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Business Tips July 2020

Reshaping Your Contracting Business with COVID-19 in Mind

Wolseley PRO Pipeline Blog

As we look towards the future of what plumbing and HVAC contracting businesses will look like in the upcoming months and into the new year with COVID-19 still on the radar, it’s the perfect time to work on reshaping your business for success. Whether it’s reshaping your office, how you contact your customers or focusing on training, there’s plenty you can try to keep your business steady.

Reshape Your Office and Shop

Physical distancing measurement of 6ft

One of the big factors in getting back to some business normalcy is creating an office that is safe and still allows you to get the job done. Now if it’s just you, it’s a lot easier to implement additional cleaning standards and you don’t have to worry about physically distancing yourself from coworkers. But if you own a business and have a few employees that are meant to be in the office during the week, it’s your responsibility to make your office a place that they can confidently, safely and happily work in.

As a guideline, The “WHO recommends providing sufficient space [of] at least 10 square meters, for every worker” in an office. When reshaping your office, give your workers this space around their primary working desk and have distinct marking tape on the floors to help maintain the distance.

For common spaces like bathrooms, break rooms and workshop, the same rules of physical distancing apply. Make sure there is adequate space for your team and storing tools and equipment (with enough to avoid sharing tools between contractors). If you have a large team, you may want to consider staggering schedules so not everyone is at the shop at the same time. Plus, you should have additional health and safety resources available. For example, extra cleaning protocols after using tools, and/or have professional cleaners come in more frequently to do a deep clean and disinfection of the space.

For more tips on how to reshape office space and shared common areas, check out our construction site COVID-19 safety tips.

Safety PPE on a construction site

Adjust to Some Remote Work

Once you do a check over what risks are in your workplace for COVID-19, you may find that there just isn’t enough space to maintain physical distance for the entire office team and yourself. You may not be able to access your office as usual or you may have to rotate working days with other employees to reduce the number of people in the office at a time.

On days when you can’t access the office but still need to do administration work or place orders, it’s a good idea to have a work-from-home setup.

Keep In Touch With Current Customers

Using cellphone to contact customers

Now is a great time to reestablish your relationship with your current customers. It’s the perfect time to reach out and let them know you are happy to help them with any emergency repairs or needs and that you are following industry and government recommendations when it comes to residential visits. Some of the key things to communicate to your customers is:

  • How you’ll enter their home and what PPE you’ll wear
  • How you’ll respect their space and your plan for distancing
  • How they can make payments (ie. if you prefer they don’t pay with cash)

Be sure to visit our overview of industry and government recommendations for residential visits for more ways you can conduct your business with COVID-19 in mind.

Many of your customers are also spending more time in their homes and are focused on making their home more hygienic and comfortable. They may be more inclined to take on residential renovations to make life more comfortable such as kitchen, basement and backyard renovations. This is pivotal for shifting gears and finding existing opportunities for work at this time.

You can also take the “no new customer approach” to business as outlined by small business expert, Greg Weatherdon to grow your potential work with the customers you already have.

Give Technology A Larger Role

Use Technology for online invoicing

One of the areas we highlighted in our previous blog about making residential visits during COVID-19 is the use of technology in your daily business operations.

Even before you step on site, you can take advantage of virtual options for consultations or walk-throughs with customers. Discussing the details and safety protocols in advance via email, phone or even video chat can help ensure a safe and efficient job, and can also be a big timesaver.

If you are working in particularly tight quarters and need your customer to give you some additional space while you work, you can always set up a video call so they can take a look at your progress from a different space in their home, safely distanced from you.

You can also give your customers the options of wireless payments, and send them paperwork over email. This way, neither of you have to worry about paperwork at the end of your visit, and you don’t have to carry cash around from home to home.

Don’t forget, the way you market yourself can also be given a larger role through technology. Something as simple as a website can be a great tool for getting the word out there about your business, and also gives a place for information about your procedures and health and safety measures. Transparency is always a positive when it comes to attracting new business and maintaining your current customer base.

Focus On Training and Rehire As NeededReshaping business with online training

As you continue with your business, it’s important to retrain yourself and your employees especially as new information is coming out about air quality and air circulation. This will be an area of importance for the upcoming months and likely into the new year as the population remains concerned about how COVID-19 affects indoor spaces.

Wolseley offers training from top manufacturers and you can continue to find resources online, like through HRAI as previously mentioned.

It’s also great to re-train or brush up knowledge with your current employees rather than trying to hire new ones at the moment unless it’s entirely necessary due to workload. Re-training is far less costly than it is to find someone new, improves your initial ROI with your employees and your workload, and helps you stay ahead of your competition.

Stay Positive As You Reshape

Reshaping what your business looks like is undoubtedly daunting, but with a proactive and open-minded approach, your business will continue to succeed in the months to come.

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