Tag Archives: female friendly garage

A female friendly MOT centre with a difference

Granted The Test Centre in Deptford is a FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly MOT centre and this may make me a tad biased but this review from Stacey is precisely why they are on our network.

Hot off the press today, this female feedback illustrates the need for a network of garages that over deliver in terms of customer service, as The Test Centre definitely does.

Here’s what Stacey has to say about Deptford’s Test Centre

testventre_drinksmachine400“This was the first time I’ve taken my car for an MOT so I was really nervous & didn’t know what to expect. I was shocked that I could get a booking for 6am – this was the first thing I thought was amazing about the garage.

“When I got there I was pleasantly surprised at how clean the work space looked as well as being brand new looking – this helped ease my nerves a little.

“I went into the reception which was really warm & cosy. The receptionist was a really lovely lady with a smile on her face so early in the morning – straight away she had someone take my keys. I explained my nervousness & she took the time to explain the process to me; my nerves disappeared straight away.

“I waited for my car in a warm office with a TV & a friendly receptionist to talk to. Once the MOT was completed the service did not stop there, the receptionist was very good & friendly in suggesting more places & female friendly garages I can use if I ever need work doing.

“I normally send my brother with my car as I am always worried garages with men treat women like they’re stupid.

“I am very happy with The Test Centre’s service. warmth & friendliness. So much so, I have already suggested them to so many friends & family.”

FOXY says – Stacey is now a member of FOXY Lady Drivers Club having been given a free subscription by The Test Centre. As such she will soon be sharing other great and female friendly services that we approve so she can trust. And we’ll be spreading the word that there is such a thing as a female choice of motoring services when you know what to look for, where to go and who to trust.

Check here for your choice of female friendly garages across the UK.

And if you’d like a hand with motoring arrangements and services in future, why not join FOXY Lady Drivers Club now?

FOXY Trades Places to support First Step Trust

I have been invited to take part in the First Step Trust (FST) Trading Places initiative to raise awareness levels of their social enterprise good work. Our connection is to do with their London and Manchester garages called SMaRT Garage Services that are all FOXY Lady Approved.

FST helps young people with mental health problems back into the workplace. This is a very topical subject with one in four of us suffering mental health problems of some sort throughout our lives. Some of the individuals I have met at SMaRT Garages have had very challenging issues to deal with in their young lives and yet they come to SMaRT where they are supported, learn new skills and are helped towards a new career that gives them hope, independence and future opportunities. These are life-changing opportunities for individuals that really need them, nothing less.

Few of us know enough about this illness, the downward spiral of depression and the unfair stigma that so often comes with any mention of mental illness. I am honoured to have been invited to shine a light on this subject to share with women drivers in general and Club members in particular.

Readers of my blog will know that FOXY is a not for profit organisation that is all about identifying and promoting better motoring services for women and working with businesses that go that extra mile to do a better job for women. Without these businesses we’d be unable to do our not for profit work for women drivers, spreading the word about car and tyre safety issues at business events across the UK for example, so we particularly identify with the SMaRT Garage Services business model.

When I say ‘for women’ read ‘for men too’ in the SMaRT Garage context but my point here is that it is rare to see ANY garage organisation so actively involved in everyday training for individuals (whether as mechanics or pastry chefs) hence my huge admiration for FST.

Trading Places Supporters

Here are some of the individuals that have already participated in the Trading Places initiative.


Cathryn Moses, Small Business Saturday UK
Chris Graham, Wates Living Space
Cllr Denise Hyland, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Hannah Stafford, Buzzacott Chartered Accountants
Jack Hopkins, Jobs & Growth, Lambert
John McGirr, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Maureen Thone, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Mike Freeman ARC BITC
Neil Airey, Royal Borough of Greenwich
Nicholas Campbell-Watts, Mental Health CERTITUDE
Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK
Philip Breslin, Royal Borough of Greenwich


Rachel Hubbard, Deaf Umbrella
Ray Calcutt, Boston Garage Equipment
Sean Kelleher, Business Connector BITC
Steve Nash, Institute of the Motor Industry
Stuart James, Retail Motor Industry Federation


I am not sure whether to pack my hiking boots or blender when I report for duty on 9 March because First Step provides garage and catering career services and I am equally as incompetent in both areas.

But I do know that I shall meet inspiring individuals who are all as committed to the success of the business as I am.

Finally I’d like to pay tribute to FST’s tenacious CEO Ronnie Wilson OBE who works tirelessly to fund their work and who we are delighted to work with to promote their genuinely female friendly garages to local female motorists in Woolwich, Bexley, West Norwood and Salford.

To find a FOXY Lady Approved garage in your area


A female first for Robert J Barnes in Cambridge

scarlett_apprenticeSixteen year old Scarlett Petty is the first apprentice to be employed by FOXY Lady Approved female friendly Robert J Barnes Vehicle Repairer in Great Wilbraham, Cambridge.

Scarlett attends Bedford College one day a week to study for her NVQ Level 2 Panel qualifications and enjoys playing hockey and football. Running out of spare time, she has had to give up her hobby racing stock cars in favour of a supporting role in the stands!

Scarlett admits to loving cars which she associates with her family who work in the automotive business.

“I have grown up with cars and they are now a part of my life. This job is something I have always wanted to do. My ultimate aim is to focus on body repairs but at the moment I am enjoying being involved in all aspects of the vehicle repair process. I want to gain as much knowledge as possible of every aspect.”

