Ensure Your Car Is Roadworthy And Safe To Drive

On the occasion of Road Safety Week, we recently conducted a survey of over 800 motorists which revealed that 7 in 10 car owners delay going to a mechanic when car problems arise – which could potentially be dangerous not only for drivers and passengers but may put fellow road users at risk as well.

Combined with a 31.7% MOT failure rate in the UK, it could mean that millions of cars on UK roads have potentially safety-related critical issues. Putting off fixing issues on your vehicle, whether flagged on an MOT or something that comes up when you drive, could lead to further damage over time.

Here’s a few common issues that should be addressed as soon as possible, to help ensure your car is in tip-top condition:

Abnormal squeaks, squeals and vibrations

If you notice any unusual high pitch squeaks or squeals coming from the car while driving it could mean that something has become loose or become faulty. It could mean there is a problem with your brakes, suspension or steering and it’s definitely something you should get checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.

Dashboard warning lights

Dashboard warning lights

This is the most obvious sign a driver can be given that something is wrong with the car while on the road. There are a huge number of different dashboard lights which can appear on modern-day cars, so refer to the vehicles manual book to ensure you’re familiar with what they mean.

As a general rule of thumb, orange/amber warnings need checking urgently, but the red warning may require you to pull over and stop driving immediately. It’s always worth getting warning lights on your dashboard diagnosed at the earliest opportunity.

Brakes and suspension

If you find that the car “pulls” to one side while braking, that could mean damaged brake linings, fluid contamination, failing wheel cylinder, seized brake caliper or even a failed suspension component. It’s important to get an inspection as soon as possible to identify and fix the problem.

If the brake light on your dashboard turns on, always get a professional to check your brakes and recommend next steps. This helpful post gives more details on signs that your brakes need attention.

Tyre Safety

Tyre safety

The easiest way to check tread depth to ensure it meets the minimum legal standards of 1.6mm is by placing a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit. If the outer band of the coin is visible, then your tyres may be illegal and unsafe and should be checked immediately by a mechanic.

Over or under-inflated tyres can also pose a risk to vehicle safety. Check your tyre pressures as incorrect pressure will cause damage to the tyre and may even render the tyre dangerous.

Be a Road Safety Hero by ensuring you service your car periodically and get your car checked if you notice something is amiss or isn’t working as it should.

Alternatively, a Vehicle Health Check is a great way to help check if your vehicle is in good condition. Head to our website and a vetted mechanic can carry out a health check at your choice of time and date.

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How Does The GB Number Plate System Work?

How does the UK licence plate system work, and what do all the letters and numbers mean? We show you how to decode the number plate system and also how to determine the age of the vehicle just by reading the number plate.

We’ll be covering the standard number plate and not personalised number plates that you may come across.

What are the different components of the number plate?

The current format for vehicle registration numbers was introduced on 1 September 2001 for all new vehicles being registered. The format is two letters, two numbers, a space and a string of three letters for the whole of Great Britain.

Number plate

The first two letters are the DVLA memory tag, the two numbers (the age identifier) indicate the age of the vehicle, and the last three letters are random.

Northern Ireland registrations have their own format, 1, 2, 3 or 4 numbers, paired with a block of letters that always contain an I or Z. The letter combinations work as an original area-identifier; for example, Enniskillen was originally allocated “IL” marks.

The DVLA memory tag:

The first two letters are called a ‘memory tag’, which is a location identifier for where the car is first registered. While this used to be determined by the DVLA office where the registration took place, however, the DVLA closed all its regional offices at the end of 2013 and now handles new registrations directly with car dealerships through an online system.

Other regions of England have their own letter codes; Reading-registered cars start with the letter R, Essex-registered cars start with an E, and so on. For example, if you’re buying a new car in Scotland, it will almost certainly start with an S. For cars registered in Wales, it will start with a C for Cymru.

The age identifier:

The two numbers are called the ‘age identifier’, which tells you in which six-month period the car was first registered.

The numbers change every six months, in March and September. The March codes are easy to remember as they follow the year of registration. For cars registered between September and February, it changes. The numeric code equals the year (as of September) plus 50.  So a car registered from September 2021 until February 2022 will have the number 71 (= 21 + 50). A car registered in September 2006 – February 2007 has the number 56 (=06 + 50), and so on. This pattern will continue until all possible variations are used.

The last three letters:

They’re really just random letters. However, due to batch allocation of new registration marks to dealers, it is common for cars with “neighbouring” letter sequences to be of the same manufacturer.

And that’s how you can find out the car’s age:

As you may have guessed by this point, you can find a car’s age using the third and fourth digits of the new number plates. They will either be the last two digits of the release year (16 for cars released March 2016, for example) or the last two digits plus 50 for cars released in September (66 for cars released in September 2016).

Other identifiers: 

It is not mandatory to have this but some cars have a green band on the left. This is a new initiative for zero-emission cars so most EVs will have this on the number plate to help easy identification of electric cars for the purpose of cheaper parking, etc.

