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April 2013

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Issue 3


welcome We like to showcase Motor Trade businesses that are being innovative and successful and this month we feature Kaim Park in Bathgate who are successful in targeting the Niche section of the car market, and providing the level of customer care expected by those customers. Their use of SMTA supplied Scotsure Warranties has been a key part of this.

On the legal front we speak to Steven Wicks, Corporate Solicitor, about the pros and cons of Social Media in the workplace. Steven stresses the importance of having good policies in place that incorporate the Contract of Employment and Company Handbook and that staff are trained to know what is and what isn’t acceptable. Even if your Company does not use social media, your staff could be posting on their individual accounts about your business, so food for thought there!

We find out why Castle Park Autobody, north of Aberdeen, have built such a good reputation in the body repair arena.

As usual we hope to inform, please let us know if you have any topics you would like us to cover. Contact malcolm.mcrobert@smta.co.uk 0131 331 5510.

We also visited Westhill Garage, who moved to larger premises two years ago. They explain their reasons for doing so and why they have no plans to grow further.

TO ADVERTISE IN MOTORING MATTERS CONTACT CAROL McCOLGAN AT NEON MARKETING. mailneon@talktalk.net 07827 974393 or 01506 845349

Welcome to the third edition of our Scottish Motor Trade Association Magazine, Motor Trade Matters.


‘Waiting and hoping’ “Don’t hope for stuff to just fall into your lap – it doesn’t.” Lee Ireland of Kaim Park Garage in Bathgate is not one for waiting and hoping; “We specialise in sourcing and supplying 4x4, Prestige, Sports and Executive vehicles often tracking down specific cars for our customers. We don’t wait around for the right cars to turn up - we chase them. This means that we source vehicles from all over the UK through a network of motor trade businesses and transport companies.” Kaim Park Garage is a family run used car dealership, based in Bathgate, that started in 2002 and concentrates on the supply of 4x4, Prestige, Sports and Executive vehicles; “The sort of stuff we are selling is the sort of stuff people are specifically looking for, if we don’t have the vehicle in stock we will locate an example with the spec they are after. We always hand pick vehicles with either a specific customer or our wider customer base in mind. Finding the right stock at the right price is a real challenge but if you can buy it right its half sold already.” At Kaim Park Garage they concentrate on creating a very relaxed buying and selling experience; “There’s no hard sell from desperate salesmen and so we get a good deal of repeat business. Customer service is very important to us - it’s how we keep our reputation. Providing a personal service and the right car to clients, the car they want, is the best way to grow business in this market.” They operate on a national and occasionally international basis selling vehicles to places as far away as Malaysia and New Zealand. It seems that people are willing to travel for the right quality of service and they are picking customers up at the

airport on a weekly basis. The team at Kaim Park are able to deliver a consistent service to their customers because of the partners they have chosen to work with. Their third party support companies understand what Lee wants and the type of service his customers demand. Given the effort his customers put into finding just the right vehicle Lee makes sure that their experience of owning it is as good as it should be. The team at Kaim Park carry-out an exhaustive list of pre-sale mechanical checks and commits time and effort into detailing them properly. However all vehicles can experience problems and that is why Lee uses Scotsure Warranties; “My customers have chosen their new vehicle with care, so we give it the after-care it really deserves with a quality mechanical and electrical dealer guarantee. If something fails we want a fast efficient response which is why a Scotsure Executive Dealer Guarantee makes so much sense. It’s the vital back-up that can quickly get their vehicle back on the road, even if major components break down. Scotsure is a leading Mechanical and Electrical Breakdown administrator, so we can rest assured our customers are in good hands.” All of their vehicles are supplied with a 3 Month comprehensive Scotsure Executive warranty which can be extended to 6, 12, or 24 Months. Kaim Park have concentrated on the higher value, specialist end of the second hand car market and by choosing their partners carefully, guarding their reputation and sourcing the stock that fits their target market they can successfully develop their business - but as Lee will tell you; “It’s not luck, it’s hard work - it doesn’t just fall in your lap.”


