Sarah Bruce
Public Relations / Member Engagement
Email: sarahbruce@ara.bc.ca
Phone: 604-432-7987

Distance and Disinfecting

by Paul McGeachie

The coronavirus is arguably a longer-term changer of business, a change that demands endurance and a positive outlook.

It is a strange time for dealers. Not only because they must stay two metres from their customers but also with protecting their staff while disinfecting everything in sight.

Even though the sensible “stay at home” order will eventually lift, there will be new financial challenges for many customers. This is not a time for the faint of heart.

It can seem counterintuitive to look down the road when you are sinking in the swamp, but knowing where you are going and having a target of some sort is a great source of hope for everyone.

The Motorcycle and Powersport Dealers division is working on two fronts. The first is in conjunction with all the ARA divisions to o er best practices and COVID-19 resources gathered by the association. This includes a list of dealer best practices we have seen so far:

  • As much as possible, ask customers to do business with you electronically. Showroom access should be limited in almost all cases, if not closed o entirely;
  • Staff and customers need to employ the two-metre safe distance rule. Mark your door in front of counters if needed;
  • If activity increases, the general retail policy can be used to limit the number of customers coming into the store at one time. Options can include one-way aisles as well as designated entry and exits;
    For parts pickup, an option can be to meet outside at the customer’s vehicle; and,
  • For service appointments, some dealers are increasing pickup and delivery options for customer vehicles. Also, minimize contact when a unit is being dropped o or picked up.

Cleaning tips:

  • Strict sanitizing schedule of all surfaces;
  • Door handles, phones and computers sanitized and disinfected every hour; and,
  • Debit machines disinfected after each customer.

The other front for the division is the ongoing work with stakeholders and industry initiatives. There are less face-to-face meetings right now but things are still progressing.

As business changes, evolves, recovers, and grows, these efforts will hold us all in good stead:

Dealer Summit planning is top of mind. (Go to araevents.ca/summit2020 for more information.) It is slated for October 4 and 5 this year at the fabulous Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos. This is an important inaugural event. The industry committee is reviewing the agenda and ensuring the best attendee experience possible.

MPD Division’s-Industry Working Committee scheduling has been delayed but the next meeting will be anchored by a RoadSafetyBC stakeholder session around the newly proposed graduated licencing legislation.

Ministry of Forest and Lands and the Provincial Trails Advisory Board has welcomed the division as an active industry partner. The next year will be important as options on trails funding are developed. A suggestion has been a trails levy at various points of sale.

Motorcycle BC, our ground-breaking industry resource initiative, is getting a second look by the government. It has taken on a new economic stimulus aspect as restarting the economy takes front stage.

The VSA Industry Working Committee has welcomed the MPD division as a regular opportunity to bring forth dealer concerns.

Adesa’s Motorcycle and Powersport Auction initiative has had an understandable delay for the spring session but the fall event is on track. The virtual auction technology has attracted early interest.

Skills Canada BC, and the national competition were both cancelled this year. Next year is on track. This annual competition dovetails with the division’s role on the BCIT Powersport Advisory Committee (PAC) and the work with the Industry Training Authority (ITA) as a way to highlight industry careers and technician development.

Provincial Motorcycle Vehicle Inspection Licensed Facilities number about 80. About half of these are not motorcycle businesses. This initiative is investigating the idea that a prerequisite for facility inspection is that an operation is in fact a licensed motorcycle business.

If we stick together, we will ride through this together.

ARA staff continue to work as much as possible where circumstances allow, often from home. Some ARA events have had to cancel or postpone. Advocacy work continues both long-term and with the government’s immediate public health priorities. The goal is to stay on the radar as a positive stakeholder.

Motorcycling and powersports aren’t going to disappear, but all of us need to ensure that the organizations which represent us, fighting to keep riding safe and affordable, remain healthy too.
So please, even if business is extra tough for a while, support organizations that support your industry. Make sure you renew your membership, or if you are not a member join today!