April 23, 2020—A new report from Womply, a data and tech company serving small businesses, has weighed in the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the auto maintenance and quick lube industry.
According to the report, weekly revenue across 30,000 auto repair shops found business is down 58 percent on a year-over-year basis, compared to 41 percent for the auto repair industry. The report also states that the week of April 6 was the industry's worst revenue week of 2020, and notes eight percent of these businesses have stopped operations entirely.
Other key findings included 21 percent of businesses said their business would last less than 30 days if sales stopped, 55 percent said they’d have less than 90 days, and 57 percent said a major slowdown in sales would be “extremely damaging” to their business.
Brad Plothow, the company's vice president of corporate marketing, says this data shows the industry is being impacted more than others, like the Health and Beauty industry, for example, with auto repair, maintenance, and quick lube business sales down by about half. Plothow says business has been impacted due to less people being on the road.
Plothow says he thinks the reason quick lubes are being more affected than auto repair is because of the urgency factor. When a person's car breaks down, they need to take care of the situation immediately at an auto repair shop. For quick lubes, however, this is more of an elected maintenance service that can be put off, which Plothow says what usually was every three months is now being pushed back to six months.
"Time is ticking for all small businesses and shops," Plothow says. "The longer [the shutdown] lasts, the more businesses will be forced to shut down and maybe never open back up."
In response to these findings, Plothow suggests shops get creative with their time, doing good-will efforts to build brand recognition, like offering free oil changes and delivering meals to healthcare workers, and taking advantage of the programs and financial aid available to small business owners.