My car wash business has eight sites. Some are profitable, some are break-even, and two are unprofitable but growing. But in the past two months, the recession hit and sales have halved. I want to renegotiate the rent but don't know how. Each week we focus on sales-driving initiatives, but they all cost money (fliers, etc). We will struggle to pay wages and rent next month. Should I get out now, have a go to trade out until Christmas or what? If I stay in business, what should I do to survive a recession?
Cut the unprofitable locations and keep the good locations. Then, make the phone call to the landlord and make it simple: do you want to keep me or not? In a soft economy, you have some leverage in this scenario. Finally, focus on your existing customers. Do you have a database of them? If you don't have one, get one, and start a methodology to keep in contact with them. What can you do to get them back more often? Or, can you offer a new "mobile" service that goes directly to them? Get creative in thinking about your sales efforts--not to new customers, but to those you already have--and who are already the most profitable for you.