Look to Industry Peers to Answer These Coronavirus Survival Questions
You’re probably asking yourself many questions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s why industry associations and your fellow security professionals are best-equipped to help.
What new topic for this column could be timelier than the coronavirus? It’s wreaking havoc on our health — mental and physical — as well as for our families, friends, employees and businesses.
Some states have been hit hard, mine included (New York), and others as of this writing wait in anticipation for the virus to spread to their area.
Availability of testing has certainly caused the exponential increase in known infected people. That, of course, increases panic. The coronavirus pandemic is going to change how security company owners and managers operate.
There are going to be so many questions on new issues, like:
- Do I have to continue to employ all my employees?
- Do I furlough or suspend or fire employees, and what difference will it make to the employee and to the business?
- Should I continue to pay health insurance for employees who have been fired, temporarily and permanently?
- Should I require employees to work if they are uncomfortable and what reasons should be considered legitimate not to come to work?
- Can I withhold rent, utility and other bills associated with the operation of the business?
- Can I hold back money from my central station; insurance company; vendors?
- Should I require employees to carry special ID or employment identification?
- Should I be doing installations and service even if my subscribers permit it?
- Can I delay filing my taxes and can I delay paying my taxes for 2019 and estimated 2020 taxes?
- Can I get any government assistance?
- How do I get a forgivable loan, and what exactly is a forgivable loan?
- Once I get the loan, how do I qualify for the forgiveness of that loan; how do the loan proceeds need to be disbursed and used, and what new restrictions will my business need to comply with?
- Can employees who get the virus sue the employer for requiring the employee to work?
- Will Workers Compensation be those employees’ only avenue for recovery?
- What changes in customer relations should you expect?
- Should you change the customer 90-day delinquent rule before defaulting a subscriber and terminating services?
- How aggressive should your collection efforts be?
- Are any customers exempt from paying you or permitted to delay payment?
- What happens when your customer files bankruptcy? Never happened to you? It will now.
As you can see, there are many questions, many more than I have mentioned above, that need answers. These are questions your company has not had to focus on — at least not all at once and with such urgency. Of course, it’s beyond the scope of this article to articulate all the answers.
Most of the questions don’t have yes or no answers and will depend on various factors. Many of the answers may lie in the new stimulus legislation that was passed by Congress as I was writing this. How that law will be applied and implemented remains to be seen.
There is one email after another, one webinar and seminar after another, all purporting to have answers and offer services. They are running their businesses and trying to stay relevant, just like you.
Be patient and understanding to those soliciting you, trying to inform or help you, your employees, friends, business associates and customers. These are trying times for everyone.
You should also be mindful that the many professionals who service the alarm industry, many of whom are regularly featured in SSI, are your obvious choice when you need advice. They were here before the virus and they will be here after the virus.
Suggesting that they deserve your support would not really convey the message I want to make; they are your best option for advice because it’s their business to support your business.
For legal issues, including the loan forgiveness program, as always Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum is there to support the needs of the alarm industry. I hope you’re healthy and stay that way.
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