Well first off, thank you for finding this article on caravan service costs. Perhaps I can set the scene by sharing who I am, and why I’m writing this article.
My first name is Oakleigh, and I run Bristol Caravans, we are based in the South West of England (UK). We service, repair, store and offer touring pitches for Caravans, Motorhomes and Camper Vans.
So yes, we offer motorhome services, but I’m also passionate about doing the right thing when it comes to servicing and repairs. Why am I passionate? Well firstly I’ve been in the automotive sector since leaving school at 16, and I still love vehicles and get excited when meeting the people who own them. Secondly nearly every week Bristol Caravans are presented with a problem, where someone else has already tried to fix the fault or a fault has occurred following a poor service.
Heads up. The leisure repair sector is unregulated. You can open a repair shop tomorrow or advertise as a “mobile engineer”, no one is going to stop you. I hope this article will provide some additional education, helping you make good, informed decisions.
There are lots of elements that go into making a workshop the right repairer for you. In fact, we might not even be the best repairer for you! But I hope the following article helps you understand more about servicing, enabling you to choose the right repairer.
I have been caravanning since 2003 and started Bristol caravans in 2012. There are currently three technically qualified (caravan, motorhome, campervan) bods in the business with a combined experience of 47 technical years, and if you expand that out to include automotive sector (car) knowledge, as well as leisure vehicles there are 123 years of experience in the business!
I guess what I’m trying to say is I’ve been around the block, I’ve seen a lot of things, however, every day is a school day, we are always learning, but you never know what is going to arrive at the workshop tomorrow.
There are a few different “services” that you should be aware of and consider for your motorhome’s “routine maintenance program”, these include:
- Habitation Service (yearly)
- Engine & Chassis Service (yearly or bi-annual, depending on mileage and base vehicle)
- Cam Belt Replacement (usually around every 5 years, check your manual)
- 230v Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) or sometimes called EICR (every 3 years)
The price for each of these services will vary depending on the type of repairer, their skill set, equipment and facilities.
Repairers can be roughly divided into the following types…
- Mobile Engineer – often not VAT registered (so you save the 20% VAT)
- Independent Workshop
- AWS NCC Approved Workshop or Specialist Repairer Dealer
At the time of writing (early 2022), the hourly labour rate in our area ranges from £40 to £110 / hour.
Each repairer has Strengths & Weaknesses:
- Often not VAT registered (so you save the 20% VAT) = Cheaper
- They come to you = Easy
- Good ones can be AWS approved
- Their costs are low, usually trade from home (no business rates) and a van
- No workshop / Limited resources = can’t complete all repairs
- Weather dependent = limited availability / cancellations
- One person = limited availability and knowledge
- Microbusiness, some suppliers won’t trade with them = part restrictions Independent
- Price can be lower than main dealer = cheaper
- Not AWS approved, so work on older vehicles
- Need to cover extra costs: building rent, business rates etc
AWS NCC Approved Workshop
- Work on vehicles covered by AWS = Greater knowledge of newer vehicles
- Not approved by all brands = Limited warranty work
- Need to cover extra costs
Specialist and/or Accessory Fitter
- Specialise in their discipline = Experts on type
- Generally, stick to their area of expertise
- Main dealer for specific brands = warranty if you purchased a vehicle from them
- Can register the Damp Report for their brand, to ensure warranty integrity
- Usually, only offer services for vehicles they have sold
- Not always AWS approved
The key skills, qualifications, and attributes you should be looking for include:
- LPG gas certified either ACOPS or Gas Safe (Gas Safe for commercial vehicles)
- LPG (appliances, BBQ, gas bottles, gas system)
- 230v mains electric (appliances, safety system and mains sockets)
- 12v electrics (lights, appliances, tow electrics)
- Mechanical (tyres, brakes, chassis systems)
- Water (fresh, grey waste, black waste)
- Air (CO and airflow)
- Body (condensation, water ingress, damage repairs)
In an ideal world, your repairer also keeps records and can trigger a reminder for your services.
So the answer to the question: How much is a motorhome service really going to cost? It “depends” on the skill/experience of the technician, the type of business that is the best fit for you, and if you want all work to be completed by one repairer, where you develop a relationship over time.
We calculate our job prices based on time multiplied by the hourly rate. For a better understanding of our prices please contact us on 01454 612893 and we will be happy to talk them through with you!
We position ourselves just above the midpoint. We set out to deliver a great service for a fair price.
We hope this article has given you a better understanding of what to look for when choosing a repairer and how much service pricing can change depending on who you choose!