At PaySimple, we’re dedicated to helping your business navigate the challenges of COVID-19 as smoothly as possible. We know these are extraordinary times that have already caused disruption to “business as usual.” Right now, it’s important to focus on the things that you can control. With that in mind, these are our tips on COVID-19 readiness for your home services business. If you’re a health and wellness business, you can find our earlier recommendations here.
Preventative Measures For Home Services
Whether you provide home cleaning, mobile dog grooming, landscaping, or window washing, these preventative measures have several goals: to protect yourself, your business, and your employees within the larger goal of slowing or stopping the advancement of COVID-19. These measures can help keep your employees and the customers they serve safe and healthy.
When your employees are healthy and your customers have confidence in your service, making adjustments in the way you work can also steady your business foundation and provide a greater measure of ongoing security.
The first step you must take is to acknowledge that you’ll have to make changes to continue conducting business in these unprecedented times. It can be difficult, but we hope the following resources are good, actionable first steps you can take.
How To Protect Your Employees
Your employees are at the heart of your business. Above all else, it’s important to help them maintain good health right now. Follow these guidelines.
- Start with reviewing and practicing proper sanitation practices and self-contamination prevention. From what we know so far, COVID-19 is a virus that can live on and be transferred from surfaces, tools, supplies, and equipment. For example, this includes buckets that hold water that are normally simply rinsed out. Going forward, everything employees touch and use should be disinfected using proper sanitizing protocols for COVID-19.
- If you have not already, mandate strict hand-washing procedures for all employees. There are a variety of videos that stress the importance of following the surgical method for handwashing. If employees cannot wash their hands on the job, supply your crew with hand sanitizer, and instruct them on how to use it properly.
- Early identification of COVID-19 is important, as the virus can be transmitted even before symptoms arise. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 resemble the flu (coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing). Other reports note a loss of the sense of smell or taste. Employees experiencing these symptoms should not be allowed to report to work, stay home, and should immediately call their doctor. Most who contract the virus recover, but early treatment and containment is crucial.
If your company is already experiencing hardship due to employee illness or other business slowdowns or stoppages related to COVID-19, there may be sick leave policies and relief programs available. It is best to contact government offices within the state, city, or town of your business for information while national programs are currently in legislative review.
How To Protect Your Customers
This can be a scary time for your customers. The actions you take now in the early stages of this crisis can help bring some stability to an otherwise uncertain time. Here’s what we suggest.
- The first step is to make sure you clearly and frequently communicate any changes in your hours or the services you offer. These communications can also include details on how you are protecting customers (and employees) from COVID-19. Update your social media with announcements, Google Business page with updated hours, and add a prominent banner on your website with a link to a summary of changes.
- Be ready to make changes to accommodate new customer schedules. With many people teleworking, your customers may be wary of non-family members entering their homes. Adjust your work schedule to accommodate your customers’ safety. As much as possible, give a more concise window of service so that families can arrange to be out of the house while your crew is working.
- Reinforce your commitment to your customer’s health and safety by providing additional cleaning and sanitation supplies for crews to use while they are performing essential services inside the home. Instruct crews to wipe down all surfaces they’ve been in contact with before leaving the home.
- Initiate a “no-contact” option as much as possible. This might mean changing to online payment forms and giving customers the option for email invoicing (instead of dropping a paper invoice on the counter).
- Consider adding credit cards to your mobile or online payment options. Some customers will prefer a credit option to pay for a home repair or service and might look elsewhere if you are not set up to accept credit cards.
These changes can help protect customers and provide additional convenience.
Other Resources For Small Business
With national, state, and local governments scrambling to help small businesses make their way through this challenging time, it’s important to stay on top of current guidelines. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers direct information on any changes or health updates. It should be your go-to resource on the latest developments across the globe and in your state. Follow their guidelines closely.
Your state health department can also provide specific information and guidelines for businesses, including what it means to shelter-in-place or other designations. Finally, the Small Business Administration is a great place for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, including resources to help your business.