What Happens When a Disaster Hits?

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Rotator Graphic for af.mil. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)

Just when you thought that spring is here and it’s time to take off with the business, we get hit with a major disaster.  Who would have thought that during our lifetime we would go through something like this?  I looked at my business and tried to determine how this would affect it for the next year.  This should give you an opportunity to look at your business also and see how it too will be affected.

When I owned my tow company, my wife and I would take off for a week and plan our business for the next year.  We would pick a nice destination (Vegas) and book a suite and stay there for a week and work on a business plan along with a little bit of play.  It’s the perfect time for you to do the same.  The only problem is you are locked in your house.  Nonetheless it’s time for you to put your company under a microscope and make decisions.

Here are a few things you should look at:

1. What impact did this have on your business?

2. What business could you lose?

3. Is there anything to gain as a result of this disaster?

4. What will towing look like when this is over?

Call some friends up and get their input on the questions listed above.  Since the government is giving out financial aid, take advantage of it and apply for as much help as possible.

Here are the next things to evaluate:

1.Where are you Making Money?  Identify your best customers and make sure you continue to take good care of them.  It might be body shops, or police calls, or even private property.  Once you have identified your good customers, try to figure out how to expand that customer base.

2. Employee Evaluation – Evaluate everyone that works for you.  If you have managers, have them help you with the evaluation.  I did this when I owned my tow company.  It was amazing.  I had managers point out things that I was not aware of. For example, the person I thought that was my best dispatcher turned out to be my worst dispatcher, and he had the highest salary.  I did not replace him, but I did put him on an improvement program.  You will be surprised about the things you learn once you start to look at your company closely.  One thing I recommend is that you get all your employees involved.  Give them a survey that asks what could be implemented that would make the company better.

3. Office Stuff – As you sit at home discussing things that should be replaced or repaired with family members, look at your computers and the software you are using.  There are several good software systems that support the industry, and remember, they are looking for ways to improve their customer base. You might be able to get a good deal on new software that can save you money.   Look at your phone system and see if it is providing you what you need to run your business. 

4. Trucks – The government is doing SBA loans at a low interest rate over 30 years with no personal guarantee.  This might be an opportunity to replace some trucks if you qualify.  Look at everything that is being offered by the government and see if you qualify to take advantage of these opportunities.  The payroll plan is definitely worth trying to get.  It’s free money to pay your employees for two and a half months while you wait for your business to come back.  It’s not refundable if you are paying your employees.

5. Your Facility – While employees are sitting around waiting for things to happen, hand them a paint brush or a hammer and start fixing up the place.  Let them add their personal touch, and it will give them pride in your company.   Maybe you want to add a small storage shed or tear one down.  Do anything you can to improve your company appearance.  This can be a selling point for your customers, new or old.

6. Training and Education – Go online and see what computer courses are available for your employees that would improve their work skills.  Maybe they can take a class on communications.  This could improve efficiencies in the office and benefit your customers at the same time.

7. Owner Education – Take a look at yourself and see what areas you can improve in to make the company better.  Things like how to offer compensation programs for your employees, how to improve moral, or any additional benefits.  There are insurance companies offering discounts on types of insurance they offer.  Maybe you can save money by changing the coverage on things at your company like trucks or garage keepers insurance.

8. New Lines of Business – This could be an opportunity to look at new lines of revenue within your company not relating to towing and try and start something new.

For some businesses, this could help their business.  I look at my potential customers, and they are calling TowTrax because they are short staffed at their call centers.  We offer the perfect solution and can save them money.  Once I get a customer up and running, I now have tows I can offer to tow companies that are hurting for business.

One thing is for sure, we will all learn from this experience.  Things about yourself or family members you never knew. I’m constant amazed every day how the people of this country came together and helped each other out.   Offering time services or money to make liv


es better for others.    

Here in Texas, tow companies are sticking together and fighting the politics to keep their doors open and living with some of the policies our state or cities are trying to implement.  Hopefully it will soon come to an end, and life can get back to normal.

What will the new normal hold for us?  Anyone who feels like talking, give me a call I would be happy to chat.