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The Herring Group webinar recap: PPP Flexibility Act

June 30, 2020 -  By

Greg Herring, CEO of the Herring Group, recently hosted a webinar on the Payment Protection Program, established by the CARES Act, and how to apply for loan forgiveness.

The 50-minute webinar included Herring’s observations on the PPP Flexibility Act, a question-and-answer session and surveys of the attendees (example: 84 percent of attendees reported their companies require employees to wear masks.)

Herring reminded attendees early on that things can change quickly with anything in regards to the CARES Act. In fact, the morning of the presentation, a quick check of the U.S. Treasury’s website proved his point, as some changes were posted overnight that necessitated a quick update to his presentation.

The good news, Herring said, is that he believes that almost all lawn care and landscape companies who accepted PPP loans will qualify for 100 percent forgiveness. “With a little bit of paperwork, you’re going to see a nice benefit here,” he said.

Herring is advising all companies to submit their paperwork for forgiveness as soon as is reasonable, after eight weeks or 24 weeks. He noted that with an election on the horizon, there could be change in Washington, D.C., which could complicate matters.

“There’s the possibility of changes in the executive branch … some people are concerned about that, I think rightly so,” Herring said. “It doesn’t mean there will be an adverse change, but if there is a change in the administration, there could be changes in the review process for PPP loan forgiveness. I have one client who even though they are about 10 percent short of 100 percent forgiveness, after eight weeks, they’re going to go ahead and apply (for forgiveness) and pay back the 10 percent because they don’t want to wonder about the uncertainty of what the election could do to this process.”

Herring addressed the concerns some of his clients had if the numbers of their full-time equivalent (FTE) employees have been down since the pandemic. His short answer: no worries.

“The big idea here is, if your FTEs are down, unless they are down enormously, you’re not going to have a forgiveness issue,” Herring said. He also said that even if FTEs are down enormously, it still might not be an issue. The key, he said, is if the company tried to hire new employees. If yes, they are in the clear.

Herring shared the PowerPoint presentation with attendees following the webinar, including notes on things to look for on the loan forgiveness application. Herring wrapped up the webinar with a warning that companies should prepare themselves for a “long slog.”

“Be ready for a long slog, mentally,” he said. “Some of you are runners. You run differently if it’s a sprint or a marathon. Do everything you can to keep yourself and your employees healthy.”

Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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