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Best practices for working in clients’ homes during COVID-19April 9th, 2020 by
Working in clients’ homes during COVID-19 has changed drastically over the last few months. The outbreak has changed the way many of us even carry out daily tasks and has created a high level of uncertainty in the way we conduct business now.
Although it can be stressful for contractors to wonder if homeowners will continue booking projects while under stay-at-home orders, knowing what precautions to take in a client’s home can help tremendously. This is especially true if the client is doing an indoor remodel or renovation in a common living space.
While there are extra precautions that must take place, there is no reason for business owners to panic. With a few new processes in place, you can ensure the safety of your employees, your clients, and their families. Find out how you can take extra precautions to keep your employees and clients safe during COVID-19.
It is important for every business owner to have an emergency plan in place for unexpected events. While rare, they do happen. If you did not have a full disaster/emergency plan in place at the start of the virus outbreak, now is the time to create one.
Include an outline of how you’ll manage your business’s finances, now and in the future, and address how you’ll pay your employees. Consider how you will manage project deadlines and what your protocol is for taking on new projects.
Having a plan and sticking to it takes a lot of stress out of uncertain times. If you have not already done so, look into creating a written plan that will answer any questions you and your employees may have.
Working in the home services industry requires a high level of adaptability on a day-to-day basis. Whether you are a painter, electrician, or general contractor, many variables can delay your work. The good news is, you are already more adaptable than you think.
You will want to evaluate the situation closely to ensure everyone’s safety when working in clients’ homes during COVID-19. Consider having a video chat to discuss details of a project or determine precautions you both can take, such as sanitizing before, during, and after your visits.
You should also consider rotating shifts with your crew. This allows for fewer people around each other at one time and social distancing on the jobsite. Whatever your situation requires, be sure that you and your crew are flexible and willing to take things in stride.
We cannot overstate the importance of communication with clients. You must let clients know that you may have to push back project deadlines due to necessary and precautionary adjustments. The safety of all parties is of utmost importance and certain situations may prohibit you from working on a project for a length of time.
For example, establish a sick policy for your clients. Explain to them that you will not be coming to work if your doctor recommends staying home and ask that they inform you of any suspected illnesses in their household. There is no reason for alarm, but both parties should be on the same page with orders required by state and local government.
Communicating with your employees is also essential. Be sure that you stress the importance of staying home when sick and try to alert them of any schedule changes as soon as you can. If you choose to do a rotating shift with a smaller crew, explain your reasons for doing so and let each worker know what their shift schedule will be in a timely manner. It is important to have clear expectations and remember to be flexible at this time.
If you are working in clients’ homes during COVID-19, there are a few boundaries that you can put in place to limit your crew’s contact with the homeowners. Speak with your clients about this and decide which boundaries will be appropriate in their home.
For example, you and your employees should suggest using one entrance into the house or establish a dedicated bathroom that the client will not use while you are working.
Do not leave any materials or tools lying in common areas and clean up your area at the end of every workday. These are all prudent practices at any time, but are especially useful now.
Take extra precautions during COVID-19
With everyone taking extra precautions in everyday life, it is important that you do the same. Wash your hands as soon as you enter a client’s home and provide hand sanitizer for you and your employees to use throughout the day.
Use disinfecting wipes for any surfaces the client might come in contact with and use a disinfectant spray for your clothes, shoes, and tools. These steps will not take much time from your day and will help prevent the spread of the virus, while keeping your business running.
While uncertainty may be the only thing we hear about today, the best thing we can do is stay positive and support each other. By taking a few extra precautions, your clients, employees, and the overall health of your business will greatly benefit.
Send out your new processes to customers and prospects and take a copy to job sites. This will help ensure everyone is informed and following the same procedures to prevent the spread of the virus.
GuildQuality is here to support you
GuildQuality is doing everything we can to support contractors in our communities during this time. In order for things to get better, we all have to do our part. Take care of your business, your employees, and your clients by having a plan in place and maintaining flexibility during uncertain times.