealerships. Their manufacturers set high targets which have to be met, including customer satisfaction scores. The staff working in these branches have to meet these standards to keep their franchised status. Vertu, Snows and Johnsons are great examples of forward thinking dealerships who keep up with the latest innovations, leading to high review scores through BookMyGarage.com and an exceptional experience for every driver.

Kia logo on large red sign at one of their franchised dealerships
It’s quite easy to tell which car brand your local franchised dealership services – just look for the large logo, like at this Kia dealership

The technicians working in the service departments of franchised dealerships are specialists in that brand and have received expert training from the manufacturers. This means that a specialised dealership can bring plenty of benefits and savings in itself.

So, how much does a car service cost when booked with a franchised dealership?

 

How much is a car service from a franchised dealership?

These figures are averages taken from franchised dealers which are a part of our SecretService offering on BookMyGarage. For comparison, the average UK full service price for all engine sizes is £182.40.

Interim Service Full Service Major Service
0-1.2 litre engine £86.29 £126.84 £168.21
1.201 – 1.5 litre engine £94.06 £132.31 £176.49
1.501 – 2 litre engine £99.20 £141.56 £181.49
2.001 – 2.4 litre engine £106.96 £151.45 £202.27
2.401 – 3.5 litre engine £112.77 £157.70 £211
3.501 litre engine and above £124.75 £171.07 £229.31

 

How does SecretService make your car service cost less?

While it is true that franchised dealers tend to charge more per hour than independent garages because of their higher overheads, many franchise groups are happy to reduce their prices and carry out servicing & MOTs at cost. SecretService works just like a secret hotel provider. We exclusively sell excess availability at franchised garages near you! These anonymous dealerships provide a number of workshop slots per month at affordable low prices. Once you’ve booked with the garage, we let you in on the secret and tell you where you’ve booked!

two car mechanics in overalls and white t-shirts complete car service on white vehicle
A franchised dealership means more mechanics, specialist equipment and genuine parts. With all that and a low car service cost with a SecretService, it always makes sense to choose a main dealer!

Most importantly, you receive the same franchised dealership experience! This includes high-quality work, honest customer service and trusted prices. The only difference is the cost of your car service! Thanks to the transparency of the BookMyGarage service schedules, you always know exactly what’s included in it as well.

Every interim, full and major service booked via our online comparison site follow our service schedules, specifically created so that drivers could compare their car service ‘apples-for-apples’. Each garage has their individual schedule and names for different car services, so ringing around for prices would not get you a like-for-like comparison.

And, when you book a SecretService, there’s no exception! You book a BookMyGarage service at a franchise dealer, instead of a manufacturer service, so you get high-quality work out of warranty and keep the change, thanks to the lower car service cost. Our service schedules are designed to meet the highest industry standard, but any garage or franchise MAY recommend adding on extra items (such as a pollen filter change), where they see fit. Of course, any advisories are totally optional and won’t be completed without your prior consent.

All this means that our SecretService prices are set so competitively, you will often pay less to have your car serviced at a franchised dealer than an independent garage. You never pay until the day and it only takes a few clicks to book a SecretService near you. Get in on the secret for your next car service! Book online now.

 

Book your SecretService online now!

 

A low-cost car service is all well and good, but why should you choose a SecretService over an independent garage near you?

 

Why choose a franchised dealership over an independent garage?

Having your car serviced at a main dealer provides many benefits that an independent garage can’t. Aside from the low car service price, here are our top 5.

Protects your warranty

While you no longer need to visit a main dealership to protect your car’s warranty, it’s still considered the best thing to do. You can never invalidate your warranty by visiting a franchised garage, but you may have issues if you choose the wrong independent garage. And a valid warranty gives you peace of mind should the worst happen to your car while it is covered.

White BMW in large garage on ramp with expert mechanic inspecting underside
A franchised dealership are experts with a particular brand of vehicle, like this BMW dealership. That means using high-quality parts during your car service, all while keeping the cost as low as possible!

Manufacturer approved car services

When you choose a main dealership, you always receive quality work. While some independent garages use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, you’ll have to research and find out whether they do for your specific car.

In the main, franchised dealerships do use OEM parts.

They can go to your manufacturer directly to buy the best quality parts and use the latest equipment. This means the parts last longer, keeping your car on the road rather than in the workshop.

 

Increases the value of your vehicle

A full service history is very important and is likely to increase the value of your car when you come to sell it. While most buyers just want reassurance that the car has been well maintained and don’t care about where the work was done, they’ll be suitably impressed if you can provide evidence that it was looked after by a franchised garage!

People trust franchised dealership work because of the quality and accuracy. This also means they may pay up to 10-15% more to buy your car when you look to sell it. A little extra investment now can be very profitable when you sell your car later!

smiling happy businessman in suit looking at his phone after getting confirmation of his low car service cost with BookMyGarage
A full service history means you’ll be the one smiling when you come to sell your vehicle!

They complete the right jobs at the right times

Franchised dealerships always know what work your car needs. Thanks to their expert knowledge and equipment, they can always recommend the best job at the best time. This means you don’t have to worry about whether your car needs a service because you’ll know exactly when it does in advance. A franchised dealership can save you stressing about car maintenance intervals with clear updates and advice. And that makes the rest of your life easier.

Convenient extra services

Sometimes, the cost of your car service takes is about more than money. Your time is important as well, and franchised garages recognise this. Many of our dealerships offer loan cars and vehicle collection and delivery with your car service. You can book this from your house or place of work. Friendly staff will drive your car to the garage for you, complete the work and then bring it back, keeping you updated throughout. This way, you don’t have to interrupt your normal life.

