We’re now many weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, with shelter-at-home orders issued by most States and local governments. Many business sectors are closed or limited, and many in the workforce have been relegated to working remotely. While the future is unknown, there’s still a lot to be optimistic about, with talk of reopening the economy increasing daily, and some evidence that the stimulus package in play will help ease the challenges facing businesses, both small and large.
In the meantime, and since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, The Glass Guru remains one of many businesses classified as essential during this ongoing situation. As glass (fenestration) is considered an essential element of the “health and safety” of a dwelling, The Glass Guru remains poised to assist homeowners with their glass and glazing needs, with some limited exceptions. As an organization, we’ve worked closely with our franchisees to establish appropriate health and safety guidelines (as recommended by the CDC.) It’s allowing us to continue to serve our customers in the home, while also respecting the safety of both our team members and our customers.
We also established simple guidelines that clearly put the decision about whether to stay open or not squarely with our franchisees in their local markets. In addition to the direct support that our franchise locations are receiving from the franchisor team at headquarters, a number of other valuable resources are available as well. The Franchising industry at large becomes very close-knit during times like these. The International Franchise Association (IFA), numerous franchise brokers organizations, and franchise-specific organizations have been offering valuable webinars on how to best navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and this information has proven invaluable for franchisees and franchisors alike.
At this time, our franchise locations continue to serve their customers in their respective markets, with some limitations. In many states, our locations are continuing to offer all available products and services. In others, locations are focused squarely on window repair or replacement, glass replacement, and/or health and safety items like sneeze guards. In most cases, our franchise locations have limited their showroom hours, or relegated the showroom to “by appointment only.” In only a few cases, out of concerns for the health and safety of their staff, franchise owners have elected to suspend operations.
Franchise owners report that they are still doing estimates, and still doing work. The organization saw an expected decrease in April revenues, but are still reporting numbers in many cases that are on-par with the same period last year. While the future is uncertain, franchise locations are keeping the pipeline open, providing estimates. This will bode well, as there’s likely going to be some pent up demand on the back end of this situation.
When it comes to entrepreneurs seeking franchise opportunities, it seems that times like these can be a great time to look. The Glass Guru has seen a significant increase in the number of franchise opportunity requests over the past 4 weeks. The company quickly adapted our traditional in-person discovery days, to a more appropriate “virtual discovery day”, where franchise candidates can garner all the brand information that they need, in a convenient webinar format.
With the future still full of uncertainty, The Glass Guru has no choice but to forge forward. We take great comfort in knowing that we’re still able to maintain some degree of normalcy, in an otherwise abnormal world. We’re pleased to be able to continue to serve our customers with their window, door, and glass needs whenever we can. We’re grateful for the fact that over the years, The Glass Guru has demonstrated a degree of economic resilience, having grown up in hard times. We believe that with the hard work and efforts of our franchisees and their staff, The Glass Guru is well positioned to ride out this storm, keep the operational flywheel spinning, and have the sustained momentum to come out the other side of this as a stronger organization than we did coming in.