Is the AA/RAC working for you?


What a courageous decision by CMG Rescue Services to decide against working for the AA and the RAC. This could be the first true confirmation that some of these recovery contracts are unsustainable. For years operators have struggled with no jobs (at least no good jobs) while the patrols are on duty and then getting bombarded as soon as their roster is finished.

Over the years many operators, for one reason or another, have drifted away from working for these organisations, more often than not because the club has decided not to use them anymore. Sadly, this has resulted in some operators going out of business but there is no doubt about it many have flourished and gone on to pastures new.

I decided, for economic reasons, to stop working for the RAC about 20 years ago and the AA about 12 years ago. While we did not have large volumes, we certainly did not miss the aggravation and the staff started to get a good night’s sleep and the whole atmosphere within the company changed for the better.

If there is one thing that irritates me (apart from unnecessary regulations) it is people who do not work for recovery clubs telling me that I should not do so either. Why should one person tell someone else how to make his livelihood when they are not on the same ship. One of the great difficulties is that with the recovery business one size does not fit all. In fact a recovery business can be a bad size as far as profit is concerned. I am still of the opinion that a small operation, father and son for example, can do very well supplementing a normal business with some breakdown work and a large company working with thousands of chimney pots and cover very few miles and also do surprisingly well.

The problem is everybody in between, which is most of us: 7 -10 trucks, 10,000 or 12,000 jobs a year, needs an infrastructure that really needs 15,000 to 18,000 jobs. But at a quieter time it is little more than half of that. And that is why we are all having to work so hard to stand still.

So, once again, hats off to CMG Rescue Services and any other operators with the same courage and, by the way, I suspect that there are already one or two others who have done the same thing but have just got on and said nothing. How about letting us all know what life is like after the AA and RAC.

To discuss this further visit the Recovery World Forum

Fred Henderson,
Breakdown Doctor.