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When Disaster Strikes: How Shops Keep The Open Sign Lit

By Kathleen Long, September 20, 2017

Open Sign
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

It’s a tough time to be a repair shop owner in Houston, southern Florida, or any of the other areas hit by natural disasters. From the Southern states affected by hurricanes and flooding, to the Pacific Northwest, where businesses and homes are being evacuated due to spreading fires, RepairPal’s shops are a great source of practical information for others who may face similar situations.

“What I found out is that it's important to be an involved member of an automotive group such as ASCCA," said Jerry Kubitsky of Summit Transmission in La Mesa, CA. "I had a fire that closed my shop for over a month, but full recovery took 8 months. I received tons of support from other shop owners and it really helped to get us over the roughest spots.

Terry Barker is a Christian Brothers shop owner in Houston, TX. He offers this sage advice: “We were blessed that our computers didn’t go down, so we can still check people in and write estimates. We also didn’t have damage in the shop that kept us from working on cars. We’ve just dealt with the mess and asked our customers to be patient, and for the most part, they have been. My advice is to get in as quickly as you can and get the shop part up and running. The lobby and customer service areas can adapt to the clean up more easily than the mechanics can.”

As VP/ GM of the RepairPal shop network, I offer this advice: Find a partner shop you can refer your customers to while you rebuild. It is best to build this relationship before disaster strikes, taking care of your business in advance just as you would a family member.

I also recommend that when in recovery or partial operations mode, that you schedule carefully and strategically, ensuring you help customers with the most severe problems first, and reschedule those who can wait. Helping someone in their moment of greatest need helps you to retain that customer for life, and in emergency situations, most customers with minor issues will be patient with any delays.

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