Fun fact 1: When you change cars, you can keep your number plate. You need to do this BEFORE you sell your old car by filling out a V317 form and paying a fee to the DVLA.

Fun fact 2: If you ever need a repair or car service, you only need to enter your vehicle registration number along with your postcode and get an instant fixed price in seconds for a repair or service you need – it’s that simple! Head to our website and a trusted mechanic can carry out a repair or service at your choice of time and date.

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Top 3 UK Road Trips To Enjoy The Colours Of Autumn

Autumn is here! In spite of the relaxed travel rules outside of the UK mainland in the last few weeks, most of us probably haven’t fully adjusted to the idea of overseas travel plans. The upside is that it will allow us to explore and appreciate the beauty in our own backyard further!

In addition to the beauty of nature in the autumn season, autumn makes for a great time to explore the country as you can generally avoid the traffic jams during summer and the harsh driving conditions of the winter.

You can take in some of the UK’s most gorgeous scenery from the comfort of your car on a well-planned road trip.

Here’s a list of the best road trips in the UK you can take this autumn:

Lake district – Kendal to Keswick

Lake district - Kendal to KeswickThe changing colours of autumn completely transform Lake District into a breathtaking spectacle. The Kendal to Keswick route along the A591 is one of the most popular driving routes in the UK – and for good reason! The route stretches for 30 miles with views of Lakeland fells and the banks of Windermere. The Lake District National Park website has helpful information that can help you with planning your road trip.

The North Coast 500
NC500The NC500 is Scotland’s ultimate driving route of over 500 miles that starts and ends at Inverness. There is loads to explore on this road trip including historic towns and villages all while discovering the best of Scottish food and drink on the way. Understandably, 500 miles is a long distance and can take months of planning so if you choose not to do the full 500-mile trip any time soon, there are shorter routes within the NC500 that offer equally stunning views during autumn. Here’s the official website of the NC500 with tips and tricks to help you plan your trip.

Cornwall – St Ives to Sennen Cove

Cornwall - St Ives to Sennen Cove

This 20ish mile-long route from St Ives to Sennen Cove is a road trip worth doing if you want the best of both worlds – the spectacular cliff-top landscapes on one side and autumn’s dramatic colours on the moorlands. Along with the changing landscapes, you also have an opportunity to explore castles and famous lighthouses on your road trip on the B3306.

From the charming seaside town of St Ives to the stunning views at the final stop in Sennen Cove, it’s surely worth giving the local food and drink a try – including Cornish pasties and Cornish ice cream. This helpful website can inspire some ideas for the route.

Going on a long road trip also means it’s critical to ensure your vehicle is in good shape to take on the challenges of the road, especially as temperatures start to drop further. Getting a Vehicle Health Check by a professional technician can help check if a vehicle is safe to drive.

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Business Card Designs And Ideas For Mobile Mechanics

You probably have a Facebook page for your business. Perhaps even a website set up. Despite the technological advances, why are business cards still very much relevant and revered in 2021?

Business cards come in handy when promoting business during a trade fair, industry events, or even just a casual chat with a potential customer. When you hand out a business card to a potential client, there is a sense of personal connection during this exchange. Well-designed cards make for a great first impression and can even spark interesting conversations that can eventually drive business. As a marketing tool, business cards create trust, establish your brand, and convey the message about your auto repair business to potential clients.

When creating or designing a business card, it’s important to keep in mind a few factors. Here are some tips and designs ideas to get you started:

Stick to a colour scheme

ClickMechanic Business Card Design - OneClickMechanic Business Card Design - One(1)A lot of business cards are designed with simple black and white colours. Although this may be a cost-saving approach, a simple black and white design is unappealing and can come across as boring. If you want to stick to a simple colour scheme, choose two colours that complement each other or use this helpful colour theory tool to help you choose your colour palette. We’ve designed this business card with contrasting colours to help highlight the characteristics of this particular business that promises to get customers cars back on the road. If you have a colour scheme that you follow on other business material such as leaflets, banners or social media posts, it’s a good idea to use that on the business cards to ensure consistency.

Include your logo

ClickMechanic Business Card Design - TwoClickMechanic Business Card Design - Two(1)It’s important to have a logo for your business and include this on your business card. This will make it easier for customers to recognise your business and will also help build brand awareness. In the above example, we’ve used the gear, with different effects on the graphic, on both sides of the card to make the logo stand out.

Use a real image

ClickMechanic Business Card Design - FourClickMechanic Business Card Design - Four

You don’t have to always stick to graphics. Having a real image of yourself, or your business (see example above) can reflect your brand values and convey a message about your work ethic. Most importantly, this gives the potential customer a peek into your day-to-day life as an expert technician.

Include your social media and website

It’s 2021 and everyone’s online. Although your business card is an excellent starting point to engage with your customer, it is likely that they will end up losing the business card. Having your social media handles or business website details on the card (see example above) encourages your potential customers to look you up online.

