Three-quarters (74%) of bodyshops have seen in increase in repair volumes this year and are anticipating a good next 12 months, ABP research has found.
However, the organisation's UK Body Repair Industry Economic Climate Economic Climate report highlighted major concerns around the shortage of skilled staff and the contractural terms/labour rates.
Key findings from this year’s survey were:
- The highest level of optimism about the future since the survey began in 2011 - 72% of the bodyshops are expecting to increase their business levels in the next year with just 2% expecting a small fall in business. The first survey found 25% expected business to increase and 32% expected a fall in business.
- The upward trend in repair volumes has continued with 74% of respondents reporting an increase in the last year and only 11% saying they’d experienced a reduction.
- This increasing repair volume is reflected in the 84% of respondents who reported an increase in turnover with just 6% reporting a decline in £sales.
- No clear picture on what is happening with parts margins as 25% of respondents reported a decrease in their parts margins while 32% reported an increase in their parts profit margins.
- More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents reported an increase in their pre-tax profits, with only 12% reporting declining profits. This is a massive turnaround from our first survey in 2011 when only 19% reported improved profit and 64% said their profits had declined.
- Employment levels have increased in the last year within the bodyshops that completed our survey with nearly half (47%) of them reporting an increase in staff numbers and only 9% having less staff.
- The biggest threat to the bodyshop’s business, for the third year in a row, remains the labour rate/contract terms.
- The verbatim comments emphasis the difficulty in finding and retaining skilled staff; accident management companies also come in for criticism
The response to the survey from the industry was 50% higher than last year with nearly 200 completed surveys received.