Storm season brings expected and unexpected disasters. Dealerships need to have a plan in place to help them recover if Mother Nature attacks. According to FEMA, almost 40% of small businesses never reopen after a natural disaster, and just 29% were still operating after two years. In 2017 alone, there were 16 major events that affected most of the country, and no one knows what 2018 will bring.
How can you prepare for the unknown?
There are a few easy ways dealers can make sure they are as prepared as possible:
1. Focus on what you can control.
It’s hard to plan for the unexpected, so focus on threats in your dealership you can control. Make sure your medical kits and supplies are fully stocked, and check with your insurance company to see if you have adequate coverage for a disaster. You can also keep your employee contact information up-to-date and in a convenient location.
2. Have a plan for your employees.
Give employees job tasks to help the dealership brace itself for disaster. For example, employees can take pictures of technology to keep for your records and help with insurance claims. If you know a disaster like a hurricane or flooding is headed your way, have employees wrap your technology in plastic and store it off the floor. They can also communicate with customers to let them know you are preparing for a storm. In addition, run through different drills with employees and give them numbers to contact when they reach a safe location if a disaster were to occur.
3. Research EPA guidelines.
The EPA is going to be on your doorstep right after a disaster. To prepare for its visit, research EPA guidelines. You can also have members of your service department take training courses to help you stay compliant with regulations. If you have any questions, call the EPA’s main phone line for small businesses at 202.566.2075.
4. Protect your data.
Insurance can cover almost everything, but what about your customer data? Complete backups regularly and keep the tapes off-site, or hire an outside company to keep your data secure. Your data could be the only thing that keeps you from going under when disaster strikes.
The next few months will be filled with flooding, hurricanes, storms, and fires. Create a plan to help your dealership weather the storm.
Automotive News recently published an article discussing why dealerships are sourcing lower-grade used vehicles to fill their lots.