November '20

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18 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2020 A few things have changed for Michael Ma, the owner of M2 Motoring in Southern California and Nevada. "Depending on whether the car that we're working on is in Las Vegas or Southern Cali- fornia, there are different protocol levels," Ma explains. "We sanitize the car prior to and after we're done working on it to give our customers peace of mind. This isn't a huge undertaking; it just takes more time. I'm pretty selective of the work we do, and gen- erally the installs are being done for repeat customers, or on long-term project vehicles." What has been pushed aside, he adds, are the friendly person-to-person interactions of years past. "There isn't as much customer commu- nication in person and opportunities to build rapport. It's mainly being done via text or phone calls now to respect their personal bubble and social distancing. The majority of my customers don't really care or mind, and they know that I'm a respon- sible person, and so are my partners." Still, he reports, business has stayed strong. "We have had very little change in our processes or workload. In that sense, we are blessed and fortunate. As far as our clients and workload goes, I have only had one project delayed as a result of this, and it was already on a small delay anyway. Otherwise, our workload has actually increased during this timeā€”in fact, we're looking to add a competent, qualified employee if anyone out there is looking to join a small shop that tries to do big things." Inconsistent rules and regulations regarding mask-wearing have confused Randy Borcherding of Painthouse in Cypress, Texas, the most, even as his busi- ness continues to see steady work. "Being that our shop is on our home property, I don't have to get out much. When I do, the reduction in traffic is ironi- cally a nice side effect of COVID-19. After all, we live in Houston and traffic is a norm for us seven days a week." EVENT CANCELATIONS The cancelation of the SEMA Show and a host of other events has already had a tremendous impact on the industry. Brands that usually debut new products at these shows have had to rely on other methods to spread the word, ranging from press releases and videos to advertising. Also, many manufacturers have not been able to optimize inventory flow back to This 1955 Chevy pickup is a good example of Randy Borcherding's handiwork at Paintworks. (Photo by Randy Borcherding) Plenty of space at 4Wheel Performance allows for social distancing. (Photo courtesy 4Wheel Performance) The popularity of the Subaru WRX has never waned, and M2 continues to modify them. (Photo courtesy M2 Motoring) PROGRESS DURING A P A N D E M I C

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