One-sided vs two-sided

ClickMechanic Business Card Design - Three (One-sided)Keeping the information limited to one side of the business card keeps things concise and also reduces printing costs. Another benefit of a single-sided card is that you can leave additional notes on the blank side, for example, making a specific reference to the conversation with the customer or providing a quote. Two-sided cards are surely helpful when you want to convey more information such as all the services and car repairs you offer as a mechanic.

Consider what info to include  

ClickMechanic Business Card Design ClickMechanic Business Card Design - Six

You can use your business card to convey more information about your business besides just your contact details. This is especially helpful when you don’t have a full-fledged website set up. Having detailed information will give the customer more understanding about what you offer.

Be creative

ClickMechanic Business Card Design - FiveClickMechanic Business Card Design - Five

A business card doesn’t have to be simple. Be creative. You can include a QR code (see example above) that will customers directly to your website. Depending on your budget for your business cards, you can try a variety of different materials – this one’s a really creative one we found online!

A business card represents you and your company. A business card not only conveys important personal information, such as name, address, website, and phone number, but it can also serve as a first impression of your business at places where you are likely to engage with potential customers in person.

ClickMechanic is looking for mobile mechanics to service the jobs that our millions of users are booking each year. If you are a mobile mechanic and have Motor Trade insurance, Public Liability insurance and 5 years experience then take a look at our mobile mechanic sign-up page.

 

 

Best 10 Socket Sets For Mobile Mechanics

Socket setWhat is a socket set?

A socket set is a versatile set of different socket adaptors that can be attached to a socket wrench. In essence, a socket set is a comprehensive set of tools that can be used to operate a variety of fasteners, primarily those common to nuts and bolts. An attachment set typically comes in a pouch, case, or hard box containing multiple interchangeable attachments. For a mechanic, a good tool kit begins with a high-quality socket set.

What is a socket set used for?

Most commonly used by professional mechanics, socket sets are used for tightening or loosening a wide selection of fastener sizes and types. It is important to note that no single socket set box can provide all socket sizes. Since nuts and bolts available in the car market are so diverse in size and type, it is impossible to cover them all in one set. They can also vastly differ in price depending on the size of the set, variety, brand and quality of metal used.

There are so many toolkit varieties available in the market today, so having an understanding of what kinds of nuts and bolts you’ll most likely encounter on a daily basis is vital when choosing a socket set (or sets) that best fits your needs.

Here is a round-up of Euro Car Parts’ top-selling socket sets among mobile mechanics in 2021:

The round-up covers standard socket sets as well as specialist socket sets.

Star Socket Set – 14pc

Star Socket Set - 14pc

Torx is a trademark socket that has a six-pointed head that looks like a star shape hence is commonly also called a ‘star’. Specially designed to fix Torx screws. They are specialist socket sets used by mechanics ​​for screwing and unscrewing the star-shaped screws often found on cars and motorcycles.

This socket set manufactured from Chrome Vanadium is a set of 14 pieces and comes in a range of three drive sizes supplied on a socket rail.

Sizes include: 1/4″D x E4, E5, E6, E7, E8, 3/8″D x E10, E11, E12, E14, 1/2″D x E16, E18, E20, E22, E24.

Sealey AK682 Impact Socket Set 12pc 3/8″Sq Drive Metric/Imperial

Sealey AK682 Impact Socket Set 12pc 3/8"Sq Drive Metric/Imperial

An impact socket set is designed for use with powered impact wrenches. Impact wrenches are often used by professional mechanics to remove seized nuts and bolts from vehicles. It is different from a standard socket as it is specially designed to handle the additional vibrations due to the higher levels of torque.

This impact socket set by Sealey has 12 pieces made from Chrome Molybdenum or Chrome Vanadium steel which is one of the highest quality materials used in socket sets.

This socket set by Sealey is supplied in a storage case and is suitable for use with air/electric impact guns and ratchet wrenches. Sealey places a high value on the quality of their products and is backed by a 12-month guarantee while their hand tools benefit from a lifetime warranty.

Pagid 3pc Thin Wall Deep Impact Socket Set – 1/2″ Drive

Pagid 3pc Thin Wall Deep Impact Socket Set - 1/2" Drive

Another popular impact socket set among mechanics, this 3 piece, thin wall deep impact socket set allows mechanics to have easy access in tight areas. Thin wall socket sets not only make it easier to access the fastener but is a great addition to the mechanic’s toolkit to improve productivity.

Bi-hex Socket Set 3/8″D 17pc

Socket Set 3/8"D 17pc

A bi-hex socket set is also called a 12-point socket as there are 12 points formed where the internal walls of the recesses intersect. In contrast to a regular hex socket, this shape allows the socket to fit over the squares fasteners too.

A popular socket set on ECP, this bi-Hex socket set features 17 essential sockets in 3/8″ Drive size complete with a rail. It comes in essential sizes that range from 8-24mm.

Bi-hex Socket Set 1/2″D 17pc

Socket Set 1/2"D 17pc

Hugely popular and similar to the socket set above, this bi-hex socket size in ½” Drive size also comes with 17 sockets with sizes ranging from 10-30mm (10-24, 27 and 30mm).

