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SEMA Survey: As Restrictions Lift, the Specialty-Equipment Industry Is Moving Back Toward Full Operations


By Kyle Cheng

From May 20–29, SEMA conducted a survey of more than 1,800 professionals within the specialty-equipment industry to check in on how they were doing. Overall, our industry continues to maintain a positive outlook and is beginning to move past the disruption.

The number of companies that are “mostly business as usual” jumped from 17% in early April to 28% at the end of May. Overall, almost 90% of companies said they are “mostly business as usual” or “impacted short-term, but will get through it.” As restrictions start to lift, businesses are beginning to return to more normalcy.

In the coming months, businesses that experienced setbacks will undertake a variety of plans to return to full operations. Approximately 42% plan on taking measures to increase customer and employee safety, and 30% are allowing employees to work remotely. Few businesses chose to close facilities or lay off staff during the pandemic, and most plan to completely re-open or re-hire some staff in the coming months.

By the end of 2020, 69% of companies anticipate having the same or more staff as they had before the virus outbreak started.

About half of all companies surveyed applied for financial assistance over the last few months, particularly the Payment Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from the Small Business Administration. More than 70% of companies applying for aid report that they have received at least some of the funding.

Companies primarily turned to banks to apply for financial assistance, with nearly half using small local banks or credit unions.

Despite the disruption over the past few months, our industry remains optimistic about their ability to push through. Three-fourths of those surveyed said they are confident in their company’s plan moving forward.