Social Media Policies in the workplace – STOP, LOOK and THINK before you press “Enter” Commercial specialist solicitor Steven Wicks warns of the dangers of lack of Social media Governance in the workplace. Why be concerned about Social Media? Whether you like social media sites or not, they are of such profound importance to our personal and commercial lives that businesses cannot afford to ignore them.

3. 4. 5. 6.

to work for you!) The mental anguish caused by a posting about a colleague or customer; Court action due to defamation; The breach of an employment contract; The breach of an agreement between the business and a third party which includes confidentiality provisions.

………the list goes on.

The intention behind this brief article is not to scare you, the publicity given to situations where the use of social media sites has created problems for companies is well known (HMV employees hijacking HMV’s official twitter account to express their anger at being dismissed, for instance). In this article, I would just like to highlight some of the reasons why an employer should have a social media policy and also some things which make a good and effective social media policy. While, perhaps, the focus here is on the negative side of social media sites, please always keep in mind the positive aspects (networking, potential recruitment vetting etc.).

The first line of defence, for any business should be a well worded social media policy which instructs and guides employees on how to use social media in a work context.

Social Media Policy It takes a long time to build up a good reputation, but one bad posting or video by an employee can put a hefty dent in the previously pristine bodywork of your company’s reputation.

An example of a social media policy in action can be found in the case of Preece –v- JD Wetherspoon plc. In this case, a shift manager was subjected to a “shocking torrent of verbal abuse and physical threats” from a group of customers. The shift manager posted an offensive comment about the customers on her Facebook page and the post was seen by the daughter of one of the customers. The manager was dismissed for gross misconduct and the dismissal was upheld. In this case, Wetherspoons had a social media policy supported by (1) examples of online conduct that could potentially be seen as gross misconduct and (2) a disciplinary and investigatory policy which they could follow.

An employee’s social media activities have the potential to cause considerable problems including for example:1. 2.

Injury to the business’s (or a colleague’s or customer’s) reputation; Wasting of time (on average employees in the age range of 19-29 spend approximately 2 ½ working hours every week updating their social media pages – that’s time they are paid

It is important to highlight to your employees via the social media policy and any supporting guidance that social media activity in the workplace is not necessarily private. It is a fact that an employer can discipline employees for conduct on social media sites and employees must be reminded that online activity which is harmful to the business can amount to misconduct.

A good social media policy can cover a wide range of

issues including:1. The use of company IT resources; 2. The protection of customer confidentiality and privacy; 3. A prohibition on bullying of other employees; and 4. A prohibition on negative comments about the company. Social media policies will differ between businesses, for instance some will prohibit access to the internet for non-business purposes and others may block access to sites such as Facebook. The crucial point is proportionality – you need to balance the nature of these restrictions against detrimentally affecting the morale of your staff. Ultimately, your employees need to know that they are being dealt with fairly and that any inappropriate conduct will be dealt with in an impartial manner. You may also wish to consider specifically prohibiting defamation through social media in your employment contracts. While the social media policy is the first line of defence, to establish a defence in depth you must also ensure that your employees are aware of the social media policy and provide training. The purpose of training is not to highlight draconian restrictions to your staff but to emphasise that given the potential damage social media can cause to businesses and individuals it is only reasonable that an employer should expect certain standard of their employee’s online conduct.

