We are in uncharted territory. This is like nothing we have ever dealt with before. As contractors, we’ve weathered the storms of economic downturns, all out recessions, natural disasters and wartime uncertainty. Nothing like this, though. Nothing like the pandemic of Covid-19. So what is a contractor to do in such times? From the general contractor to the handyman hobbiest, how does a contractor business survive the Corona virus?
The knee-jerk reaction to any big, life-impacting event like this is mostly fear, sprinkled with a little bit of panic. Step one as a small business owner is to not give in to fear. Don’t panic. The issue you are facing is the health of your workers (if any), the health of your customers and your own health.
Keeping workers/employees healthy: One of the first things you do is put a plan in writing and distribute it to everyone that works for you. it does not have to be lengthy and you can feel free to use the one below as a template and change whatever applies to your business.
- Dealing with co-workers and clients – Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth.
- Maintain at least 6-foot distance between you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Also maintain the same 6-foot distance between yourself any any of our clients/homeowners for their safety and peace of mind.
- If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and DO NOT COME TO WORK.
Keeping Clients/Customers healthy: Maintain a sanitary work environment when working in a clients home or office. Wear protective nitrile gloves and facemasks when possible. Sanitize your workstations continually. A client who observes these actions and preparations will feel much more comfortable having the team in their home or office. Assure them in advance that these procedures will be followed carefully by yourself and your team.
Avoid discussing the pandemic or any politics surrounding the situation: While it might seem like you are making friendly conversation, remember that people only discuss matters like this because they are nervous. Do not feed into that and possibly force the customer to change their mind about having workers in their home. Instead, keep the conversation light and about the job you are working on.
A short-term downturn in work from something like this is not likely to last very long. As with anything, in time, people get used to conditions and then stop caring–or at least stop caring as much as they once did. People are “trapped” in their homes. Everything is pretty much closed. Families are starting to get on each others nerves. They are all tired of online shopping. These all come together and guess what? Your phone will start ringing again.
But what do you do for the one, two or three weeks before all this starts to happen? Educate yourself into finding ways to make your business run smarter and more efficiently. Heck, those are the reasons we created the Botonde Take-Off Creators in the first place. Take the time to grasp opportunities that will more than pay for themselves in the future.
No Panic Pricing
Small business owners will sometimes panic-price themselves into a big financial problem. Lowering your prices dramatically because you fear for feeding your family is never an equation that works out in your favor. There is a big difference between offering a percentage-off discount to a potential client as an incentive to sign, and another thing entirely to discount the work so low that you cannot even cover the cost of your materials and labor. While it puts some money in your pocket at the onset, it will rapidly come back to haunt you in the short term. Be calm, be patient. Everyone is going to slow down in the beginning. Remember – slow and steady wins the race.
The Corona virus is just another world event that occurs as part of life. Just like a major hurricane, earthquake, volcano, war or major act of terrorism. All can have a negative effect on the business of a contractor. Despite this, you should remember the one inescapable truth–after the effects of these events begin to fade, there is ALWAYS rebuilding of some kind that is necessary. And who is going to be called upon to do that rebuild? It’s all you, my friend.