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Accredited workshops vs home-based workshops: Does it make a difference?


Now that the battered economy has placed pressure on all of our pockets, many consumers will be considering the option of using a home-based workshop when it’s time to service their cars. But, says, Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industries Workshop Association (MIWA), cutting corners doesn’t necessarily save pennies in the long run.

“Accreditation is the consumer’s guarantee that the job will be done correctly and according to stringent industry standards,” Ranft says.

This guarantee encompasses such factors as ensuring a workshop is COVID-19 compliant and following the correct protocols to minimise exposure to the virus; to ensuring that staff are properly remunerated according to wage legislation; are registered for UIF, and have a pension, with representation through the motor industry bargaining council (MIBCO).

Accreditation protects not only the employees but the consumer as well. Accredited workshops are required to meet certain requirements that have a real impact on a car’s performance if neglected. For example, says Ranft, all workshops with MIWA accreditation undergo regular audits to ensure that they are fitted with proper diagnostic equipment, and that they use reputable branded quality aftermarket parts that carry a warranty.

Ranft adds that, with over 2 400 MIWA accredited workshops throughout the country, consumers should never struggle to find an outlet that is able to meet their needs. What’s more, because all workshops are graded, they are assured that both workmanship and service will meet exacting standards. “Our three, four and five-star graded workshops have been put through a rigorous grading process to make sure they are able to provide excellent service,” Ranft explains, adding that workshops that have earned the highly sought after five-star grading have been found to deliver flawlessly on factors such as workshop design and equipment, customer satisfaction assessment tools and service options, such as vehicle washing prior to delivery or complimentary shuttle service.” With audits carried out on an ongoing basis, workshops need to work hard to maintain their star status – yet another assurance that consumers seeking reasonable pricing and quality service won’t be let down.

Also important is the fact that, should consumers find that the workshop fails to deliver as promised, they have the recourse of reverting to the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). Home-based workshops, in contrast, do not have this RMI backup. “You need to consider, then, what’s going to happen if workmanship is of a sub-standard quality. Typically, these workshops don’t offer any insurance on defective workmanship. Are they able to honour a six month or 100 000km warrantee on labour, as an accredited workshop would?” Ranft asks. This is a real concern, since there is no guarantee of compliance with oil removal protocols, nor can you be sure that pressure vessels have been tested, or that vehicle hoists have been serviced or performance tested. “What happens if your vehicle is damaged on site or, worse still, stolen?”

These issues aside, Ranft points out that accredited workshops have an onus to train and upskill employees regularly, and are contributors to job creation – claims that a home-based workshop may not be able to uphold.

“Then there are matters of compliance. Is the workshop VAT registered? Is it registered with the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa (MIOSA)? Are they paying the municipal rates required to operate a light industrial business from a residential address? Do they comply with occupational health and safety regulations?”

Viewed from this perspective, it’s easy to see how approaching a non-accredited, home-based workshop may be a case of penny wise, pound foolish.