Laser Socket Set – 3/8″D 34pc

Laser Socket Set - 3/8"D 34pc

This socket set by Laser is a comprehensive socket set with standard and deep sockets. It also has 2 spark plug sockets of 10mm and 14mm. This set comes with a professional ratchet and extension bars of 75mm and 150mm. Additionally, it contains a sliding T-bar, universal joint, standard sockets ranging from 6-22mm and deep sockets between 10-19mm.

In addition to being a popular set with mechanics, this socket set has received praise from customers on the ECP website for its price and quality.

Draper 9 Piece Torx Socket Set 3/8 Driver T10-T50

Draper 9 Piece Torx Socket Set 3/8 Driver T10-T50 on Rail

Another Torx socket set that has made it to the top ten selling socket sets is the 9 piece Torx socket set by Draper. This is a set of 9 Chrome Vanadium Torx sockets supplied on a socket rail that will facilitate neat storage of the sockets in a toolbox.

Draper is a trusted British distributor of tools and equipment for consumers and professionals and has been in the business for over a hundred years.

Euro Car Parts 9 Piece 1/4 dr Internal Torx Socket Set

Among 2021’s best-selling Torx sets on the website is this 9 piece socket set by Euro Car Parts. The set is manufactured from chrome-moly steel (Chrome Molybdenum) and heat-treated for additional strength and durability which ensures it is rugged and ideal for use by professional mechanics. The socket is labeled with a part number and size and supplied on a rail to make the set easier to organise and store.

Milwaukee Four Flats 3/8” Drive 32pc Ratchet & Socket Set

Milwaukee Four Flats 3/8” Drive 32pc Ratchet & Socket Set -Metric

This ratchet set has a 90 tooth design with 4 degrees of arc swing for making work easier in tight spaces. A ratchet’s tooth count determines how many teeth there are on the drive gear, as well as how far you have to move the handle to engage the next tooth.

This 32 piece set by Milwaukee comes with a removable inner tray that is excellent for storage. In order to make it easier for the user to read, the sockets have measurement markings on the flat side.

Milwaukee Four Flats 1/4” Drive 28pc Ratchet & Socket Set

Milwaukee Four Flats 1/4” Drive 28pc Ratchet & Socket Set -Metric

Similar to the previous Milwaukee socket set, this 28 piece ratchet and socket set is one of the top-selling sockets sets on the Euro Car Parts website. This set comes with an all-metal design and offers a 90 tooth design with a 4-degree arc swing to help the user work in tight spaces.

Milwaukee Tools is widely known for its extensive range of power tools and is a US-based company that develops, manufactures, and markets tools for nearly 100 years.

Investing in premium and high-quality socket sets can be advantageous. Socket sets are used to handle jobs that will subject them to high levels of continuous force and torque. Special impact sockets are subjected to even higher pressure levels, so being durable and robust in terms of construction and material used is essential. In essence, there will be a socket set available for the fasteners you’re likely to encounter on a day-to-day basis.

ClickMechanic is looking for mobile mechanics to service the jobs that our millions of users are booking each year. If you are a mobile mechanic and have Motor Trade insurance, Public Liability insurance and 5 years of experience then take a look at our mobile mechanic sign-up page.

Best Mobile Mechanic Website Example

Websites can be highly valuable to a business. Having an online presence means being able to promote your business online and also boosting credibility. A website also helps in establishing a positive reputation with potential customers from the get-go. Additionally, in some cases, websites can also facilitate the booking process entirely through the internet which can save both time and money for you and your customers.

Creating and maintaining a website has also gotten a lot easier over the years which means businesses both big and small are expected to have a website to showcase their services.

What makes a good mechanic website? What elements and information should be included in a good mechanic website? Let’s look at some of the aspects that make a good website below:

Navigation and functionality

One of the most important aspects of a website is that it should be easy to navigate from the user’s perspective. Important menu items should ideally be accessible from any page of the website. Note that any call to action buttons, such as “Call Now”, are easily visible and simple to navigate through.

2021 statistics show that nearly 55% of all internet usage is through mobile devices so having a mobile-friendly website is critical to ensure the user has a good experience on the website. This tool by Google helps identify if a website is mobile-friendly.

Design

Website design has come a long way since the early 2000s style of flashy and disorganised elements of web design. Modern and professional websites have flat design elements with a minimalistic feel to them.

However, good design is not just about how aesthetically pleasing a website looks; it is also about how easily it can be used. While designing a website, it is critical to also focus on the important elements such as the contrast between the background of the website and content. Having good contrast between background and text makes your content easier to read to the user.

Content

Images: Use high-resolution images and photographs that not only look good on the website but also support and provide visual context for the services you offer as a mobile mechanic. It’s best to use original pictures but in the case, you cannot source this, there are websites such as Shutterstock and Pexels that allow you to purchase high-quality images (free of cost or sometimes for a fee).

Content: Keep your website’s content relevant to your visitors so they can engage with it. Instead of copy-pasting it from other websites, use this opportunity to tell your business’ story. Your business will be seen as authentic and credible. A very important part of your website’s content will be a “Services” section that highlights what services you offer. You can choose to integrate an online booking function in this section or even a simple contact form that customers can use to book with you.

Availability/ opening hours: An indication of the business hours should be clearly displayed on the website so that users can quickly find them.

Google map: A zoomable, interactive map lets users quickly locate your garage and see how close it is to their own location. Even if you’re a mobile mechanic without a workshop, having an office address will help establish trust in your business.

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of the content that needs to be on a mobile mechanic website. You can make your website more valuable to your users by taking feedback from them about what they’d like to see. Make use of this information to actively improve your website’s appearance and functionality.

Let’s look at some of the important aspects of a mobile mechanic website:

Elements of your home page:

 Website design homepageThe home page is the very first page that is displayed to the user so it can often serve as the first impression of your website and business. Ensure your mobile mechanic business logo is always at the top left of the web page. This makes it easy for your potential customers to recognise your brand.

As in the example above, use the header to highlight all the services you offer. Use a simple tagline or headline to highlight the value you offer as a mobile mechanic business.

Info about your services/ business:

Webite designFurther down, you may also highlight your story and some background about your business. Sharing your story will help potential customers gain a better sense of confidence in your business. It is also possible to highlight specific details like your location, or any other details that further establish your credibility as a mobile mechanic business. If you want to go a step further, you can also include some reviews of your customers in this section.

Call to action:

Webite designAs the user scrolls down, the services you offer as a mobile mechanic business should be highlighted in this section. Make sure there is a clear call to action so the customer is able to get in touch with you if they need your services.

Contact details:

Webite designDon’t forget to include your opening hours and contact details. While information about booking with you can be included within all the pages of your websites, it is critical to have this on the homepage.

ClickMechanic is looking for mobile mechanics to service the jobs that our millions of users are booking each year. If you are a mobile mechanic and have Motor Trade insurance, Public Liability insurance and 5 years of experience then take a look at our mobile mechanic sign-up page.

Top 5 Tips To Be A Good Mobile Mechanic

Mechanic with his vanAs a car repair enthusiast and auto repair technician, mechanics are innately inclined and passionate about fixing things. When you instil the technical know-how and experience necessary to work with vehicles, no job is too hard. But becoming a good mobile mechanic can take years of experience and training. Just having technical knowledge may not always be enough. Irrespective of how many years you’ve been in the industry fixing cars, there are some things that you need to keep in mind to become a good mobile mechanic.

Here are our top 5 tips to be a good mobile mechanic:

First impressions

It’s all about making your first impression count. The importance of first impressions cannot be overstated – they are crucial in setting up the base of your relationship with a customer.

Firstly, ensure you have a clean van. If you have left any remnants from a job, make sure you clean them up after each job. Furthermore, you will minimize the amount of work you need to do when performing routine cleaning.

When it comes to your van, make sure that it’s kept damage-free. For instance, having a dent on your side door while you’re on a job site will reflect poorly on your work ethic from the customer’s perspective.

It’s also important to present yourself professionally. Ensure you’re wearing clean overalls when visiting a customer location. Even if a mechanic’s job is thought to be messy and greasy, it doesn’t have to be that way when doing mobile jobs.

Having a professional business card is an excellent tool to make an in-person first impression with your customer. We have a great guide to business card designs and ideas here.

Tools

More often than not, customers will take a peek inside your van. Ensure you have a neat and tidy set-up in the back of your van. Consider investing in some tool storage equipment so tools such as socket sets, spanners, wrenches etc are neatly arranged. Organizing your tools and equipment in this way will not only be visually pleasing but will also help you get organised and be able to find them more easily.

Being a mobile mechanic means you do not have access to the comfort of a spacious garage or workshop. You may need specific set of tools so invest in the right tools that you can afford; remember a good mechanic never blames his tools!

Communication

Good mechanics know more than just repairing and replacing car parts and knowing the difference between an alternator, starter, and generator. Customers tend to go back to and appreciate mechanics who take the additional effort of communicating and engaging with them. Stay in touch with the customer if you are running behind schedule. If the repair is complicated, or needs further explanation, ensure to spend some time communicating this information in an easy to understand manner.

There will be some tough days, and days when jobs just don’t seem to be going well. It’s important to be polite, patient and cheerful even on bad days. Remember, this customer is your next advert.

Once you complete the job, make sure you follow up with the customer to ensure everything went smoothly.

Organise your diary efficiently

To reduce travel times, costs, interruptions and the chance of putting off customers consider scheduling customers in area groups. Don’t overburden yourself – taking on too much will only result in letting your customers down and causing you stress.

Customer database

It’s easier (and more efficient) to serve your existing customers than to go looking out to acquire new ones. One way to keep track of your customers is having a CRM  (Customer Relationship Management) tool that specialises in auto repair. These tools help maintain customer records, sales, accounting and invoice management. These tools can help you understand when your customer’s next MOT or service is due, thus helping you re-engage with your customers and providing additional value.

