Part 2

This is the continuation story I promised when I wrote the original “Bad Things Happen To Good People” and although this story will continue on for years, this is the part where it starts getting better…. let’s recap:

One of the facilities I coach and train with recently brought a car into the shop for a starting issue that had yet to be diagnosed or inspected for the cause of the customer complaint and as the day came to an end, the vehicle was pushed into the shop, luckily it was the last car go into the shop that night.  The shop manager did his normal walk through to make sure all the shop doors were locked, all the driver side vehicle windows were down (you all do this or should to make sure a vehicle does not “auto” lock with the keys in them, right?), checked that power is off to all the equipment, set the alarm and left.  Normal right?  It is 99.9% of the time and it occurs in every shop across the country, virtually the same way, every day!  In the morning you come in to everything as you’ve left it the night before and your day starts……..until it doesn’t!

The short version here is that a fire broke out in this vehicle; PD arrived after an alarm triggered and the Fire Department responded.  They figure from time PD arrived to fire was out was probably less than 20 minutes, but the damage was done!  The heat and smoke had totaled 9 cars and left all of the others with damage at some level, but the worst was yet to come!  The building interior had sustained so much heat that it had virtually destroyed everything inside.  Tool carts were melted 30 feet away, smoke made it all the way to the waiting room and left it unusable, and the Fire department had cut the main electrical into the building completely off.  The inside of the shop was a mess and remember, the owners and their kids were on vacation on the opposite side of the country!!

Fast forward 10 - 15 days, (the owners returned a week later as there was nothing they could do by cutting their trip short) and when the Team was finally allowed to start removing vehicles from the facility, the clean-up started.  The cars that weren’t totaled were sent to a detailer to remove the smoke & smell, and then the process of the insurance inspectors started.  Since the business owners didn’t own the building, 2 separate insurance companies were involved, the business owners and the landlords. For those of you who have never actually dealt with a major loss and insurance companies….well, it is NOT an easy process, and now put 2 different companies into the mix, WOW!  The business owner’s agent was there the next morning accessing damage and liabilities, and let me tell you, this is the type agent everyone wants!  Glenn Hoffman of Discovery Bay Insurance was there from the start, assured the owners that all would be dealt with expediently, and with only a few hang-ups made their process fairly smooth.  The buildings insurance however……well….wasn’t that smooth!

Fast forward again, 10 LONG MONTHS, and they once again have an automotive repair business.  Throughout this process they kept up on weekly updates to Facebook, even when there wasn’t much to report.  They continued to answer the phones, tried to help their clients sort out each particular issue and even built relationships with other repair facilities in the area they could trust to handle anything that couldn’t wait until they reopened.  They spoke with clients daily to give them personal assurances that they would be back to it once again, “exceed their customer’s expectations” and they waited for the final paint brush stroke to once again, open their doors.

Last weekend, that happened, their Grand Re-Opening and it was spectacular!  What had taken 10 months to complete came to fruition, and it was nothing short of incredible.  Because they had started with an empty building they were able to redesign it to fit their particular needs, actually to fit their customer’s needs.  With the financial help of the owners, the work that was done by the entire Team to save money as well as the insurance company’s money (for the base rebuild) they were able to add more hoists, open up more “shop” space and build a front office that rivals none in this industry.  Everything was purposed or custom built to assure that every detail of the customers experience would be perfect.  From the coffee bar to the large bay window looking into the shop area, to the ADA approved counter and bathroom, it was perfect! Because the customers had all been notified either by phone, saw it on Facebook or got a postcard from them, the Grand Re-Opening party went off without a hitch.  I would guess that a couple hundred friends and clients were there on a Saturday before Easter Sunday, it was nothing short of incredible!

The Lesson—Check with your insurance agent to make sure you have enough coverage AND that it is the right coverage to make sure you can sustain ANY disaster.  When the owner re-upped his coverage last time he asked his personal insurance agent for a quote to see if he could save him money, when the agent returned with a quote it was double his current premium, but that “is what was needed for your business” was the response!  Yes, it seems as though fire is probably the worst, but floods or customer’s liabilities can all be disastrous as well.  Make sure you have “business interruption” coverage and that your employees will be paid in the interim (they only lost 1 employee in 10 months!), and above all make sure you have the right agent and company to make this process is as seamless as possible!  This could/should have been an 8—10 week process, maybe a little longer for changes, but because the building owner’s coverage was less than perfect, it was 10 months of misery and pain for everyone.

This story is far from over as now we have to see how many clients hung in there, and how many will return?  If the appointment calendar is any indication, it will start where it left off 10 months ago, serving the community at the highest level of expertise and professionalism in the automotive field ever for this community.  With so many appointments already on the books, the growth of the shop will be required to handle the influx of clients yet to come!  GREAT JOB TEAM!!


If you need help with your business and want to see and feel the successes you expected when you opened your doors, give us a call at:

The ACT Group, 805-444-2598 or visit our website for more information