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Grease bays give relief

THE removal of mechanics bays from the service stations operated by majors such as Shell and BP has proved a boon for independent operators.

Many service stations have removed these bays because the rental value of the land the bay occupies is greater than the value received from operating it.

In some cases the removal of those bays has allowed the service station shop front to be expanded and turned into a convenience store.

In other cases the bays have been removed and the site rented to another use such as a video store or fast food outlet.

Independent service station operator Arthur Rosenwald said the retention of workshops at his service stations had helped him build a niche clientele.

“The workshop lets us build up good will with our clientele. That good will means they will spend up to one cent per litre more for their petrol, which helps us keep our margin up a bit,” he said

Service stations have traditionally required a 6¢ per litre margin on their fuel sales to survive. However, most service station operators claim they are trying to survive on margins of 2.5¢ to 3¢ per litre.

Mr Rosenwald said he expected the major service station operators would soon be bringing workshops back to their sites because they were still proving successful.

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