Tips for Home Service Companies in the Time of the Coronavirus [COVID-19]

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LAST UPDATED: 11:56 am, April 6th, 2020 

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to have an unprecedented impact on the world and the home service industry. We at Housecall Pro are committed to helping all home service professionals stay informed and help their communities, employees, and customers. 

Resources for performing touchless and cashless jobs

Examples of how to adopt touchless payments

Many home service pros already adopted to using touchless and cashless invoices and payments to ensure the safety of technicians and customers.

In an email sent to employees, Alan Jones from Cowboy Johns Carpet Cleaning LLC writes:

“We are still accepting cash, check or credit cards as forms of payments. However we ask that in order to transfer these items to you, that the customer sets it on a table or ledge. At this time we are not asking for invoice signatures from the customer, you will be signing for them . To collect a Credit Card you will just send the invoice the customer either via e-mail or text, and have them pay on their own phone or computer. Under NO circumstances are you to give a customer your personal phone or business property to sign or to review. If a customer has a question or would like to see an invoice we can email it through the HCP portal while we are standing in front of them.”

To make customers feel safe and avoid appointment cancellations, Ben Perez from Authement Iron Works sends out emails to current appointment to let customers know that they are offering touchless payments:

“We are going to process all payments by emailed or texted invoices with online credit card payment or mailed checks so that we don’t have hand-to-hand transfers.”

Knowing that many home service pros and customers are in fear of contracting the virus during service jobs, Nevin Guiser from Red Hot Carpet Cleaning advices:

“Stay calm. Don’t let fear ruin your life. Develop a protocol when you visit homes on how to protect your most essential employee (you). Make the customer stay in another room from the house… make them wait in the car or go in another floor of the house. Maintain at least 6 feet away, 10 would be better. Glove up and make sure you know how to remove and dispose of them. Use touchless payment and no paper invoices. Assume people may have had contact with someone that has it”.

We’ve also put together a list of measures home service companies can take when sending a tech into someone’s home to communicate your commitment to safety, put homeowners at ease and establish the ground rules for conducting your work. We’ve provided this list in a template form below you can use to communicate them with your customers.

Feel free to use these templates and edit them in a way that makes the most sense for your business.

Resources for communicating your COVID safety practices to customers

Let your customers know what safety practices you are taking in response to the situation to prevent canceled appointments. And consider adding virtual estimates if your industry and the job type makes it possible.

Templates and Examples

  1. Safety procedure announcement to customers: 

At [BUSINESS NAME], we are taking the coronavirus outbreak very seriously. Here are the following procedures we have set in place to ensure the safety of our customers:

  • We are keeping our vans stocked with alcohol-based hand sanitizer and disposable wipes. Our techs have been instructed to clean their hands frequently and to clean equipment that customers may also come into contact with.
  • Our techs have also been instructed to not initiate a handshake when greeting customers and to wash their hands upon entering a residence.
  • Our employees have been educated about the symptoms of coronavirus, and we are providing flexible time off for anyone who believes they may be infected to encourage them to stay home.
  • We are encouraging our customers to pay online instead of with cash or credit card. According to recent studies, germs live on the surface of cash and credit cards that can be spread from person to person. We will be happy to send you an invoice and collect payments via email, at no extra charge.

2. Interaction guidelines for customers and technicians: 

3. Non-contact service on-my-way text with Housecall Pro’s automated customer text feature:

Where to share your safety practices

On Your Website

First and foremost, we suggest posting these safety practices on your website where anyone can find them. But there are other means of spreading the word. 

On Social Media and Email

Use our free, editable social media templates and customize for your company

Link to your web page with the safety practices in a post across your social media accounts and in a newsletter. If customers have been avoiding scheduling a job out of fear of contagion, this may help reassure them. 

Communicate before a scheduled job

Sending out an email or a text before a scheduled job will prepare customers for what to expect that might be out of the norm, such as not shaking hands. This communication also gives customers a chance to share any information that you may need. If they are at higher risk for an infection or if they’ve not been feeling well.

How Housecall Pro can help manage customer communications

Customizable “On My Way” texts

Housecall Pro customers can utilize the platform’s “on my way texts” to share this information.

Automated invoices and payments

Handling cash at this time can increase your employees risk of exposure to the virus. The safest and most reliable way to get paid is through credit cards and ACH.  Rather than swiping or keying in the card, you can offer payment by digital invoice. Housecall Pro can automatically send an invoice when a tech finishes a job.  

Pro tip: If the customer takes you up on the offer to not exchange cash, check or credit cards, make sure your techs and office staff encourage the customer to pay by email, which has a better processing rate for you than entering the card numbers manually.

If you’d like the ability to send texts and email invoices automatically, try out Housecall Pro for free.

We’ll continue to update this post as we find additional useful ways home service companies are easing homeowners’ tensions.   

This article is for informational purposes only and to foster thoughtful communication and discussion regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Readers should obtain independent advice relating to their businesses and their particular circumstances.

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