Small businesses are facing unprecedented times as the coronavirus pandemic continues. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act may provide much needed relief.
WBCB reached out to businesses owners in the local area for how they are dealing with the situation. They also provided their thoughts on what help the CARES Act could provide.
The Small Business Administration will process loan applications. More information on what the CARES Act offers is available from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship here.
Maaco Collission Repair and Painting – Ewing, NJ:
One business owner who intends to take advantage of the CARES Act is Matt Palmer. He runs Maaco Collision Repair and Painting in Ewing, NJ.
Leading up to the pandemic, Palmer said things were going well. Even the week before the situation changed, his shop was busy.
But now they are losing out on the most profitable time of the year. Less people on the road means less vehicles to repair. This is on top of a winter with relatively little snow, which means fewer repairs as well.
“This virus has really wreaked havoc for my business,” said Palmer. “This is the first time in 25 years of owning a business that he will have to apply for a loan.”
Maaco, and many other collision repair shops, are considered “essential” and will remain open. Additionally, Maaco has a contract with the New Jersey State Police to repair their vehicles.
“I am torn with staying open and closing,” said Palmer. “I want to stay healthy for my family but want to work to provide for them.”
Palmer is also doing his best to keep all his employees on payroll. However, time is against him. As the shut downs last longer, the situation becomes increasingly grim.
“I also want my employees to work and be safe as well. A few of them have been with me for the whole 25 years.”
Fortunately, Palmer told WBCB he believes the CARES Act will provide a “helpful and relatively easier process.” He thinks it may allow his business to survive.
Part of the CARES Act is the Paycheck Protection Program. It provides forgivable loans to employers to cover payroll expenses. Business owners can apply for a loan through June 30, 2020.
“I have great sympathy for the health care workers and the families who have lost loved ones to this terrible virus. I truly am praying things will get back to normal soon,” Palmer said. “It is the first time I have ever felt scared while owning my business.”
Begley, Carlin & Mandio, LLP – Langhorne
As a law firm, business is different these days for Begley, Carlin & Mandio. Due to social distancing, clients cannot go into the office.
However, Doug Maloney, Esq., says their office is still open, in a sense. Using phone and email, they can still provide their usual services. Attorneys, who are all working remotely, can then file court documents online.
Unfortunately, the law firm has still taken a hit. It has had to furlough approximately 25 secretarial and administrative staff. Some are still working part-time and are working remotely.
Maloney told WBCB Begley, Carlin & Mandio has already submitted an application for PPP. He does not know exactly what to expect, and their application had not been reviewed at the time of writing.
“Our business will survive the Coronavirus disruption, with or without the CARES Act,” Maloney said. Still, Maloney hopes the PPP will allow them to bring all staff back on full-time sooner than they could otherwise.
Payroll Service Solutions – Southampton
With its office in Southampton, Payroll Service Solutions sits in a unique position among small businesses. While the business is looking into applying for CARES Act relief itself, it is also helping other businesses to submit their own applications.
Founder and President Dan Maggiani says their business world is very different with the coronavirus. They can reach existing clients via video meetings, but prospects are a challenge.
PSS is focusing heavily on helping other businesses navigate the CARES Act.
“Hopefully, it will allow them to hire back and retain their employees for when this economic crisis is over,” said Maggiani. “Our hearts go out to everyone during this time. As you know, small businesses are the backbone of this country. Many of our clients have invested their talents starting their companies and employing the many thousands of workers who contribute to their success.”
Adjusting to a different business environment, PSS is offering online services for clients, their employees, and accountants. Additionally, They are also updating their website with information on how businesses can handle the coronavirus situation.
As for their own situation, Maggiani says they decided to keep all staff even before the CARES Act.
“At PSS, we know that our employees are what keep us providing the excellent level of customer service that keep our clients coming back. We are confident that our clients will do everything in their power to bounce back from this stronger than ever.”
Maggiani noted they are receiving many calls from clients who need their help to make it through uncertain times. “We are here ensuring that employees are paid, questions are answered and reports are sent to them timely.”