The Best Summer Ever
I’m writing this column at the end of March—in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and the hysteria. There's a lot of uncertainty right now. People don’t know if their businesses are going to make it through. Technicians, service advisors, managers—many are scared that they’re going to be let go. It’s a scary time, but, even as I write this, surrounded by panic, I have hope. Hope for the industry as a whole. Hope that this summer could be the best summer yet for auto repair shops.
I hope that by the time you’re reading this, your town and business has come out of the situation on the other side. Only time will tell. But the fact is, things are never going to be what they were. Even if all of the restrictions have been lifted and we’re no longer social distancing when you read this, the fact is that there’s debt that wasn’t there before. There are some scary times we just went through and will continue to go through. We have to understand what that means for our industry.
We just came out of some craziness and we’re wiser and stronger for it. After seeing your team pull together and the success stories of others in the industry, I hope you have found a new found pride for what it is we do. I also hope that between the time of me writing this column and it coming out, you found ways to work on your business. Maybe you took advantage of the down time and took part in some training you’d always wanted to but didn’t have the time for. Maybe you took time to upgrade your facility by adding a fresh coat of paint to the lobby or looking for a more efficient way to set-up the flow of your shop floor. Whatever the case, you’re here now and I have good news for you: I believe this summer could be some of the best months ever for your shop.
During a time where many businesses were shut down, auto repair shops were able to stay open. It was steady. People now view our industry as a safe haven—it’s a safe place to get a job. Because of this, we can hire more talent than ever before. If you understand what’s happening, you can be really picky, and if you made it to May, I feel like you have a good understanding. Restaurant workers may be looking for a job, and they could be a great fit for a customer facing job, like a service advisor. Many shops, and dealerships, had to close down. Those people are looking for jobs. Take advantage of that.
Not only will hiring be easier, but we’re coming off five years of record car sales. This year, we will see car sales drop off. During times of economic crisis—think the 2009 crash and 9/11—people aren’t running to the dealership to buy cars. They’re hanging onto them longer. Older cars require more maintenance, which means they’ll be coming into your shop to spend money. This summer, there will be more cars on the road than there have ever been and people will be looking for someone to take care of them. If you played your cards right and continued to market through this insane time, then the summer of 2020 could be the best time in auto repair ever.
Be bold in marketing, hiring, in your business plan, because now is the time to go for it. Get excited and believe in yourself and have confidence. You survived a crazy storm that most weren’t able to. Rally around the best people you can find, build your team and go for it. This is the year that you step out and hit your stride and get to the next level. For those of you reading this that are shaking your head and saying, “Aaron, I’m in big trouble, this isn’t my situation,” pull yourself out of that mindset and realize that there will be enough business for everyone that survived this crazy time. Focus on selling your dream and vision and go for it—don’t let money get in your way. What’s about to happen in the next few months is going to be an exciting time in our industry. Now is your time to shine.