When we set our goals for this year, we had big hopes and dreams like many people and small businesses do on a "normal" year. Little did we know that normal would not be normal anymore.
In the months after the novel coronavirus started rapidly spreading, major retailers and businesses shot into the news for temporary closures, business disruptions and some ultimately closing their doors for good. So how has COVID-19 impacted car builders like us? In this post we will share the 3 things we experienced due to #rona
Unlike many small business opening up in the recent months prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have been in business for 12 years now. So we luckily have a solid foundation which can withstand some unexpected shifts in our environment. We also employ less than 10 employees, so layoffs were not necessary- and quite the contrary- we actually needed to expand our team of skilled restoration technicians due to our business growth over the course of the last year prior to COVID-19.
Initially, we wondered, like many, how long the virus would last and if we would need to adjust anything at all, and didn't make many changes due to the lack of understanding and information availability in the early February.
Our customers remained optimistic, and so did we. We were getting ready to ramp up for the busy spring and summer season of car shows and we were still planning for SEMA in November.
A Few Months in
In the months following the US pandemic, our business continued to operate as normal with a few exceptions. We had a team member impacted by COVID-19, and that put all of us in a 14 day quarantine. No visitors to the shop and lots of cleaning and sanitizing.
We were in the middle of painting the Cuda at the time (body and paint work for Vintage Fabrication) and with COVID-19 in our doors, anxiety grew as customers, team members, their families, partners and vendors needed daily updates on how everyone was feeling and when we would open up again.
A New Normal
In the nine months time since our initial impact with COVID-19, we are adjusting to a new normal. This includes production delays for many of our metal, rubber and various suppliers, which ultimately slows our builds down. Metal fabrication and welding supplies are still available, and Auto Body Supply, INC. has kept us in stock on our paint supplies no problem.
The phrase we keep hearing when reaching out to our vendors is "Well, due to COVID": then the bad news. But we are keeping on, we have a dozen plus cars in our shop, so diversification ensures our techs hands are not idle. Looks like this time will be spent sourcing out supplies (Amazon is our new best friend), cleaning up shop, and planning out what we hope will be a full car show season next year.
We understand that many businesses have not had the good fortune of staying open during these unprecedented times. We are fortunate to only be experiencing mild impacts due to COVID, and are hoping that the small businesses impacted drastically by this pandemic will once again regain their footing.
For more information related to how other small businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 visit https://www.pnas.org/content/117/30/17656 for a research article "The impact of COVID-19 on small business outcomes and expectations" published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jul 2020