Chasidy Rae Sisk


Chasidy Rae Sisk is a freelance writer from New Castle, DE, who writes on a variety of topics.

She can be reached at crsisk@gmail.com.



Friday, 08 May 2020 16:15

Local Associations Discuss Impact of COVID-19 on Members and Organizations

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Collision repair industry associations around the country may take different stances on various matters, but one shared commonality is the intent of improving the businesses of their members.

The global pandemic is impacting various communities and even individual businesses in different ways. Several association leaders graciously agreed to discuss some of the challenges they’ve seen, as well as some of the solutions they’ve presented, while helping member shops navigate the current situation to the best of their ability.


Addressing the impact COVID-19 has had on shops so far, the consensus appears to be that there is no consensus.


Some shops are experiencing significant reductions in workload, while others have seen increases, and still others have shut their doors.


“While all shops have been impacted, the severity ranges quite a bit," said Amanda Henry, executive director of AASP-PA. "Some shops have combated the effects of the impact of the virus by shortening their work week, changing their hours or laying off employees. All have ramped up their marketing offers, some in rather creative ways, including offering to run errands for their customers while they are servicing their vehicles.”


Cathi Webb, executive director of the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA), said layoffs have become a reality in her members’ businesses, and she reported some smaller shops will only be able to survive the shutdown for a limited number of months.


Josh Kent, executive director of the Carolinas Collision Association (CCA), agreed some shops are busier while others are extremely slow.


“Some shops are taking advantage and tuning into free education webinars; others are not,” he added.


“The business impact on the industry has certainly not been insignificant, and it’s created a financial strain on members," said AASP-MN Executive Director Judell Anderson. "Despite the workforce shortage, they’ve found ways to keep their valued employees on the payroll and to provide safe, innovative service to the motoring public while restrictions are in place. Like any other challenge, those who have positioned their business strategically for the long term will survive, although probably with a few battle scars.”


“Most of our shops report anywhere between a 50% and a 75% drop in business," said Ricki Garrett, executive director of the Mississippi Collision Repair Association (MSCRA.) "Some have indicated that they are still catching up on previous work orders, but they anticipate business to slow more in the coming weeks. 


"When asked if they are having difficulty getting parts or PPE, most of them have responded that delivery of parts has slowed, and some of them have indicated difficulty in getting enough PPE. A number of the shops have applied for the loans under the CARES Act, and some of them have already received checks.”


AASP/NJ President Jerry McNee observed that most shops in his area have suffered from a lower car count, and some have temporarily closed.


“Everyone has had to change some aspects of the way they do business, whether it be meeting customers outside, disinfecting vehicles and their working environment on a continual basis, or possible layoffs due to the reduction in business," said Burl Richards, president of the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT.) "This is a life-changing event that no one was prepared for.”

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