Most franchised dealers also offer a pay monthly plan should your vehicle require any extra work so that you can spread the cost. Not all independent garages on BookMyGarage offer these services.

Mazda franchise dealership with rows of new Mazda cars parked in car park
When you book your car service through a franchised dealership, like this Mazda garage, you’re choosing a large scale operation – great for keeping your car service cost low with a loan car or collection and delivery!

If you want the best deal for your car service, SecretService is a fantastic option.  You get a highly competitive car service and/or MOT price near you with the same quality you would expect from a main dealership. Through no fault of their own, that’s just something an independent garage can’t provide. Book your SecretService online now!

 

Book your SecretService at a main dealership now!

 

There are plenty of other advantages to a franchised dealership

 

Large-scale customer service teams

In the unlikely event of a sub-standard experience, it’s easy to make a complaint. Every dealership has a highly-trained customer service team standing by to fix your problems. If they can’t help, you can even contact the manufacturer’s headquarters directly.

This is much easier than trying to contact an independent garage. Many don’t have customer service teams due to limited staff. And, while you can always make complaints with The Motor Ombudsman, this takes time. It can also make your life far more stressful than necessary.

young saleswoman shaking hands with happy driver in auto workshop with white car in foreground and black car behind them
A franchised dealership often has a sales and customer service team associated with it, so you get first-class customer service throughout your car service.

 

Highly trained mechanics and large budgets

Manufacturers spend a fortune on their vehicles to help build trust and encourage drivers to buy their cars. One poor experience can change all that. That’s why they spend huge amounts of money each year on training and equipment for their workshop staff.

And, while independent garages are experienced in their own right, most can’t compete with a franchised dealership. The budget difference is huge. This training and access to equipment in franchised dealerships guarantees quality.

 

Free extra services

Most importantly, a main dealership knows your vehicle inside and out. They’re knowledgeable on cars in general, but are experts on the brand they’re most associated with. They also have access to manufacturer records and data.

This means they can provide software updates, non-essential recall work and other behind the scenes services without increasing the cost of your car service! You won’t get these free extras anywhere else because this information is exclusively available to franchised dealerships.

 

Book a SecretService at a main dealership near you today!

 

An Independent Garage Can Sometimes Be Your Best Option

Franchised dealerships are not common place. If there isn’t a SecretService deal in your area, it’s hard to justify a long journey just for the extra quality a dealership can bring. In fact, 70% of UK drivers prefer independent garages, and nearly 3/4 of drivers rely on an independent garage for MOT and service work.

With that in mind, here are the three main reasons to choose a high-quality independent garage near you, like the ones listed on the BookMyGarage comparison site.

 

More Personal and Flexible Service

An independent garage is less likely to have a large servicing department. Generally, there are only a handful of staff and there is a lead mechanic that you communicate with.

This allows you to build a relationship with the mechanic, and helps them get to know your car better.

The more time they spend talking to you and working on your car, the more they get a feel for its quirks and oddities. That way, they keep the personality of your car after the repair. For those of us who love our cars like a family member, this is very reassuring.

mechanic in overalls and driver exchanging keys in garage after finalising car service cost
When you always deal with the same mechanic, it’s easy to build a good relationship and become friendly with them!

More than that, independent garages are more flexible than franchised dealerships. This is due to their smaller size. They can fit you in at short notice for small jobs and are always there to give advice without an appointment. If you don’t know a lot about cars, it can be nice to have someone knowledgeable and friendly to talk to.

 

Receive a Similar Quality Service at a Similar Price

There are thousands of independent garages on BookMyGarage, and the only difference between their car service and a SecretService is the cost!

And even that can be marginal.

Independent garages have much lower overheads and costs, which allows them to deliver high-quality MOT and service work at a lower price. Even our SecretService deals can’t match some of the savings on offer at an independent garage near you!

 

Servicing All Makes and Models

A local independent mechanic has a much more general knowledge about a range of vehicles. If you drive a Vauxhall and your partner drives a Ford, its much easier to find one independent garage than two SecretService garages near you.

And, while many independent mechanics don’t have the financial backing of large dealerships, plenty have trained in these service centres before setting up their own businesses. That means they’re very experienced and work to a high standard.

three mechanics working on separate cars in auto workshop, range of car services conducted simultaneously
An independent mechanic knows their way around a range of vehicles, either thanks to their training or experience. This makes an independent garage a lot more convenient for people!

Above all else, when you book with an independent garage near you, you’re supporting a local business! If you love to shop local, compare and save on your next service and MOT with BookMyGarage. Enter your reg and postcode to instantly compare thousands of locally owned garages now!

 

Book online with a high-quality garage near you now

 

You have control over your car service cost with BookMyGarage

Franchised dealerships are always seen as expensive and overpriced, and independent garages too cheap and untrustworthy. With BookMyGarage, we only accept the best. All our UK garages are highly recommended by us and their existing customer base. They offer high-quality MOT, service and repair work at an affordable low price.

Plus, with a SecretService, you book with a franchised dealership to get the best car service cost in your area. For quality, honesty and work you can trust, book a SecretService near you today. Compare. Save. Job Done.

Mandy Weston

Mandy Weston

Mandy is an ex-mechanic, with 22 years’ experience in the motor industry. As an in-house motoring expert, Mandy is the go-to woman for any relevant questions that our customers have; both garages and drivers. From specific problems with your car to general maintenance, Mandy is a reliable source of information and advice. Her passion for motoring is a huge factor to her success and the huge wealth of knowledge that she has. She now uses her remarkable grasp of the industry to write regular content for our readers to help drivers understand their car better, avoid being ripped off by garages and save money on their motoring requirements.