COVID Update March 26, 2020
U.S. response so far
The US Senate reached an agreement on a US$2 trillion economic stimulus package in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but it is still unclear how it will proceed in the House of Representatives. The House is not in session, but there are mechanisms—such as “unanimous consent”—which could allow the bill to pass and be sent to the President without the Representatives voting in person. The plan will include:
- $1,200 checks directly to individuals to supplement lost income and other financial difficulties
- $367 million in small business loans
- $500 billion loan fund for industries, cities and states
- $130 billion for hospitals
- $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds
- expands unemployment funding and increases associated benefits, includes transparency mechanisms regarding how funding is utilized, and prohibits stimulus funds from going to companies or programs owned by the President, White House staff, or member of Congress
On March 24, FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor announced publicly that FEMA, now the agency leading the US COVID-19 response, would be using the Defense Production Act (DPA) for the first time in order to acquire SARS-CoV-2 tests and millions of masks then later issued a statement that the agency was able to “procure the test kits from the private market without evoking the DPA.”
In remarks yesterday at the White Coronavirus Task Force briefing, US President Donald Trump expressed his desire to ease nationwide social distancing guidelines, by Easter, which falls on April 12. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, commented that the situation will continue to be evaluated daily, and a decision will be made regarding the future of national social distancing policies based on the available evidence and trends. Recommended measures may also differ at the state level.
The global economic impact
China has ramped up economic activity after 2 months of aggressive social distancing measures to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Despite the low numbers of new cases, many of which are imported from other countries, news media have reported that worker shortages continue due to fear of reconvening and leading to subsequent outbreaks. China’s government injected stimulus funding into infrastructure projects and healthcare systems and instituted tax relief in an attempt to speed economic recovery.
The rapid economic decline in countries around the world, has led some economists to forecast a “deep global recession.” There seems to be a “clear tension between preventing infections and ruining the economy,” and countries are struggling to identify the most appropriate balance.
WHO Global Humanitarian Response Plan
Earlier this morning, the UN, WHO, and UNICEF jointly announced the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, which aims to combat the pandemic in the world’s most vulnerable countries. The US$2 billion effort will be implemented by UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO) to increase laboratory and clinical capacity to respond to the pandemic, improve sanitary and hygiene conditions, promote public messaging, and facilitate the movement of humanitarian responders to conduct response operations.
Become a touchless service business with virtual estimates (LIVE DEMO)
Featured Guest: Zach Ventrensca
Owner & CEO, Window Gang Franchise, Austin, TX
- How long have you been doing virtual estimates at your business?
- Bought a failing franchise and was still active duty military
- Did not have daylight hours to do his estimates
- Have been doing virtual estimates for 3 years
- What are some of the things NOT to do on virtual estimates?
- Has to be repeatable and explainable- your estimates cannot be a guess they need to be a product of a simple process so that anyone can do an estimate
- Be confident and cautious- this price is based on the pictures you sent or the video walkthrough – the estimate is based on what you saw so the price may fluctuate but make sure it’s not a bait & switch
- What results do you see form doing virtual estimates?
- Most of his virtual estimates are so simple that a call center is doing them
- Able to save time and run the company instead of spending so much time in the field doing estimates
- Able to triple the size of his business while spending 9 hours per day at his Army job
- Cost savings- no mileage or fuel needed
How to begin with virtual estimates
Assess which jobs can be estimated virtually
Certain types of services will be easier to provide virtual estimates for. Assess which services you can do without visiting your customer, and make sure you inform customers about this change
Many customers are hesitant to have unnecessary visitors to their house or place of business. Knowing you offer virtual estimates can give them the confidence to reach out
Assess how you can perform estimates virtually
The first step to offering these estimates is to figure out what medium you’ll need to get the necessary information
Virtual estimates can be conducted on the phone or through a video call. Some pros are even able to do simpler estimates via email or an online form using a list of questions
Do you need to see the house or room in question? Make this as simple as you can for the customer
Decide on the technology to use
For those of you with iPhones or iPads, FaceTime can be an easy-to-use option. If you or your customers don’t have FaceTime, consider these alternatives: Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, or Skype
Using Zoom, you can send your customers a link that they can bring up directly in their web browser without needing to download any software or create an account
Make a list of common estimate pitfalls
Create a list of things like narrow doorways that you’d catch in person to be sure to cover them in the call
Inform your customer what they’ll need for the estimate
Create an email or blog post with everything a customer needs to know to perform an online estimate, such as what measurements you’ll need, what video programs you can use and how to download them if necessary.
Send the email or link to the blog post when you set up the call for the estimate
Send the estimate via email or text
After you’ve completed the call, send a digital estimate for your customer to approve
If you’re new to virtual estimates, it might take time to work out the bumps
Remember that you can add the caveat that these are estimates and might not match the final bill
Housecall Pro is offering the Coronavirus Evening Update for Home Service Businesses for informational purposes only and to foster thoughtful communication and discussion regarding the COVID-19 pandemic; Housecall Pro is not offering advisory services or otherwise advising or representing any members of the group invited to participate. Housecall Pro is not offering legal, medical or other professional advice in the Coronavirus Evening Update and makes no representations or warranties regarding the content of the Coronavirus Evening Update. Participants should obtain independent advice relating to their businesses and their particular circumstances.