Don’t forget to contact customers in an area you’re going to, to ask if they need any help with their vehicles (it’s a good idea to offer a special discount in this instance since you’re ‘in the area’). It also shows you would like to work for them again (or even their neighbours!).

ClickMechanic is looking for mobile mechanics to service the jobs that our millions of users are booking each year. If you are a mobile mechanic and have Motor Trade insurance, Public Liability insurance, and 5 years experience then take a look at our mobile mechanic sign-up page.

Top 5 Tips For Becoming A Mobile Mechanic

Mobile mechanicMobile mechanics are becoming a growing trend in the UK auto repair industry, especially in the post-COVID era. Data suggests that there has been a 127% year-on-year rise in mobile mechanics taking out insurance for their sole traderships in 2021. Customers have come to appreciate the sheer ease and convenience of the service. Instead of waiting for a customer to get to the garage or workshop, mobile mechanics give them a more flexible solution and fix their cars right on their driveway.

Why become a mobile mechanic?

The two big advantages of being a mobile mechanic are independence and flexibility. Many mechanics have been able to combine their passion for repairing cars while enjoying the privilege of working for themselves by setting up their own mobile business. As the costs are relatively low compared to setting up a garage, this is a practical first step into launching a solo independent business.

In terms of flexibility, mobile mechanics are able to have a more flexible schedule most of the time as compared to working at a dealership or a bigger garage. They can decide how many days a week they’d like to work and also choose the type of jobs they want or do not want to do.

In terms of demand and profitability, that really depends on the amount and type of work taken and of course the marketing channels the mechanics choose to utilise to reach more customers.

Mobile mechanics on the ClickMechanic network can earn around up to £15,000 in additional revenue a month completing an average of 60 bookings per month via requests through the platform.

Getting started as a mobile mechanic

The work you enjoy doing and the tools

As a mobile mechanic you will be working for yourself or in the long run, even become a ‘boss’ with staff to manage. Even before you decide the name of your new company it is important to consider the type of work and jobs you enjoy doing.

Check what tools you have or what tools you may need to invest in to become a mobile mechanic. You already know that different jobs require different tools but this goes a step further when you’re on-site and not in the comfort of a garage or workshop. You may need to purchase special equipment to carry out certain jobs so ensure you take this into account before deciding what kinds of work you want to carry out as a mobile mechanic.

Few tools and equipment you may need to invest in include diagnostic equipment, additional hands tools, tool storage solutions, jacks and jack stands, and a big van with ample storage space.

The boring BUT very important paperwork

When just starting out as a mobile mechanic you’ll likely be classified as self-employed for tax-related purposes. Which? has an excellent guide that explains the expenses you can and can’t claim with HMRC when you’re self-employed. If you’re not sure about this, you can always check with your local council for more information and clarification.

You should also consider opening a business bank account to manage your business efficiently. Talk to a few banks before making a decision; different banks have different incentives available and are specially built to support small businesses.

All mobile mechanics should have a basic level of motor trade insurance in place since it is required by law. The minimum level of insurance required by law is designed to cover any damages caused to third parties in the case of an accident.

Every mechanic is different so the type of insurance covers can also differ. While thinking about an insurance cover, it is important to consider the following:

  • Insurance that covers customers vehicles for when you need to test drive them
  • The risk of being sued in relation to work you carry out
  • The value of goods, plant, machinery, stock and portable hand tools you store in your van
  • Including your own van as part of a motor trade road risks insurance

We have an extensive and helpful guide on insurance for mobile mechanics here.

Understand costs

Don’t undervalue yourself or the service you will be offering. Remember to consider overhead costs as well as operating costs such as the cost of fuel. Check out the rates of other mobile mechanics in the area; this will help you gauge and understand your hourly labour rate. Ask a friend or family member to phone local mechanics and get some quotes for some common jobs if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

There are numerous websites and businesses that offer trade discounts on car parts, tools and other supplies. Make sure you talk to a few before deciding on who you want to trade with. Pro-tip: joining an online platform like ClickMechanic (for free!) gives you access to heavy trade discounts with Euro Car Parts.

Most customers nowadays prefer paying by card, so ensure you have a payment system in place (that’s also cost-effective) to avoid the hassle of cash payments with customers. Using this website, may help you determine what is the best payment card system for your needs.

Marketing and getting your first customers

Creating a website or setting up a social media profile for your business is crucial to have an online identity. Make sure to include the services you offer and contact information. Customers also appreciate useful information so if you do have the time, you can also post some interesting car repair-related articles that will help your website or page get more visitors.

Setting up a Google My Business account is the best way for your business to show up in local searches and is also a good way to display reviews from customers. If you’re looking to do some offline marketing, you can always put up flyers in your local supermarket or community centres.

When you’re just starting to take a few jobs in the beginning, a mobile phone and a diary may do the trick but eventually, as you grow your business, you’ll appreciate the need to maintain your bookings and customer information on a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. It’s also important you set up an invoicing and an accounting system to maintain and organise your records.

