UK's first all-female garage enjoys enduring popularity


UK's first all-female garage enjoys enduring popularity

It's the archetypal garage stereotype: a female motorist being ripped off by a shady mechanic, taking advantage of her lack of car knowledge by over-charging or even worse, charging for work that has not even been carried out.

It's a problem faced by any motorist, regardless of gender. One mother of two had enough and set up her own all-female garage.

42 year-old Caroline Flack is the brains behind Caroline's cars, a small garage tucked away in a rural Norwich industrial estate.

Secluded as its location may be, there's no missing the place, with its Barbie-pink colour scheme, which is not just limited to the signs, but also adorns the mechanics' overalls.

Caroline started the business ten years ago, after being appalled by the shocking service she saw women receive at the hands of male-run garages.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said: "Garages can be a terrifying experience for many women – I know women who prefer going to the dentist than going to a garage.

"I know women who have been ripped off, told their cars needed expensive work doing when it didn't or just have men talking to their boobs and being leery.

"Women come here because they know they can trust me, and that I'm not going to rip them off. I want to encourage women to not be afraid and feel safe – it's engrained in society that women automatically know nothing about cars."

Caroline herself originally trained in cars by working for four years as an unpaid apprentice, before she finally convinced her male boss to hire her as an employee. This led to her becoming one of the country's first female qualified MOT testers.

In the ten years Caroline's Cars has been open, the business has proved so popular – with both men and women – that she's had to break her original female only policy and hire extra male help to cope with demand.

"It's not just young women who prefer a female garage; men are exactly the same about big burly mechanics and their 'backstreet' reputations," said the entrepreneur.

She also runs educational classes for women, so that they can gain a better understanding of exactly what is going on under their bonnets.

Caroline hopes to eventually franchise her garage, and wants to see her eye-catching pink overalls in towns across the country.