Steven Wicks Solicitor Young & Partners LLP Young and partners, in conjunction with Carol at Neon Marketing have drafted a pack of social media documents which provide guidance for Scottish businesses within the motor industry. It contains the following: • Policy templates in relation to:• electronic communications (such as e-mail and Internet); • social media and • confidentiality; • A Social Media clause to be added to your existing contracts. • Training for your managers, to be organised through Neon Marketing. The important points to note are:

Conclusion The legal implications of the use of social media by businesses and employees could fill many volumes and can be an extremely complex. We would always recommend seeking professional advice when considering creating a social media policy or where you believe that social media use is causing your business a problem. Please keep in mind the following:• You need to make sure that you have the necessary policies in place to protect your business and your employees. • You need to make sure that any restrictions are proportional and that these restrictions must be backed up by appropriate procedures to deal with any inappropriate conduct which does occur. • You need to see the potentials of social media in order that you can focus on the positive aspects, rather than the negative.

These documents are drafted under Scottish Law and will apply to Scottish Companies. Many other documents that you may come across will not. It is tailored for the Motor Industry. It is prepared by a specialist Commercial team and will be considerably more cost effective than taking individual legal advice. As part of this special offering for Neon Marketing clients, Young & Partners employment law team will conduct a free audit of your existing contractual documentation. If interested, please contact Graham Millar, Head of the Employment Team on 0141 428 3878 or grm@businesslaw.co.uk quoting reference “NM13” Contact Carol at Neon Marketing to organise your pack of social media documents and training, or just to get more information about this product. 07827 974393 01506 845349 neonmarketing.co.uk


The benefits of long term relationships customers - we also took the opportunity to provide an improved workplace and better facilities for our staff (currently 18). Providing better, cleaner, more comfortable surroundings for our staff also demonstrates a professional approach to our customers. Retaining our staff is very important to the continued success of our business so we will keep investing in our premises, staff, apprentices and in keeping Westhill Garage a place local people want to work” Derek is keen to point out that their standing in the local community is another crucial factor in their success; Westhill Garage is based in Westhill 8 miles east of Aberdeen and has been an important part of that community for the last 45 years. Established in 1968 they moved premises two years ago to a larger specially adapted site. Derek Stewart, who has worked at Westhill since 1972 explains why the move was necessary; “We moved to double our capacity, support more customers and employ more local people - I could use two more if I could get them. Recruitment of experienced mechanics is difficult due to the draw of the oil and gas sector in the North East. It’s not a new issue - it has been a consistent challenge for at least the last 20 years. This is why we recruit and train apprentices and take the risk of developing their skills. Whilst we made the move to our new larger premises mainly to increase our ability to offer services to our

“Our position in the Westhill community is very important to us. We have built up a reputation that helps to both retain a high number of customers (we have known many of them for years) and gain new ones - more often than not through word of mouth. A reputation for poor service spreads even faster than one for good, we work hard to ensure we keep ours a good one” Their technicians can carry out servicing and repairs on most makes and models of cars, light commercial vehicles and 4x4s with a range of diagnostic equipment they can diagnose all makes of cars. Whilst they invest in up to date equipment and the skills of their staff Derek admits covering all makes can be a challenge and you sometimes need helpful pals.

“I have been in this business for a while and have built up a network of contacts across the North East, if occasionally I don’t have the specialist equipment I need I know where to go to get it. There are a few garages that I will share kit with, it helps us all and means I can keep all of my customers happy.” The new premises provides two dedicated MOT bays and two tyre fitting bays although Derek made it clear that they don’t have plans to grow much further; “This is the size we want to be. The growth we experienced with the move two years ago was good; it gave us more capacity and meant that we employed 6 more people.

However growing too much could, with a slowdown in business, mean that we had to make people redundant - and that’s not who we are. We like long term relationships both with staff and customers and our size now feels right. I am still available to each of our customers and that personal attention is important. We want our customers to know they can trust us so our reputation and the SMTA badge above our door are both very important. Our membership of the SMTA is another of our long term relationships – we’ve been a member for years!”