It can take a lot of work and can sometimes feel overwhelming to run an independent business especially when you’re just starting out, and this can pull you away from where you’d rather focus your time and effort on. Car repair platforms such as ClickMechanic aim to enhance the productivity of mobile mechanics and help save time by taking care of the admin, marketing, accounting, and getting more bookings so that you can focus on doing what you love – fixing cars.

Keep it professional

With your business all set up, remember that you represent your company and its image. Everything you do is a reflection of your work ethic and values as an independent business.

Ensure you have a clean van. If you have left any remnants from a job, make sure you clean them up after each job. Furthermore, you will minimise the amount of work you need to do when performing routine cleaning.

It’s also important to present yourself professionally. Ensure you’re wearing clean overalls when visiting a customer location. The work of a mechanic may be viewed as messy and greasy, but it does not have to be when they do mobile work.

ClickMechanic is looking for mobile mechanics to service the jobs that our millions of users are booking each year. If you are a mobile mechanic and have Motor Trade insurance, Public Liability insurance and 5 years experience then take a look at our mobile mechanic sign-up page.

What Insurance Do Mobile Mechanics Need?

Mobile mechanic with a vanSo you’ve decided to take your business from the workshop to the road. One of the first questions you may have is how easy is it to set up on your own and what insurance will you need?

When you’re a mobile mechanic, your vehicle and equipment are essential to your day-to-day work. Therefore, it’s imperative to make sure you’re properly covered. As a mobile mechanic, you’ll be spending a lot more time on the road than a trader with a fixed business premises. This means you’ll need a different insurance policy specially designed to cover you, your business, your customers’ vehicles and any claims made against you.

What is Mobile Mechanic Insurance?

The Mobile Mechanic insurance cover is designed for mechanics who don’t operate from a fixed location or workshop, but rather visit their clients’ premises, homes and workplaces on the road.

You will need adequate insurance coverage if you are a mechanic who operates from a van. The policies include all components of risk, such as vehicles you drive as well as those of clients, public and employers’ liability cover (a legal requirement if you have employees), as well as equipment coverage for mobile and fixed machinery and tools.

Anyone working within this field should have the proper insurance policy, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time, work from home or even operate from a garage. The policy should be able to cover machinery, tools, and most importantly must cover you to drive customers’ cars for testing and diagnosing them. It’s important to remember that in the event of an accident in which you are driving either your vehicle or customers, your insurer will only payout to cover the third-party costs, leaving you out of pocket.

If you’re starting out as a mobile mechanic, it can be confusing and sometimes overwhelming with all the different terminology and policies available. It’s recommended to discuss all your options with your broker before making the final purchases.

What Should Mobile Mechanic Insurance Cover?

Every mechanic is different so the type of insurance covers can also differ. While thinking about an insurance cover, it is important to consider the following:

  • Insurance that covers customers vehicles for when you need to test drive them
  • The risk of being sued in relation to work you carry out
  • The value of goods, plant, machinery, stock and portable hand tools you store in your van
  • Including your own van as part of a motor trade road risks insurance

Types of Traders Cover Available

Road Risks Insurance

One thing that is inevitable is that accidents happen, so it’s crucial you are covered, both for yourself and your customers. As a mobile mechanic without a fixed business premise, Road Risks Insurance is an absolute must. It’s a given that you will have a customer’s vehicle in your care on a daily basis, therefore a Road Risks policy ensures you meet the minimum insurance requirements when the vehicle is your responsibility.

A Road Risks policy covers:

  • Named drivers only
  • Vehicles owned by the Policyholder or Policyholder’s spouse if they are a named driver. (Policyholder must have a Limited Company or Limited Partnership and the vehicles must be owned by the Ltd Co or LLP.)
  • Customers’ vehicles while they are your responsibility (motor trade use only).

Click this link for more information on Road Risks Insurance options from Road Runner

Liability Insurance

In addition to Road Risks, Liability Insurance is also worth considering for any mobile mechanic. Accidents can happen at any time, and you could be held responsible. A Liability policy from Road Runner will help ensure all mobile mechanics have the funds to defend or settle a claim made against you or your business.

Liability Insurance can cover many aspects – products, the public, defence costs associated with claims made against the mechanic and Employer’s Liability (compulsory in the majority of cases if you have employees). Road Runner also has the option to cover portable hand tools which are highly recommended for mobile mechanics.

For more information on Liability Insurance from Road Runner, click here

Why Do You Need Mobile Mechanic Insurance?

All mobile mechanics should have a basic level of motor trade insurance in place since it is required by law. The minimum level of insurance required by law is designed to cover any damages caused to third parties in the case of an accident.

Motor trade insurance covers you to drive both customer vehicles and company-owned vehicles. In addition, it covers potential risks associated with your field of business, such as accidental damages and issues resulting from faulty work. If you have employees, it is also a legal requirement to have Employers’ Liability insurance. Public liability insurance covers both you and your employees against claims made by customers and members of the public.

Where Can You Purchase Mobile Mechanic Insurance?

There are several websites available that can help you compare the cost and benefits of motor trade insurance based on your requirements. There are also comparison websites online that compare prices and quotes from different insurance companies and helps you understand which insurance policy may be right for you.

