COVID-19 Automotive Repair Shop Impacts & Solutions
Automotive Services have now been deemed an essential service. While for us this is great it is important as a business that we are prepared for what is to come. Many won’t say it but it is the reality of this time we are now in. We need to adapt as this world changes rapidly. Many of our clients may have canceled their appointments and want to stay home. Staying home and in self-isolation is the proper approach but not all of us can sustain this for long periods of time. This article will summarize ways and approaches we can take in order to keep revenue flowing.
Keeping Vehicles Coming Into Our Auto Repair Service Facilities
While many of us, our families and employees need to be careful with our approach to keep vehicles coming in for service, maintenance & repairs we have a responsibility to provide for our families. We have to be mindful of our clients and their needs during these tough times. If we all do our part and make clients feel reassured maybe we can avoid this difficult period.
Have you potentially thought that a client has an issue with their vehicle but they are scared and worried to bring it in for service? They might not even want to call..
Now clients that may have issues with their vehicles could be a stress point that we as Automotive Service Providers can be solving. Make sure clients feel reassured that it is safe to either bring their vehicles in for service, arrange a pick-up & drop off service. It is OUR responsibility to ensure that is the case.
We have all heard disinfect this disinfect that. Here is a more in-depth view of our industry
The Best Approach
- Appointments Only
- Take appointments only at this time
- Try to get as much information about their concerns prior to the drop-off
- Schedule the drop-off in time intervals that prevent multiple clients at once
- Inform & Educate on your new measures to keep everyone safe
- One client in the office at a time
- Make sure clients are aware of this precautionary measure
- Prepare as much as possible before their arrival
- Invoices should be ready
- Try over the phone payments
- Drop Off Procedure (New Pair of Gloves Should be Used)
- Since at this point we have most of the information we need
- Ask clients to leave their keys on the desk
- Clean keys then tag them
- Pickup & Dropoff Service
- Clients at risk shouldn’t leave home
- Their vehicles need to be in a condition that is driveable and safe
- Make sure to disinfect prior and after
- Don’t Rush the Service
- The client will prefer if you take time with their vehicle
- This reassures them that we are taking the appropriate steps to sanitize
- Technician Procedure
- Make sure technicians take necessary precautions
- We cannot assume that they will take the needed steps
- Make sure their station and/or toolbox is prepared
- Fresh pair of gloves each time they enter a new vehicle
- Disinfect all points of contact (Door Handles, Steering Wheel, Shifter and so on)
If we do our part to flatten this curve and clients are reassured that we are taking the appropriate measures to be careful and protect everyone then this virus will only be a nuisance for a short period of time. The most important part is to ensure that clients understand our new procedures
For many of us, this is our largest expense. Of course, managing our employee’s expectations can be difficult. Payroll management will directly depend on how busy we keep. If we have no work coming in we need to take the appropriate measures to protect our businesses. Many of us have never laid-off any employees. Just even discussing this worries many of us. Being over-prepared is going to be our strongest chance to beat this virus. Layoffs are something that we might need to consider if this isolation continues for longer periods of time.
I have been observing and I have noticed in many shops we have 2 different personas
- Invincible – This virus won’t affect me and my family
- Worried – This virus worries me and my families well being
Having to manage these two types of employees together can be a feat on its own. Things are rapidly evolving and this will only get worse moving forward. Having the invincible employees can pose a large danger to our clients, our families and the rest of our employees. We need to put our families, clients, and families first. Making sure we take care of our community is also a responsibility none of us should take lightly.
Couple Tips to Help with Payroll
- Reduce Hours
- Rotate Employees
- Keep Essential Staff
- Plan Appointments & Staffing
Depending on workload, revenue, and many other factors I believe it is important to have a discussion with your employees in regard to their expectations and their worries during this pandemic. Lay the cards on the table. Get a feel for how they feel.
Some employees may want to stay at work and contribute to keeping our economy going. Many might not! It is important to have a meeting with your team with regard to their needs and their families’ needs. Maybe they have an at-risk family member that being at work could potentially harm their dependants. As business owners, we need to try and care for our employees.
If we do our part and our employees will understand that most of this is out of our control. It is great to see the government step in and help the process move along quicker.
Not something we want to think about but we need to be prepared to do if it comes down to it. We have an opportunity to learn from other countries that have had no head start.
Preparing for Layoffs
The most important thing will be to discuss with employees the potential need to layoff employees. Some might want to actually get laid off.
Preparing the ROE is crucial! Having no errors in the ROE will prevent them from going into the queue. Employees won’t be very happy if they don’t receive compensation quickly.
Many of us will be experiencing less volume of sales and services. That is a natural bi-product of this pandemic. By now the general public is well aware of the situation. Many suppliers and vendors will work with their clients to ensure that we all get through this together and stronger. If you have large balances take the avant-garde approach. Reach out to your suppliers and explain what you might be struggling within the coming months. We are here to help our clients get through this tough time and will work with those that are struggling.
Rent being a large expense for many of us, depending on landlords and situations they might be willing to lend out a helping hand. Working through this pandemic together will benefit everyone.
Yes, these are tough times and they aren’t ideal for anyone. If we all help each other through these tough times we will come out stronger. I believe that if we are prepared for what is to come that we will be able to weather the storm. Take care of your clients and employees and they will take care of you. From what I have seen out there, most people are being very understanding and many are taking the necessary precautions.