Opinion: Business is strong but lockdowns are still a concern

GW columnist, Aaron Phillips on why it’s not unreasonable to expect further national lockdowns

Opinion: Business is strong but lockdowns are still a concern
Image: Bigstock.

I have to admit that the announcement of the second lockdown, although not unexpected, did concern me.

Aaron Phillips of Jackson & Phillips Automotive Services in Leighton Buzzard.

From the moment that the rumours started about another lockdown, I began to worry about for our business.

I made the decision to wait and hear what the restrictions would be before making any decisions.

After all, we were better prepared this time, we already had systems in place for disinfecting vehicles, protecting ourselves and our customers.

I called a staff meeting to discuss our options.

I still wasn’t sure myself, would we need to close again?

Would furlough be an option this time? What would be the best way to protect my staff, my customers and ultimately the business?

I arrived at work early and started looking further into the options available.

Related: What England’s new tier system means for garages

The fact that the furlough scheme had been made more flexible was a definite benefit.

During the meeting it became apparent that the team were in favour of continuing to work, so now we needed to focus on keeping our 15 members of staff safe and busy.

Even though we were better prepared and had an idea of what to expect, I was worried about the impact on our workload.

Especially as the workload after the first lockdown had been huge, we were almost permanently over-booked.

The first phone call of the day didn’t help, it was a cancellation and the next two were to check if we were still open.

Related: MOT demand peaks with test stations now facing a fall in volume

At that point I set about arranging an email shot and social media posts, to announce our intentions to our customers and let them know what to expect on arrival and that we would still be on hand if they need us.

After the first lockdown we had changed several of our processes and even our card payment provider to gain better rates on over the phone card transactions, as well as disinfecting all vehicles and keys (along with the usual seat covers, floor mats and steering wheel covers), reception was now closed again and we ask customers to wait in their car until we meet them and check them in.

Strictly no waiting on site and payments are taken over the phone where possible.

So far things are going well, we still have plenty of work to do, bookings are coming in and the phone keeps ringing, MOT slots are still in high demand.

Related: Repair and servicing sector still ill-equipped for “monumental” EV switch, IMI warns

That all sounds great however, I am still concerned.

The second national lockdown was very different to the first.

People, in general, seem much more relaxed.

We are even having to remind some people about social distancing.

This all leads me to believe that lockdown two will have very little effect on the current situation.

Time will tell.

Share your comments and experiences below.

Home Page Forums Opinion: Business is strong but lockdowns are still a concern

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  • #204062 Reply

    I have to admit that the announcement of the second lockdown, although not unexpected, did concern me. Aaron Phillips of Jackson & Phillips Automotive
    [See the full post at: Opinion: Business is strong but lockdowns are still a concern]

    #204092 Reply
    Meat-Head
    Participant

    No matter how hard you try fairly sure everyone is going to get this Milly
    Thing.

    We got peasants bringing cars non stop, mainly old people who need their
    Cars to go to garden centre.

    Yes we get what you call legit jobs in, meant to be national lockdown
    Bojoclown said so, airbag light on, abs etc but as normal all mot fail

    Garage round corner had hoss box in for new radio – why dies anyone
    Need to move a donkey we are locked down- damm fuds.

    Be nice if we shut, got my golf and focus to get done!

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