How The COVID-19 CARES Act May Significantly Help Dealerships Now

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, financial advisor, or legislative expert. Each dealer should consult their relevant advisors before making decisions. The purpose of this blog is just to share information I’ve gathered as I have been following the development of this bill closely to see how it can help our dealer partners. 


As you may know, the “CARES” (‘Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was just signed by the President of the United States. I wanted to provide a quick summary of this bill as I understand it because it may help you. It’s essential to understand at least how it works before taking drastic action.

First off, you will see many headlines about the bill being a $2 trillion stimulus package. If you’re like me, you immediately think, “Great, but how does this help me or my dealership/business?” In many cases, the answer to that question is well beyond the scope of this message. However, in this instance, one important section of the CARES Act is designed to provide relief to “small” businesses like you.


  • The CARES Act created a new kind of SBA loan that a lot of small businesses will be eligible for that can be used to cover basic costs — and under certain circumstances, the entire loan amount can be forgiven.
  • The loan can be used for certain payroll costs (including commissions), employee benefits, operating costs (rent, mortgage interest, utilities, interest on preexisting debts).
  • The loan size generally equates to 2.5 times your average monthly payroll from the previous year, excluding comp above $100K/employee (with some adjustments if you already have an existing SBA loan).
  • Loans would be available immediately through existing SBA-certified lenders, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Here is a website that should list the eligible lenders It’s pretty hard to navigate so I would check to see if your bank is an eligible lender. Nonetheless, the list will expand quickly due to the authorization powers of the Secretary of Treasury.


  • The amount forgiven is limited to the principal borrowed.
  • The points above apply to small businesses that employ less than 500 people. 
  • The maximum loan amount is $10 million. 
  • Conditional upon the business retaining your employees and payroll levels during the covered period (March 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020).
  • If you reduce salaries (pay cuts), the number of employees (layoffs), or both during the covered period, then the loan amount available for forgiveness is reduced by the amount of any reduction in: 
    • Number of employees 
    • Wage reductions in excess of 25% of the total salary or wages of the employee during the most recent quarter
  • However, If you rehire or end the salary reduction before June 30, 2020, and eliminated the layoff or salary cuts, the  loan amount eligible for forgiveness is not affected


So, in short, there is a great opportunity that you should be looking into. The precise calculations and eligibility requirements are tricky, beyond the scope of this blog post, but this gives you the overall framework. The bill encompasses a ton more (as it is 800+ pages). Here’s a link to a few other resources:


While this may assist with expenses in the short term I know that selling and servicing cars is the most vital component to your success. Our team has put together the following videos and resources this week to help you adapt your digital marketing for the situation. Please take 10 minutes today to review as I can know they will help you.



Our website and messaging tools can work together to help bring the dealership experience online for your customers stuck at home. Watch how adding one CTA on your inventory can launch a virtual appointment with your team using live video chat.  





Beyond video chat, there are many other ways you can utilize instant messaging to connect with customers and go deeper into the buying process online. In this guide, we’ll show you how you can take different approach to chat and turn what used to be a lead-gen tool into a closing tool. 

Go To Our COVID-19 Conversations Guide



Clear and up-to-date communication is more critical now than ever, and Google My Business (GMB) is one of the most important ways to get the essential status updates on your business to customers. Watch this quick video to learn how to take the first step of updating your hours, and then check-out our complete guide to leveraging GMB’s other features right now.


Go To Our COVID-19 GMB Guide


Our team is monitoring rapidly evolving search trends and providing recommendations on where to optimize your budget and efforts as paid and organic search intent shifts. For Dealer Inspire partners, our team is proactively making these changes to optimize your budget. Check out the live webinar we hosted this week, or dive into the guide on our blog.

Go To Our COVID-19 Search Strategy Guide



As part of the CARS family we also wanted to make sure you were aware of several resources is providing to help dealers get through this time, from financial relief and free chat to Virtual Appointment and Home Delivery badging.

Learn More About CARS Cares 


Lastly, please take action today. We need 10k signatures to help keep car dealers open as vital businesses on the Federal level. 

Sign The Petition

Joe Chura
Joe began his career on the Ford assembly line at age 20, reading his college textbooks seconds at a time in between building cars. Over the next decade Joe gained experience at many different levels in the automotive industry, including running Ford’s regional sales team and a stint as General Manager of two dealerships, where he increased internet sales by 300%. Combining his passion for computer programming and innovation, Joe co-founded Launch Digital Marketing (LDM) and Dealer Inspire (DI) to bring new retail technology and better online experiences to both car dealers and shoppers.

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