Sandy Outages, Communications Issues Slammed Small Businesses: Hartford Survey

March 20, 2013

While only 11 percent of small business owners surveyed in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut experienced structural property damage from Superstorm Sandy, more than half lost revenue in the aftermath of the event.

Fifty-two percent of 451 business owners surveyed reported lost sales or revenue, 71 percent experienced a power outage, and 74 percent had to close their doors for a period of time, according to The Hartford Small Business Pulse: Storm Sandy.

The just-published survey results came from a telephone survey conducted by Braun Research for The Hartford. The firm surveyed of owners of for-profit businesses with three to 100 employees that had been in business for at least one year prior to Sandy. Respondents were equally distributed among the three states.

Hartford reports that 44 percent of the businesses that had to close were shut down for seven days or more. The carrier also reports that “loss of connectivity”—phone and Internet service issues—had a big impact on 56 percent of survey respondents.

The report notes that temporary shutdowns were more likely in New York and New Jersey, with 81 percent of N.Y. business owners and 78 percent of N.J. business owners saying they had to close for a time after the storm, compared to 64 percent in Connecticut. Power outages were more common in the Garden state, where 82 percent of respondents were in the dark, compared to 71 percent in Connecticut and 62 percent in New York.

For many businesses, the impact of the storm has continued to stretch beyond the immediate impact of a week-long closure. In order to recover from the financial impact of the storm, 35 percent of those surveyed said they are adjusting their business strategy, 32 percent are cutting costs and 25 percent are scaling back on hiring or not hiring at all.

Overall, 36 percent of the business owners said they were “significantly impacted” by the storm, while 64 percent they were “somewhat impacted.” There was a difference in the responses of male and female business owners, with 42 percent of male small business owners reporting “significant” impact, compared to 28 percent of female owners.