If you think your dealership is safe from natural disasters, you may want to trade in your extraordinary faith for a newspaper subscription. Here are just a few headlines from the past year:
Notice anything about these stories? It’s as much about what they do have in common—a wiped-out auto dealer—as what they don’t. Natural disasters don’t discriminate. They happen year-round and impact communities all over the United States. There’s not a single genre of catastrophe to watch out for, but multiple kinds—fire, flooding, wind, hail, and so on.
Right now millions of Americans are recovering from, preparing for, or currently experiencing a disaster. Edie Wines, a National Automobile Dealers Association Academy Instructor, is among the unfortunate multitude. In a NADA article published last month, she writes:
“Perpetual preparedness may seem a bit redundant, but I discovered recently that there is a big difference in preparing for an impending disaster and keeping those preparations up to date.
At this writing, my husband, cat and I are on the run from Hurricane Dorian. We made the decision to escape to our son’s place in the North Carolina mountains when the forecast showed Dorian’s most likely path of making landfall in our area as a Category 3 hurricane.”
The experience of fleeing Hurricane Dorian—and discovering the documents in her “to go” box weren’t up to date—caused Wines to reflect on how dealers get ready (or don’t) for disasters. She challenges dealers to consider how prepared they are for a catastrophe: “Could you carry on and rebuild in the event of a partial or total loss of your physical property?”
It’s an imperative question no matter where you’re located or how many rooftops you operate. If you haven’t formulated a disaster preparedness plan, here are a few things to do today, as suggested by Wines:
- Back up your data daily.
- Keep digital copies of your documents—sales paperwork, contracts, agreements, tax returns, titles, legal forms, and so forth.
- Secure sensitive information in a safe location.
- Make a list of all items to take with you in the event of a disaster.
- Create a plan for communicating with employees.
- Record video of your dealership and the property you own.