ClickMechanic has an exclusive partnership with Road Runner Motor Trade Insurance which means that if you’re a member of a ClicMechanic, you can receive two months of free insurance* with Road Runner. To redeem this offer, simply fill out your details on the form and a member of the Road Runner team will be in touch to discuss your motor trade insurance and help you choose the best policy to suit your needs and requirements.

How Much Does Mobile Mechanic Insurance Cost?

The cost can vary greatly, depending on both your personal circumstances and the unique needs of your business, so an average cost can be difficult to determine.

When calculating your premiums, most insurance providers take into account one or more of the following:

Age – if you are under the age of 25, you could expect to pay more for your insurance policy than an older, more experienced driver.

Claims history – The greater your claim history, the higher your premium will be.

The type of cover – The level of cover will also influence the price; choosing a more comprehensive level of cover will be more expensive but will leave you better covered against a claim.

Tools, equipment and your van – This can vary depending on the value of your van and how secure it is. For instance, parking your van with all your tools and equipment in a locked garage is more favourable to the insurer than parking it on the street.

Of course, any extras on top of this will also increase the overall cost of your insurance policy.

How Can You Save Money On Your Mobile Mechanic Insurance?

Pay annually

It is best if you pay your insurance in a lump sum at once instead of in monthly installments. Even though it might seem like a huge expense at the first instance, you won’t have to pay any additional administrative or interest charges saving you money in the long run.

Compare the market

There are several companies offering various types of cover with a variety of benefits. Our partnership with Road Runner Insurance gives ClickMechanic members two free months of free insurance on their policies. By choosing Road Runner, mobile mechanics have access to their online portal where mechanics can quote online, view policy documents including certificates at the touch of a button and have a dedicated team available to answer any insurance queries.

Secure your van and equipment

It will certainly help to lower your insurance premium if you take steps to make your van more secure. The best place for parking your van is on a driveway, or better yet, in a locked garage. Besides parking safely, you should also consider getting an alarm for your van if you don’t already have it.

Mobile Mechanic Insurance FAQs

I am only working part-time – do I need insurance?

Yes, you would still need insurance. If you are trading as a business and not a hobby then part-time cover may be best for your requirements as you can get a policy that covers you when you need it to. Traders’ insurance is quite expansive so make sure to check with your insurer about what policy is the best for you.

What type of cover is best for my business?

The most important type of cover you need as a mobile mechanic is for road risks. This insurance will cover your own vehicle as well as any vehicles you work on. It’s highly recommended you get public liability insurance as well as cover for your tools and equipment. If you have employees, it’s crucial to get the Employers’ Liability insurance as this will protect you against legal and compensation expenses from employee claims.

To join ClickMechanic, you will need Motor Trade insurance as well as Public Liability insurance. If you don’t have insurance we can help you acquire them.

ClickMechanic is looking for mobile mechanics to service the jobs that our millions of users are booking each year. If you are a mobile mechanic and have Motor Trade insurance, Public Liability insurance, and 5 years experience then take a look at our mobile mechanic sign-up page.

Top 5 tips to prepare your car for the autumn

As the days get shorter and the temperatures dip, it’s a good idea to do a quick check of your vehicle to prepare for the colder months ahead.

Doing these checks may also prevent costly car repair bills and other additional expenses when it’s peak winter season.

Here are our top 5 tips to prepare your car for the weeks leading up to winter:

1. Check the condition of your wiper blades

Wipers

Often the wipers will get brittle as the rubber wears down, the result is that the wipers will not be able to clean the whole window surface properly and will leave streaks across the window. When it’s autumn, therefore, it’s important to get this checked, to ensure that your car is ready for those autumn showers! Don’t forget to check your windscreen washer fluid levels and top up in time.

You can read this helpful post on when to replace your wiper blades.

2. Tyres

Tyre pressure

Roads in autumn are bound to get more slippery as we expect more rain and potentially icy conditions. On top of that, the layers of dead leaves that trees will shed this autumn can add another layer of danger. Making sure your tyres are in good condition (including tyre pressure) is very important to stay safe on the road.

3. Check antifreeze levels

Antifreeze

Antifreeze prevents the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing and also helps stop corrosion and scale build-up. You can get a professional mechanic to check this for you and top up if needed.

4. Suspension

Suspension

The condition of the roads will normally start to deteriorate throughout autumn and winter. There will be more debris on the roads, and potholes will develop as roads freeze up. If you are unlucky enough to hit a pothole, make sure to check whether the suspension has damage.

5. Check the heating

Heating

As the days are getting colder ensure the heater system in your car is working properly. The heater is not just there to keep you warm but will also help you with demisting and defrosting the window. Check that the heater is blowing warm air and that all the different settings are working properly.

If you are not sure what is wrong with your car, then our in-house mechanic team can help. Submit our technical assistance form with a brief description of the problem and your details. Or to place a booking, head to our website and a trusted mechanic can carry out a repair or service at your choice of time and date.

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