Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Vehicle Repair Licensing

Which of these is the odd one out?
  • Hairdresser
  • Tattoo Artist
  • Collision Repair Centre
  • Petshop Owner
  • Chiropodist

If you said Collision Repair Centre you would be correct - all of the others need to be licensed to operate, yet there is no professional licensing requirement for collision repair centres, vehicle servicing and repair centres or vehicle recycling and dismantling yards*. I find it amazing that any vehicle, that has been designed and developed to exacting requirements to meet national and international standards on construction and use, to get the best crash test ratings from Euro NCAP or IIHS, can go to an unlicensed repair facility to have major accident damage repaired. 

Over the last 13 weeks Salvage Wire have been releasing podcasts that feature inspiring and challenging members of the automotive and vehicle recycling industry, and one of the questions we asked was ‘one thing that the government could do that would make the guests jobs much easier’, and in almost every case licensing was their answer; either licensing the business or the individuals completing the work.

Our completely unscientific survey results came from individuals in the automotive recycling industry and the collision repair industry based in the UK, Canada and the USA, and what does this tell us?

There is a drive to professionalise these industries from within the industries.

There is no desire amongst politicians to introduce licensing for vehicle technicians.

Professional Standards
As vehicles get ever more complex the technicians working on them need to be well trained and educated so that they can diagnose, test and repair these highly complicated systems or repair the vehicle structure so that it performs exactly as intended if involved in another accident or incident. 
The UK based, Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has been campaigning for years to get a licensing requirement into UK legislation and now know that this will not occur under the current government, so have changed their focus and are getting vehicle technicians to become ‘Tech Safe’ registered. This registration shows that the technician has completed training, is continuing to learn through continual professional development (CPD), and works to a set of standards set down by the IMI.
The UK collision repair sector has been working to a high set of standards that are now administered by British Standards - the worlds first national standards body and a leading global standards maker. Achievement of this standard is a requirement of many vehicle insurers and work providers for the repair of their policyholders vehicles.
The Vehicle Recyclers Association in the UK has recently launched a vehicle recycler certification programme in conjunction with e-bay, this is part of a push to get a greater share of the insurance funded collision repair market and supply reclaimed (or recycled) parts into this marketplace. 
All of this highlights a push towards a much greater standard of professionalism in the industry, where vehicles are repaired to the best standards possible, protecting vehicle owners, drivers and passengers from potential poor quality and sub-standard repairs. By getting businesses and their employees trained, registered, completing continual professional development and renewing their registration every three years standards will be lifted, work providers, vehicle owners and users will recognise the need for quality, licensed and accredited technicians and the unlicensed, untrained businesses will either raise their standards or leave the industry.
This is so relevant for the vehicle recycling industry, there have been complaints for many years about illegal operators undermining legitimate business; there is now an opportunity to do something about this by setting and raising standards, getting businesses and employees trained, accredited and registered; marketing the professional standard of the business and staff, providing the best quality parts, service and advice, and driving a bigger gap between legitimate and illegal operators.
But why should the industry do this? This is the government’s responsibility! Well, maybe, but in the current UK government we have a legislative body that does not want to introduce more regulations, rules and red tape so they have actively turned their back on this sort of activity. This means that the industry needs to take action, which it is doing. The onus is now on business owners and industry leaders to take the next step, invest in themselves, their businesses and their employees; be trained, accredited and certified, set the example and shout about it to attract new business opportunities, new partnerships with fleets, insurers and other work providers, set the best standards for service and quality parts so it becomes less about price and more about reputation and quality, and leave the illegals to their own, low value, low standard, marketplace.

For more information on certified reclaimed parts  -

*All businesses have to be registered with various bodies and organisations (such as the UK Environment Agency), however some avoid this registration and enforcement can be poor; this is in direct contradiction to the situation that pet groomers, hairdressers and tattoo artists find themselves in!