There is no getting away from it: news providers across the country are constantly reporting on the recent flooding and how those that have been affected are trying to cope. Most of these stories have mainly focussed on homeowners who have had to evacuate their properties due to severe flooding, however more and more are starting to look at how businesses have also been affected.
In fact, just today Prime Minister David Cameron announced that there will be a ten million pound fund put into place in order to help small businesses across the country. For motor traders this is extremely good news, as even though their motor trade insurance policies may be able to cover the costs of damage to the vehicles in their care, the fact is that many may be out of business for a substantial period of time.
Discussing the effects of the recent flooding, Mr Cameron said: “I am hopeful that the work to strengthen long-term flood defences, and the emergency measures which have been put in place over recent days and weeks will mean that we can minimise the number of homes and businesses affected by the latest high water levels. The recent flooding has been a tragedy for all those affected and my thoughts are with them.
“While it is of no comfort to those individuals, over 1.3 million other homes have been protected since December and we will continue to invest in flood defence measures to protect even more. Extensive efforts to protect and repair properties and infrastructure are ongoing by many thousands of people among agencies, the military and the emergency services. I speak for us all when I thank them profusely for their hard work.”
Motor traders based near the River Thames or the Somerset Levels are likely to be most affected, as flooding in these areas have been the worst in years. However, even if your business hasn’t been directly affected by the x flooding, it is likely for all motor traders to feel the after effects. For example, the director of AA Cars, David Bruce, has recently warned motor traders to avoid unwittingly buying vehicles that have been damaged by flood water.
He added: “While a car can be dried out with no obvious visual damage, immersion in floods can store up a range of potentially costly or dangerous problems that could emerge at a later date. For instance, catalytic converter and exhaust system life can be seriously compromised and there can be host of potentially serious electrical problems – including airbags spontaneously going off with a risk of injury.
“Many owners may not tell their insurer that their car has been affected by flood water and attempt to dispose of it through the used car market, passing on potentially disastrous problems to an unwitting buyer.” With the issue of flood damaged vehicles becoming more prominent, it is likely that a number of motor traders will soon see a drop in the amount of second-hand vehicles available, meaning that their businesses could suffer.
Another after effect that motor traders could soon see is a decline in car sales in general, as many people that have been affected by the flooding will be saving their money in order to rebuild their homes or pay home and content insurance excesses. Even those that have luckily escaped the floods this year may soon be investing in flood defences, as it’s very likely that we’ll see even more severe weather over the next few weeks and even 2015.
So how can motor traders protect themselves over the next few weeks and months? Firstly, you will need to research how badly the area you are based in has been affected, and then make a business plan accordingly. If you expect a slump in business over the next few months now is the time to start cutting back as much as possible and create a contingency fund so that you can get back on your feet in the future. You could also offer discount rates to long-term customers whose vehicles have been damaged by the floods, as not only will this mean you still have business but it will also help build your reputation in the local community.