Their technicians are trained to NVQ standard and their panel technicians are Weld Accredited to BS status (BS4872). The paint technicians use the latest environmental compliant coatings and are trained to achieve the paint manufacturer’s standards. Kenny and Neil’s commitment to developing the skills of their staff is clear; “Training is very important to us it gives us the confidence that the job is being done to the standard we want. We are probably both guilty of wanting to do all of the work, on each of the carts, ourselves, by putting the time and commitment into training we can at least let go of some of it. Our reputation for a high standard of work is something we worked hard for and don’t want to lose.” Kenny and Neil offer Car Hire, Valeting Services, Alloy Wheel Repairs, Paintless Dent Removal, Oil Related Refinishing and Machine Polishing

If a jobs worth doing… Castlepark Autobody is an independent Bodyshop, started 6 years ago by Kenny Junor and Neil Rennie and based in Ellon, 14 miles north of Aberdeen. They offer a range of body shop services from minor body to full accident repair and vehicle spray painting, from touch-ups to full vehicle re-sprays. Kenny is direct about how they deal with customers cars; “I want to repair customers cars in the way I would want my own car repaired, we are maybe too fussy at times but that’s the sort of business I would rather be.” The balance of work the team (currently 4) at Castle Park Autobody carry out is currently about 50/50 insurance work and private client work. Neil explains;

“In the current economic climate insurance work is even more important to us - but we keep the same standards for both types of work. It is possible for some insurance companies to put pressure on you to shorten the time on a job, but we must ensure that the quality of repair is of a standard we and the customer are happy with.” All the staff at Castlepark Autobody are familiar with working on a wide range of vehicles. All of their paintwork is carried out in their up to date spray booth/oven, which provides the dust-free environment that the highest standard of finish requires. They then bake it to the paint manufacturer’s specifications. All paintwork is fully polished and quality checked before being returned to the technician for component refitting.

“Whatever the damage to your vehicle, we can return it to its pre-accident condition and original manufacturer’s standards, using approved parts and materials. We think if a jobs worth doing……”


Why use Pay Per Click for your business? In the second of a series of marketing articles, Carol McColgan explains the benefits of using an online Pay Per Click advertising campaign. What is Pay Per Click? When we talk about Pay per Click in the UK we are usually talking about Google Ads, which is the market leader. When a potential customer searches online for a product such as a car (and we know that 80% now search online first) the search engine that most of them use in the UK is Google (92%).

You may have a website in place, but if that web site does not come up automatically in the search on page one, there is little likelihood that they will visit your site. Advertisers therefore pay for the prime positions, at the top, and the right hand side of page one. To give you an idea of what % of searchers click on each position of page 1, here’s a table that explains it: Hopefully you can see by looking at this table how important it is to be in a high position on the page.

So how do we improve this? Step one is to do a quick audit of where you actually come up. Pick three main products or areas of your business and search for them in your location. Do you come up on the first page? What is your position? If you don’t come up or have a poor position then you need to rectify this. There are two things that you can do. 1. 2.

In the long term, improve your web site so that it improves your ranking on Google. This is a whole separate issue, and involves changing wording, key terms and adding features that google likes and picks up on. In the short term, you can fix this by setting up Google ad campaigns, which will place you in a higher position on the page.

There are several ways to implement a Google Ad Campaign. You can open your own account and set them up if you can follow the guidelines online. You could employ a consultant to set up and run them for you. You could have training for yourself or a member of staff. What sort of results can you expect to achieve? One great thing about Google ads is it is measurable. I have seen dealerships which over a short period of time increased visits to their website by ten times as many as previously visited. You set your budget. You pay to be at the top or right of the 1st page. YOU ONLY PAY WHEN SEARCHERS CLICK ON YOUR AD AND COME THROUGH TO YOUR WEBSITE.

Google ads is a bidding process. In my experience 50 pence per click is easily achievable. You set your budget. Therefore if you want to get an extra 250 visitors to your website per month, spend £125 per month on Adwords, and so on. It is then important that they are directed to the correct page of your website, with a really good offer on relating to your original Google ad, and a call to action. If any Company asks me during a consulation what will make the biggest improvement to their business quickly and cheaply, I always recommend Google Ads. Carol McColgan is a Motor Industry Marketing Specialist. She creates and runs Google Ad campaigns for many dealerships and can also provide in house training. Contact 07827 974393. www.neonmarketing.co.uk


Are you taking full advantage?