Her supervisor (who is in the photo) is Senior Technician Chris Thexton, himself a former apprentice. He finds Scarlett enthusiastic and very willing to learn and looks forward to helping her complete the three year course.

Operations Director, Matthew Cooper added that helping people fulfil their ambitions is part of Robert J Barnes’ commitment as an employer.

“We are confident that Scarlett will be a growing asset within our business to complement our existing team of eleven experienced and highly professional staff.”

About Robert J Barnes

Robert J Barnes is a highly successful and growing independent vehicle repair business based in Cambridge. As well as providing a complete accident repair service it also operates as a servicing and repair garage offering specialist tyre services including four wheel vehicle alignment, tyre fitting services and wheel balancing. This makes it a fully comprehensive vehicle repair service covering all motoring eventualities and with customer service and safety always at the top of their agenda.

As a member of the FOXY Lady Approved female friendly garage and repairer network we are delighted to see that Robert J Barnes’ choice of apprentice is a female who will clearly be encouraged to reach her career goals in good company.

Find out more about Robert J Barnes’ female friendly garage services.

Find out more about Robert J Barnes’ female friendly repairer services.

Community car care for Over 65s

It’s been a hard slog for all us motorists since 2008 and whilst the news is that the recession COULD be over nobody is feeling convinced or confident yet.

So a business that continues to give something back to help local motorists run safer cars in the community for less money is well worth a pat on the back in FOXY’s book.

Especially when the business is a member of the FOXY Choice approved female friendly garage network in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire. We’re talking about Roy Chapman Ltd and their latest offer is for locals over 65; for Ford professionals to check their car’s lights, oil and coolant levels.

They’re also promising a wash and vacuum for the car as well, completely free of charge.

The point is to make sure their cars are roadworthy, recognising that many motorists are cutting back on maintenance and servicing for financial reasons.

Roy Chapman’s free car care offer includes the following checks:

Tyre condition and pressures, including tyre pressure adjustments where needed
Brake fluid level including top up if required
Full lights check
Battery condition including battery test
Engine oil levels including top up (up to 1 litre)
Coolant level and strength including top up
Operation of air conditioning
Windscreen wiper condition and operation
Windscreen washer operation including top up
Visual inspection of brake pads and discs (where possible)
Visual body inspection
Car clean consisting of an exterior wash and interior vacuum

Aftersales Director Jeremy Chapman explains “We wanted to remind everyone about our free offer for over 65’s, especially as winter approaches. Colder weather and icy conditions means a healthy vehicle is absolutely essential to avoid literally getting ‘caught out in the cold’.”

And a poorly maintained car can be dangerous so this is a really caring car initiative to identify any safety issues before they become more serious or unnecessarily expensive. An all round good thing and a sign of a genuinely caring business that is getting service levels right for women and their cars.


FOXY sends female motorists to Coventry

We send female motorists to Coventry for great customer service, a good chat and a cuppa with Amie (time permitting)…

Independent Automotive UK, on Longford Road, is the first car servicing company in Coventry to join FOXY Choice, the UK’s only female friendly garage network.

Amie Jenkins, Independent Automotive UK’s Female Business Ambassador knows from experience that women customers have felt intimidated discussing car repairs elsewhere.

“We put their minds at rest by not using technical jargon, by personally showing them the problems on their car and by using photographs taken by technicians working on their car. That way they can be sure we’re being 100% upfront with them.”

“In fact I’m on first name terms with most of my customers and can often be found in the waiting room catching up on the latest gossip over a cup of coffee!”

Samantha Bailey (in the photo) is a case in point. A recent customer who started using the garage after a bad garage experience previously, when she’d taken her VW Polo for an MOT and expected her low-mileage 3 year old car to sail through.

Instead, mechanics told her that her vehicle had a broken brake pipe that made it dangerous to drive. The mechanic’s body language made Samantha suspicious so she asked to see the damage.

Rather than show her this straight away they took the car off the forecourt and onto a garage ramp for about 15 minutes before showing her the ‘damage.’

“To me it looked like it had been slashed with a knife and whilst I couldn’t prove it, I couldn’t trust them not to rip me off from that moment on.”

Since then Samantha has taken her car to Independent Automotive UK and it comes as no surprise to her that they’ve won this year’s prestigious Motor Codes’ Midlands Garage of the Year Award. She also approves of the garage signing up to be an independently approved female-friendly garage and supports the FOXY Choice initiative to check out and promote the UK’s best garages to women.

Independent Automotive UK is now promoted to women drivers and Club members via the award-winning FOXY Lady Drivers Club website. To complete the job properly female garage visitors are encouraged to leave feedback at the FOXY Choice website to monitor the genuinely female friendly ones.

Samantha admits she doesn’t know a lot about cars, but she knows she can trust Independent Automotive UK technicians to show her what needs to be done, and treat her with respect and honesty. She particularly likes the fact that the waiting room overlooks the car bays, so she can see what the technicians are doing to her car.

“I’ve recommended a lot of people to this garage so I hope other female-friendly garages elsewhere follow its example and sign up to FOXY Choice so more women drivers enjoy these sort of service levels in future.”

Steph Savill, founder of FOXY Choice knows from research that too many women drivers worry about being overcharged and patronised. “This isn’t good for business nor is it a good basis for a long-term customer relationship.”

Andy Fox, director of Independent Automotive UK and who launched the company three years ago, said: “As one of the top 10 garages in the UK it’s our responsibility to lead from the front. There is absolutely no room in a modern, forward-thinking business for any form of patronising attitude towards women, either customers or staff.”