“I was so proud of my controller,” writes Solomon Cramer, licensee owner of Budget Harrisburg. “We are considering sealing our airport long-term parking lot, since this is the only time that we’d have almost no cars or people there.”
Said Cramer’s employee: “Can we do it ourselves instead of paying a sealing company $20,000?”
Last week’s blog post counseled car rental operators to prepare for the rebound, as hard as that is when you’re in the middle of a maelstrom. Cramer’s inspirational encounter speaks to many of the actions you can take right now.
Consider these suggestions to help survive the crisis, or imperatives if you want to prevail:
Find and call the business types that are booming in this pandemic and those that may need extra wheels: hospitals, federal and state governments, healthcare providers, medical supply, food and package deliveries.
For the vehicles you still can’t park or rent, consider renting them no charge to a local cause. This goodwill will go a long way with your community and your employees after the pandemic subsides.
Call your lenders to see what they can do about deferring fleet payments. (AFC announced its Customer Relief Program yesterday.)
If you’re renting to new types of businesses, make sure your insurance policy doesn’t have exclusions for that type of rental. Making deliveries might be fine, transporting people for hire (livery) is a completely different policy consideration.
Examine your rental contract to make sure the language agrees with any new types of rentals.
If you’re parking any portion of your fleet, call your insurance broker to see if the carrier will suspend liability payments during this time. (Remember, they’re mothballed — you can’t even let your employees drive them!)
However, for this parked fleet, make sure your comprehensive coverage limits are adequate. You may have calculated needs based on a 25% idle rate as your maximum exposure, and you may need a multiple of that if you have a higher percentage of vehicles concentrated in one area.
Get on board with the letter-writing campaign that the American Car Rental Association (ACRA) is undertaking to request relief from the U.S. government.
Has your state been declared an economic disaster (yet)? If so, check here to see if your business may be eligible for a low interest disaster relief loan.
Some towns have instituted rent relief programs for small businesses, while property landlords are allowing forbearance or deferment on rents. Ask yours.
You realize antibacterial soap won’t kill a virus, right? Many don’t. Make sure your materials and processes for cleaning vehicles and your business pass OSHA requirements. Bobit is hosting a webinar on fleet policies to minimize COVID-19 contagion this Thursday.
Look at every expense: This is the time to create a healthier base to build on long term. Do you need an outside cleaning service, or can an employee do the job to avoid one more layoff?
At this moment, the fear of the unknown can consume you. This stimulus package hasn’t yet reached the businesses and people who need it. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, not right now.
Push yourself to think outside the box. Look to your employees to help in this regard, as Cramer of Budget Harrisburg did. You hired them because they’re amazing people — they’re waiting for moments like that to shine.