You know you should...

Our Buying Group, available only to members, provides reduced pricing on a number of Motor Trade products. SMTA membership could provide significant savings for your business. We provide Credit and Debit Card Services that could cut your transaction cost significantly, whatever the size of your business. The exclusive to members Motor Trade Insurance offer brings an experienced team, familiar with motor trade requirements, who can assess your requirements and deliver reduced charges and improved benefits.

One of our most valuable services is MOT Support and Representation. We provide direct support to members who experience a challenge from VOSA. Our team is experienced at working with VOSA and our in-depth knowledge helps to ensure the most positive outcomes possible are achieved.

We can also help to ensure you consistently comply with testing requirements through our MOT QC Programme. VOSA already recognise businesses that are using our programme as worthy of credit in their assessments.

Moira Gaynor of the SMTA helps member businesses with a range of HR advice and guidance including drafting terms and conditions of employment and company rules and procedures which provide details on an employee’s expected conduct etc. She can

The range of documents the SMTA can provide have recently been reviewed by ACAS and are the result of many years of experience with our member businesses.

However an employer must supply an employee with written terms and conditions of employment within two months of the commencement of their employment. This should include employment conditions, rights, responsibilities and duties which are the ‘terms’ of the contract.

How much could your business gain?

Effectively all employees have a contract of employment with their employer on acceptance of a job offer.

also provide the same for an apprentice whose terms should include details of the training the apprentice will receive.

Do you have clear written terms and condition of employment?

The SMTA Apprentice Training Services provide structured courses and ensures that your business gains people with the expertise needed for successful operations. We can manage all of your apprentice training needs.

These documents can then be tailored by our team to suit the specific requirements of each member business, based on discussions to identify which factors, rules or procedures fit the members business, prior to issuing a final version. If you are interested in getting help with this from Moira and the team, please call 0131 331 5510 for more information.

Experience is the key Scotsure MBI Limited has been providing Scottish dealers with dependable Warranty and Dealer Guarantee solutions for over 30 years. This knowledge and experience ensures the Scotsure team deliver a high level of service that the dealers using us rely on.

Our Waste Management provider provides substantial discounts exclusively to our members. There are options to pick standard or specifically tailored solutions to deal with your waste and deliver income to your business. The Conciliation and Arbitration service available and free to members means that when and if things go wrong you know you have the support you need to resolve disputes as positively as possible.

Support is also available through our HR/Employment and Health & Safety Advice that can reduce the risks and costs associated with providing a satisfactory working environment.

The SMTA is a company ‘Limited by Guarantee’ which means we are not a commercial company driven purely by profit; we exist to provide services and support to motor trade businesses. This means that our Warranty and Dealer Guarantee solutions are designed and managed to deliver benefit to dealers and not profit to Directors or Shareholders. Our warranty programme is available to both

Contact David McLennan on 0131 331 5512.

Scotsure MBI is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) and is run from our offices in South Queensferry making us a Scottish based, Scottish focused, vehicle Warranty Company.

We are expanding and looking for new dealers who value consistency and quality. If you are interested in hearing more about our services and the views of businesses already using our products please contact us on the numbers below and we will be happy to arrange an appointment to visit you.

This experience and consistency is also applied to the management of claims so that any of our dealers’ customers can trust and count on the service they receive when they need it the most.

non-FSA registered and FSA registered dealers.

Members can also benefit from our Technical Support Bulletin & Helpline with unlimited access provided at preferential rates through a dedicated specialist service.

contact us info@smta.co.uk

0131 331 5510 www.smta.co.uk


Motor Trade Matters APR 2013