The LBM industry is operating in unprecedented times. In times of uncertainty and crises, the American people come together as innovators to solve the threats that face us. During my career, I have observed the LBM industry answering to the call to take care of our business and our communities time and time again. This time is no different—we immediately began working shoulder to shoulder for the common good.
I wanted to share with you some of the actions being taken on your behalf by the Lumber and Building Material Dealer Associations that serve this country. There is a lot of information out there, but as our businesses are operating in difficult times (and from all indications we will be for the near future), we need to prepare ourselves in all facets of our businesses; from HR, operations, accounting and finance. To that end, I would like to share a link with you created by the Construction Suppliers Association. Among the many resources available, this link will bring you the latest developments in the areas of HR, SBA loans, operational protocol and guidance. Having the information in one place is advantageous for quick reference.
Additionally, your associations are working at the state, regional and federal levels to ensure the health of the LBM industry. We also are working in conjunction with the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association in Washington, D.C., as well as other associations affiliated with LBM. As it stands now, the Department of Homeland Security has designated the LBM industry operations as “essential” and “life sustaining”, and their guidance has been sent to all state governors. However, each state can make the call as to whether to issue a “Shelter in Place” order, and several states have already done so. They may elect to not recognize the DHS guidance as to whether the LBM operations in each state are essential businesses. We are working to ensure that each governor accepts the DHS guidance enabling our companies to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, a letter was sent to each state governor on our behalf from NLBMDA outlining our position. Here’s a link to download the letter.
We recognize that there may be more questions than answers at this point, and from a governmental action standpoint, sometimes the situation may change on an hourly basis. We also know that based on the data we do have, that we are likely heading into a small recession. It should be short lived, with a very steep decline and a steep bounce as we come out of it—but in the meantime, the best thing that we can do it arm ourselves with relevant information. Your associations have been and will continue to bring you webinars to update you on the latest information and guidance. We recommend that you begin steps to streamline your business practices as quickly as possible. That could include:
• Evaluate work from home options where you can. Not all facets of the industry can do that but do what you can to have your staff work from home.
• Evaluate your AR and AP immediately. Cash flow is the life blood of any business. LBM Journal will be hosting a webinar by Thea Dudley on Tuesday, March 24 to discuss actions you can take now to shore up your finances.
• Look at the latest SBA options—the government is taking actions quickly to help mitigate damage to the United States economy. Look at the SBA link provided above to see if you might qualify for disaster relief.
• Use your CPA—they are well informed on federal guidelines for payroll tax breaks, etc. in place now during the pandemic.
• HR questions—your associations have resources to provide guidance for any HR questions you might have.
• Remember—your associations are always a resource to assist you, but especially when the chips are down. We are advocating in your best interest and will provide you timely information and education.
Below is a list of your associations working hard to represent you. Please reach out to us—we are here to serve you. Wishing you, your families, your business and your communities all the best. Be well and stay safe! Together we are stronger!
Dena Cordova-Jack, Mountain States Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
Rita Ferris, Northeastern Retail Lumber Association
Casey Voorhees, Western Building Material Dealers Association
Jim Moody, Construction Suppliers Association
Lynn Schwarz, Building Material Suppliers Association
Ryan Underwood, Kentucky Building Materials Association
Betty Askew, Florida Building Material Association
Ken Dunham, West Coast Building Materials Dealer Association
Tim Murphy, Midwest Building Suppliers Association
Mireya Zapata, Lumbermen’s Association of Texas and Louisiana
Jonathan Paine, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association