Storms are Coming.

We live in the sub-tropics here in the Houston area; however, there is just about no corner of Texas that does not experience sudden violent storms in the spring and Summer. Often times, they catch us unaware or off-guard and can do severe damage to not only our local and inventory – they can inflict severe emotional trauma as well.  

How are you and your employees equipped to handle these eventualities?  

More Bad storms are coming. Where do YOU start first?  Move the inventory, shut down, and unplug all electronics in the office. Make sure you, your family, and your employees are safe? Policies and procedures MUST be formed, agreed upon, and most IMPORTANTLY, be written down somewhere easily accessible.  

After the storm, what is next?  What damages have occurred, when is the power to be restored?  Do you or an employee need to “babysit” the lot? Should it be something of a tornado or hurricane – Steps to re-open. Are you a Shelter for the community? Or How you help the community get to the Shelter?

Being Prepared! 

Do you have simple provisions stockpiled – water / toilet paper / soap / first aid supplies / emergency change of clothes / medications / dry goods / cans of Sterno or bottles of propane (and a way to use them) / cooking utensils / canned goods / battery operated lights & fans / BATTERIES (for lights, fans, cell phones ) / gas / portable generator / sheets of plywood (cover windows) / tarps? For less than $2000 you can get most of these items and be ready for the storms we KNOW are going to come.  This kind of thing, when left to chance, will invariably lead to panic on top of disaster – two things that do not go well together!  

I know of one dealer that had a rather handsome “stash” in a container on his lot. A couple of palettes of bottled water, cases of dried goods, canned goods (all rotated and in date – smart man), batteries, flashlights, cases of paper goods (tp).  After a twister came through, he opened his pantry to the community – not to be Mr. Big.  In his words “I had it and they REALLY needed it – just to survive; besides this is MY HOME TOO!” 

That day he became a part of the community by his caring and concern for his neighbors. As serendipity, his business still has not stopped growing.  Not because of what he did – because people saw WHO he really was – one of them! He put his pants on one leg at a time, he suffered loss – however, his community was a priority for him.  

So my friends, are you even THINKING of getting prepared? Your livelihood DEPENDS on it!  

One of the 1st things people need after a disaster is transportation.  If your location is prone to flooding – where do you relocate it in the eventuality of a class 4 hurricane bearing down on your vicinity?  Going to lose all your inventory because you insist on “keeping your head in the sand”?  Or it’s too ”expensive” or it takes too much time to sit down and do all this!  

Scenario – bad storm hits, your cars were moved to high ground and your files, PC’s were off-site.  Your neighbors lost 14 units and all their electronics (not to mention salvaging files).  Would it be safe to say that overnight YOUR units are worth 20% MORE than they were before the storm?! 

PLEASE do not misquote me here – I despise price gouging and that is NOT what I am saying!  Think – you have to raise your price by 20% BECAUSE the replacement unit will be 15-25% more (supply and demand)!  Raising your pricing by 50% or more IS gouging and will cost you in the eyes of your community – for short term profit; it’s not worth it.  

After the storm is not the time to get all this done – NOW in the little “slow days” we get in the summer vacation months IS!  

Having a clear plan is on paper in front of you (or your employee) before the disaster is ripping off your roof will save hours of confusion and lots of money.  Lifeboats serve a purpose on ships – where’s yours and have you done your “Life drills”?  For once in your business – be a boy scout and get prepared!  

Harvey saw a lot of my clients “go under” (pun intended), suffering heavy losses financially, mentally and physically! Being prepared is ALWAYS a good R.O.I. (return-on-investment) whether it’s preparing your dealership, home and family, or it’s preparing yourself for a different type of ”storm” .

Make sure you are “liquid” enough to run your business and pay your employees at ALL time ($10-15k).  Review your insurance and coverages once a year – shop, it’s your hard-earned dollars here.  Take inventory of what you have, then figure out what you will need to “ride out” the next storm that crosses your life and come out OK.  Then put it on paper, be sure that EVERYONE knows where your “DISASTER PLAN” is (business and home)!  



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