ILC ARTICLE

Fix Auto on coming together as a community during Covid-19


Living up to its “one family working together ethos” the organisation has so far secured Government grants and business rates relief totalling more than £860,000 after working with franchisees to safeguard their businesses. The network’s senior management team has also been providing practical and financial advice by holding daily virtual support meetings for its repairers.

For the franchisee partners operating under the Fix Auto UK banner, they have reassurance of being united together, but Ian says he’s only too aware there’s a greater number of repairers that do not have the security of being part of a wider organisation.   

He said: “These have been an inconceivable, life changing few weeks for us all. As an organisation we have been working to support our partners and while these are extremely trying times, we do have each other. I can only imagine how independent businesses are faring.

“We are all in this together and we have to work as one, as an industry to get through this and that means sharing information and best practice where possible. Providing help and advice, no matter how big or small, that enables others get through this is worth doing.”

One of the organisation’s key successes so far has been to secure grants of up to £25,000 for its franchisee partners under the Government’s Small Business Grant Fund for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure along with helping to obtain Retail Rate Reliefs for the 2020/2021 period.

Ian explained: “If you serve as a retail operation then you are entitled to up to £25,000 depending on the rateable value of your operation. Initially, we were told repair centres do not fall into the relevant categories but we challenged the system and highlighted the retail arm of our operations. I’m delighted to say we have so far secured £360,000 in grant funding and over £500,000 in business rate relief to help numerous franchisee partners, with more pending.

“That is literally money in the bank to help their businesses. While rate reliefs provide a period for which business rates will not have to be paid and that too, is the equivalent to having the money in the bank.”

“It has been no easy task as there’s a certain amount of red tape to cut through, but we have help guide our partners who have received funds to help their business and all I can do is urge any business that operates as retail to follow the link provided and explore the possibility.”

“While we are working for our franchisee partners, if other repairers follow suit and plan well, they too could benefit. If just one business outside of Fix Auto UK follows this advice and is successful by securing any funding through these schemes and they manage to stay in business, I’ll be a happy man.”

Repairers wishing to explore the Small Business Grant Fund for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure should visit https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk .

If we are going to continue to thrive and succeed as an industry, we all need to work together

Ian Pugh

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