Essential COVID-19 Resources for the Countertop Fabrication Industry

Apr 3, 2020 | Business, News

COVID-19 is sweeping our nation as states demand you shelter in place and businesses shut down. It’s a frightening time as so much is still unknown, but there are resources to help those in the fabrication industry.

From the CARES Act to keeping your business afloat, we’ve gathered up the essential resources you need for your countertop shop.

CARES Act Payroll Loan Program for Countertop Shops

Many small businesses have had to lay off employees due to the coronavirus outbreak in our country. In order to help, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

In short, the federal government intends to subsidize 8 weeks of payroll via $349 billion for small businesses in the form of a forgivable loan. Whether you’ve laid off employees or not, the payroll loan program will help out your business, and most fabricators qualify for this loan.

The payroll loan program is for small businesses with less than 500 employees. Most fees are waived, and you don’t have to personally guarantee the loan or provide collateral.

The loan can be used to pay for:

  • payroll costs,
  • group health,
  • interest on mortgage payments,
  • rent,
  • utilities, and
  • interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before February 14, 2020.

You can borrow up to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll costs incurred in the prior year up to $10 million (with some exceptions). Also, the forgivable portion of the loan can be reduced if the number of employees and employee hours went down between February 15 and June 30, 2020.

The loan program can be confusing, so try out a loan forgiveness calculator to estimate how much of your loan might be forgiven.

When you’re ready to apply, here’s the application: Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Application Form 

You can read about the loan program in more detail here: The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act

CARES Act Tax Credit

If you don’t participate in the loan program, you might be eligible for a refundable tax credit. 

You’re eligible if:

  1. You fully or partially suspended operations due to COVID-19
  2. You can prove you suffered a 50% or greater loss in gross receipts compared to the same quarter last year

The tax credit is 50% of the wages paid to each employee, up to $5,000 per quarter per employee. If you have less than 100 employees, the credit applies to all wages. If you have more than 100 employees, the credit only applies to employees not working during this crisis.

Once you’re up to 80% of your normal earnings, the credit stops. The credit also expires at the end of 2020.

CARES Act Emergency Grant

The CARES Act also expanded the SBA’s existing Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant program to include businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

Under the expanded program, you can get $10,000 in grant money to be paid within 3 days of applying for the loan. These funds don’t have to be paid back if your loan is denied. If you do receive the payroll loan, the $10,000 will be deducted from the amount forgiven.

Cash Flow Relief

Tax credits can help offset the cost of required paid leave. Companies get a tax credit of up to $511 per day for a total of 10 days for each employee paid sick leave because of a quarantine or isolation order, or the employees show signs of coronavirus. 

If the employees are paid the family and medical leave because they are providing care to children or individuals who show signs of coronavirus, then companies can get a tax credit of up to $200 per day for up to 10 days. 

Eligible employers can also receive a refundable childcare leave credit up to $200 per day for as long as 10 weeks.

Learn more: Cash Flow Relief under the FFCRA

Paid Sick Leave Policy At Your Shop

If you don’t already have a policy in place for paid sick leave during the COVID-10 pandemic, the National Stone Institute has some free Word Docs available for download.

It clearly outlines the policy and ensures a sick worker won’t come into work for fear of not being paid.

Keeping Your Fabrication Staff Safe

Reducing the risk and transmission of the coronavirus disease is the key focus in our country during this crisis.

Here are a few ways to help reduce the risk of exposure at your shop:

  • Adjust your shop cleaning expectations (sanitize door handles every time it is touched, wipe down keyboards and mouses, etc.)
  • Conduct temperature checks of employees and visitors (if applicable)
  • Do a health survey with employees – ask questions about symptoms and possible interaction with anyone else who has symptoms
  • Follow social distancing guidelines by staying 6 feet away from others at all times
  • Communicate hand washing guidelines and encourage continual hand washing
  • Provide masks, wipes, and hand sanitizer for onsite employees
  • Introduce a self-quarantine policy based on travel history and potential symptoms

The ISFA has made a questionnaire available for download that you can use with employees or at the job site. You’ll be asking questions about travel, contact with people who have traveled, and symptoms.

Start Working From Home

In addition to taking extra steps at the shop, consider having most of your staff work from home (if it’s not already mandated by your state). 

We have several articles to help you with this transition:

Keep Your Fab Business Afloat

Sales are down for most businesses in our country right now. It’s certainly a crisis, which means you have to do everything you can to keep your business going.

Here are a few tips:

  • Be extremely diligent about cash management
  • Postpone any non-critical expenses
  • Know who your top-performing employees are to prepare for an uncertain future
  • Redirect your spending, if needed, to build financial flexibility (a common area is marketing, but be cautious about stopping it altogether)
  • Consider partnering with other companies to optimize your resources
  • Define a budget for the rest of the year if you don’t have one already

The fear of the unknown has many fab shops in fight or flight mode, but it’s important to come up with a plan. If this, then that – that’s your goal while business is slow and you have a bit more time on your hands.

Take Care of Lingering Business Tasks

As you have some extra time on your hands, use this opportunity to finish those lingering tasks in your business.

Dig into the data to answer key questions about your business, like who your most productive employees are. Kim Duda, an independent consultant that helps Moraware customers get the most from their software, can help with that.

Learn more: Fine-Tune Your Moraware Data to Make Better Business Decisions

Other Moraware partners can help you tackle projects during this time:

  • BPMetrics: In GOOD times, use BPMetrics to drive up your output by 10+ % (typically 20-25% or more). In BAD times, use their tools to run your production at maximum output during reduced hours and with minimum staff. 
  • DataBridge Integrations: DataBridge sells a barcoding add-on for JobTracker Inventory, plus additional add-on products integrating JobTracker with Slabsmith and with Home Depot’s IconX platform. 
  • Job Well Done: Job Well Done (JWD) is a mobile web application that facilitates communication between employees in the field and the office. It works with or without JobTracker and includes capabilities like digitizing paper forms, submitting before & after pictures, capturing signatures, and controlling what files and information your field workers can access.
  • Fifth Gear Technologies: SPEEDdraw is designed to expedite the process of turning digital measuring files into completed shop drawings and program ready files.  
  • 7th Gear: They take a simple approach, using the scanner to create an inventory count, which can then be compared to another inventory view within JobTracker to see differences.
  • Fabricator’s Choice: They have multiple add-ons for Moraware software, including barcoding, job costing, reporting, and more.

We’re Here to Help

Our team here at Moraware is here to help. If you need assistance or support with your software, please contact our awesome Support team. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below.

We will get through this.

Additional industry resources: