With MOT season very much under way, the effects of the government’s extension are starting to hit home. To provide clarity, PMM, with the help of the DVSA, has consolidated some of the information that is currently being circulated regarding this one-of-a-kind MOT season.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic at the start of this year threw many industries into turmoil, and the garage sector was certainly no exception. In an effort to prevent social distancing complications during lockdown, the government made the decision to extend by six months the MOTs due between 30th March to 31st July. Although this may have had the desired effect of reducing the transmission of COVID-19, it became a concern that the extension would cause a rush of bookings when it came around to MOT season in the last quarter of the year.
Beat the Rush campaign
In response, the DVSA launched its Beat the Rush campaign in order to manage the potential overflow of work that was predicted.
The campaign was designed to encourage motorists that had extended their MOT to book their test as early as possible, ahead of the peak season that had been predicted for the months of October and November.
An information toolkit was made available to garages so that they could communicate the message effectively to their customers. The toolkit consisted of social media post drafts, email drafts, and a selection of graphics that would impress upon customers the need to book their MOT in August, in order to alleviate some of the pressure that was likely going to be felt in the months that followed.
When asked about how independent garages are expected to deal with the MOT rush, Chris Price, Head of MOT policy at DVSA, said, “DVSA’s priority is helping everyone keep their vehicle safe to drive. The MOT test helps motorists ensure their vehicle is safe and roadworthy and is also a legal requirement. Beat the Rush encourages motorists to think about booking their MOT as soon as they can, so they get a slot at their preferred garage. September was very busy for the industry, with 3.7 million MOTs carried out. We’re predicting similar levels of demand in October, November and December, and will continue to encourage motorists to think about their MOT and book ahead to beat the rush.”
The latest DVSA statistics
In September this year, garages performed 3,726,681 MOT tests, compared to 3,619,043 in September 2019. Of those tests, over one million (1,050,143) were vehicles that were not due an MOT until between October 2020 to January 2021, including 170,516 that were due in November, 122,628 due in December, and 99,337 due in January 2021. In 2019, only 3% of the vehicles seen for MOT in September were due as late as the following November to January period. This year the figure was 12%.
More than 200 garages have used the Beat the Rush toolkit materials on social media. This, coupled with the statistics above, suggests that the campaign has had a promising effect on the predicted MOT rush, as motorists book their tests ahead of schedule.
DVSA’s current predicted figures show:
- 2.9 million MOTs due in October 2020
- 3.5 million MOTs due in November 2020
- 3.1 million MOTs due in December 2020
If you consolidate the data the following can be concluded: the total MOTs predicted to expire in October, November, and December combined is 9,668,153. This suggests that the rise in demand when compared with a typical year for October, November and December combined is 46.49%.
How to handle the situation
In an effort to help garages navigate the influx of bookings, the DVSA has suggested that each business needs to ask itself a series of questions in preparation for the MOT rush.
They are as follows:
- Have you looked at your staffing levels?
- How are you going to manage equipment calibrations?
- Will you be able to handle the increased demand of service engineer response if the customer should have a breakdown?
- How will you handle the potential delayed scheduled work/upgrades to equipment/sites due to MOT demand?
Although this certainly highlights areas that need to be concentrated on, perhaps the most important aspect to consider is communication – covered by Hayley Pells of Avia Autos here. As is so often the case in this industry, it is all about keeping the customer happy, and as the workload starts to build, it’s important that garages advise motorists on how the MOT experience may change due to the current COVID-19 restrictions. For this reason, the DVSA will refresh the campaign toolkit shortly with new graphics and messages for garages to use on social media through the autumn.
Message from the IGA
Don’t forget that testers are still required to complete their MOT Annual Training despite the current circumstances, and they have up until the new deadline on 30th April 2021. The assessment pass mark has increased to 80% this year and first-time pass rates are significantly lower than previous years, so don’t leave it too late. If you need help with training, give the IGA a call on 0845 305 4230.