How to Recover Your Diesel Repair Shop After the Covid-19 Crisis
As you know, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on just about every business in the US, including those of us in the diesel industry.
You probably have a lot on your mind right now, including some uncertainty about your employees. How do you go about bringing your employees back to work safely? Which employees should you bring back? Will your employees even come back?
And of course, there's the even more worrisome concerns about the future of your business. How do you scale your shop back up? How do you pay off your debts? How do you become cash flow positive again?
Here at Highway & Heavy Parts, we have a tradition of providing our customers with valuable advice that goes beyond just parts advice. In this post, we'd like to share some expert advice that we've utilized which has allowed us to recover from these difficult times more effectively and with a renewed confidence in our ability to get back to business as usual stronger, healthier, and wiser than ever before.
We truly hope that you can gain some insight from this information. After all, when you succeed, we succeed.
You can also watch our video on the topic for more information:
If you're looking for diesel engine parts, our ASE Certified Technicians are here to help you find just what you need!
Management Methods for Recovering Your Diesel Repair Shop
During the Covid-19 crisis, you may have had to lay off many of your repair shop employees. And, unfortunately, some of them may not be coming back. This puts your business in an unprecedented position that may be difficult to overcome.
Like many businesses across the country, you'll need to do more with less while you're trying to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This means that you'll need to manage your employees better than ever before to ensure work is getting done on time and correctly.
In keeping with our mission of helping our customers succeed in every aspect of their business, here are some of the management methods we've found to be effective, based on the advice from expert consulting services we've received.
- First, since you are more than likely working with less staff, it's a good idea to take this opportunity to perform an analysis of your organizational structure to determine if additional responsibilities can be delegated to few people.
- Take some time to review and streamline your management systems to be more effective and productive. Try to minimize any management tasks that don't focus on key performance indicators that impact your bottom line or customer service.
- Develop a management oversight and reporting system to monitor, measure, and improve productivity. Again, only focus your oversight on the key indicators you feel are most important to the success of your shop.
- Encourage employees to take ownership of their new tasks and responsibilities through coaching and mentoring. This gives them a vested interest in the outcome of their work.
Operations Strategies to Recover Your Shop
When a business experiences a crisis like the one we're going through right now, the recovery process can be slow and painful. But, you want to get back up and running as soon as possible.
From an operations standpoint, the key to recovering effectively is to do it strategically. You need to approach it as smart as possible to avoid any problems that will prolong your recovery.
At Highway & Heavy Parts, we've had our fair share of ups and downs over the last decade or so, but nothing has tested our resolve more than the Covid-19 crisis. But, unlike many companies, we're going to come out of it okay.
Because of this, we'd like to share some of the strategies we've learned and implemented over the past few months to help your shop transition back to business as a leaner, more productive organization.
- Before bringing your employees back to work en masse, carefully scrutinize your labor force and organizational structure to determine which positions are critical to your daily operations and prioritize their return based on the capacity required to fulfill immediate or anticipated customer needs.
- Gradually increase your capacity to be prepared for a resurgence in jobs when the economy picks up again.
- Review and innovate production processes to eliminate waste and non-productive activities. This will increase efficiency and make your shop more profitable as you’re ramping up.
- Develop ways to broaden or diversify your services so your business isn’t dependent on one customer type or segment. This will reduce your risk when a down economy negatively impacts that one customer you count on most.
- We’re most likely entering into a new phase in our industry where business as usual won’t cut it anymore. Don’t expect things to just return to the way they used to be. Based on the lessons you’ve learned from the pandemic, carefully evaluate the trends and changes to come, and make adjustments to your daily operations now so you can adapt to them quickly and effectively.
Financial Strategies to Help Your Diesel Repair Shop
Covid-19 has had a negative impact on the financial stability of virtually every business across the US, including diesel repair shops. But don’t despair, there are some things you can do to reduce the financial impact on your repair shop and come out the other side stronger and healthier.
Most of the things we're going to mention are tried and true methods that many businesses and organizations, including Highway and Heavy Parts, have been using for years. Some you may be aware of, and some you may not. But if it can help our customers recover more quickly from the economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic, then we think they’re worth pointing out.
- First of all, get help when it’s offered and available. Apply for the low-interest government assistance loans that have been put in place to help pay down debt.
- Establish a new budget and financial projections, based on the decrease in your revenue.
- Find ways to reduce spending and overhead without impacting customer service.
- Renegotiate bank loans and credit card interest rates to reduce those monthly payments.
- Consider renting high-cost equipment that depreciates in value. Negotiate short-term rental contracts, so you’re not paying for equipment you’re not using.
- Increase cash flow by negotiating shorter accounts receivable and longer accounts payable with vendors and suppliers.
- Take advantage of cost-saving programs offered by vendors and suppliers. Every little bit of savings will help when you’re trying to get back on your feet. Some vendors, like HHP, have other perks that make these programs even more worthwhile. (Check out our Repair Shop Value Program!)
- Reinvest into your business to make it healthier and less susceptible to the impacts of a down economy. Today’s global marketplace is more volatile than ever before, and you never know when another economic recession will hit.
Taking control of your finances can also increase the value of your shop. Read our article, How Financials Contribute to Your Diesel Repair Shop's Value, to find out more!
Marketing Tactics to Help Your Repair Shop's Recovery
So how does a diesel engine repair shop recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 virus? How do you get back those customers you lost, and get back in front of the ones you want to gain? The last thing you want to do is wait for them to come to you. You’re anticipating their return, but your competitor is probably calling them on the phone while you’re reading this post.
Now is the time to devote more effort to marketing and advertising your repair shop services. You want to get back in front of your customers and prospects before someone steals them from you.
At HHP, we know a thing or two about marketing, and we’d like to share what we know to help you regain your market share and competitive edge.
- The first thing you should do, and this may sound obvious, is to ramp up your marketing and sales efforts to let customers and prospects know your shop is open for business. Don’t take it for granted that they know you’re open just because the restrictions have lifted.
- Communicate to your customers that you understand and relate to the hardships they experienced during the Covid-19 crisis, the struggles they will go through to get their businesses back to normal, and what your business is doing to ease those struggles.
- Develop positive marketing and sales messaging strategies that will encourage prospects to take proactive measures to restore their business and make it thrive again through the use of your services. You're not just a repair shop for them, you’re a business partner with them. You help their business thrive, and you need to let them know how you do it.
- Offer value-added industry expertise and knowledge in ways you may not have thought of, but your customers would gain value from it.
- Develop a unique positioning statement that differentiates your repair shop from the competitors. Don’t just be another “me too” shop. Set yourself apart.
- And lastly, if needed, offer special discounts or incentives to bring back business you may have lost, or are at risk of losing to a competitor.
If you're looking to ramp up your marketing, but aren't sure where to start, we have a whole series on how to market your diesel repair shop.
We hope that the advice we've shared provides some insight into how you can get your shop up and running again, and look forward to a more productive and prosperous future.
If you need parts advice our ASE Certified Technicians are here for you as well. Give us a call at 844-304-7688, or request a quote online! From diagnosis through delivery, we're Highway & Heavy Parts.