Gardner garages

Case Study

How Gardner Garages manage labour cost using S4labour

Company Name: Gardner Garages 
Business Type: Forecourt and convenience
Date: March 2024

Gardner Garages Overview

Gardner Garages joined S4labour almost a year ago. The forecourt business own and operate 6 petrol stations (Texaco and BP fuel) and one town centre convenience store, all with Londis and Budgens fascia.

Emma the Managing Director of Gardner Garages Limited has ran the business for over 25 years. Emma oversees the operations of the company, ensuring that the businesses run efficiently and cost effectively while ensuring they get the most sales and profit from their sites as they can.

“We wanted something that made running the business proactive rather than reactive and can address any concerns with labour costs with Managers before they become an issue. Since we have started using S4labour we have far more day-to-day control over labour costs as we can see all seven sites on one dashboard and act accordingly.”

Emma Gardner

Managing Director , Gardner Garages


One of the major problems managers faced prior to using S4labour was that everything was done manually- rotas were produced on excel worksheets, printed out and displayed on the staff noticeboards. Payroll was manually processed using Sage, and was then imported into excel, which was then emailed across on payroll processing day. This made the process time consuming and often resulted in input errors.

Gardner Garages found communicating shifts confusing as they are subject to change, making it difficult to communicate over texts messages. Doing things manually and on spread sheets made it difficult to get real visibility over how much they were spending on labour. Since using S4labour the business can see fully costed rotas which includes holiday pay, NI etc and the system is the one version of the truth everyone can trust.

Solution & Benefits

With the introduction of S4labour, the team are more engaged with work as they can see their shifts on their phones at any time, there are no grey areas about start and finish times because time & attendance are automated. Employees can manage and requests on their phones when it is convenient, rather than during a shift. This makes tracking their actual hours worked a lot easier.

The holiday requests and management on the App has also been an extremely efficient and useful tool. This feature has helped with scheduling holidays and ensuring that the whole team can see holidays, which has resulted in a smoother operation of the business.

Most importantly this has helped the business avoid unexpected costs and ensures accurate payroll. Before S4labour Gardner Garages had never considered a system for payroll. An in-depth demonstration of the system helped them understand how it can the positive impact the overall working of the business.

Emma also commented “We talked to fellow retailers that had already implemented S4labour and who shared their positive experiences with us. The S4labour team were a great ambassador for the system and were excellent in supporting us in the early implementation stages”.


Since making S4labour a part of their business, Gardner Garages has more time to prioritise customer satisfaction, as they have more time to focus on activities that generate profit rather than doing administrative work. 

Emma further commented on how investing in S4labour has led to increased staff retention: “We have invested in our employees this year with the implementation of S4labour. The system has had a positive impact on our relationship with our employees as it has demonstrated greater engagement and efficiency for us all”.

Importance of navigating cost management in the retail Industry

In April, the NLW (National Living Wage) will increase by 9.8% with an actual increase of around 11.5% to retailer’s annual labour spend when the increases to younger worker’s pay are taken into account. Without effective cost management efforts in place, this increase will have a big impact on retailer’s bottom lines. 

Finding the right tools to save time and money is crucial, and S4labour are here to help. 

Why is investing in cost management tools so important? 

The ACS Local Shop Report for 2023 revealed that only 29% of retailers are investing in technology that can help drive efficiencies and better cost management in their stores. 

These numbers indicate that over 70% of businesses are not saving time and money by optimising their workforce and operational efficiency using tech, despite labour being the second biggest cost.  

With S4labour, businesses can streamline their people management, from H.R., to rota creation and through to payroll, which handles holiday pay and actual hours worked through our time and attendance system.  

Effectively managing costs with the help of technology will not only reduce spending, but it will also allow retailers to focus on growing profits by getting more out of each hour worked. 

Hear from leading independent retailers already using S4labour:  

Rav Garcha, Nisa retailer: “It’s an affordable and efficient technology solution that is driving us further, and it is allowing us to invest in people.” 

Ian Lewis, SPAR retailer: “It really has changed the way we work, and certainly saved on costs.” 

Guy Warner, Upton on Severn, together with Morrisons: “In terms of efficiencies, it has driven costs down managerially. It is helping us manage our labour, control our labour costs and it is taking managerial time out of the process.” 

How will S4labour work for your business?   

S4labour’s tools provide visibility and control of rota cost before the money has been spent. Unexpected costs, such as NI, pension and holiday pay are included in a fully-costed rota, as well as accurate time and attendance, so there are no surprises in payroll.  

Planning and scheduling teams is made simple, with rotas in one place that can be shared with staff on the employee app. There’s no more multiple versions and time-consuming rota-writing processes. Holiday accrual and requests are also managed from this single platform, saving you time on admin and allowing you to focus on activities that drive profitability. 

Ahead of the NLW increase in April, finding ways to better manage and therefore reduce labour-related costs will be a gamechanger. 

For more information, or to talk to one of our experts, please contact us:  

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