As much of the public remains closed due the spread of COVID-19, we know your businesses may still be open to guarantee hospitals have the electricity they need to continue serving patients remote employees have the telecommunications infrastructure they need to keep working; and that all citizens have the HVAC, plumbing and other home services they need to remain safely in quarantine. While it may be “business as usual” for many essential services, business is anything but usual as stay-at-home orders have created new obstacles for keeping your business thriving during these uncertain times. To help navigate these tough circumstances, we’ve gathered trusted resources, timely tools and organizations to empower you to make decisions which may affect your business, employees, loved ones, customers and community.
What’s next for your business?
While much of the conversation around the government stimulus package has focused on $1,200 checks, thankfully they also created relief programs for businesses that will make it a bit easier to get loans and continue operations. In a world where taxes are always certain, even the filing deadline has been extended to Wednesday, July 15 (don’t worry, you’ll still get your refund in accordance with SmartAsset’s refund schedule if you’ve already filed for your business). With all of this talk about Acts being passed, assistance programs and more, it can be hard to navigate, or even just understand.
For example, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.”
So, where and how do you start benefiting from that $350 billion? To learn more about the loans and find out everything you need to know on the CARES Act and other local government programs, we compiled a few resources below:
- Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist
- Here’s How Small Businesses Can Benefit from the CARES Act - OK, we think everything on Gusto’s Small Business COVID-19 resource library is 10/10 and this is a wonderful place to start.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Businesses Need to Know
- COVID-19 Affected Business and Employee Resource Guide
- COVID-19 Tax Relief Measures for Every State
- SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
Essential Services or Businesses has also become quite the buzz word in the midst of the stay-at-home orders. (Psst...You can join us in showing your support for these brave workers or proudly rep that you are one here.) That being said, if you’re in construction, the landscape is changing daily and some projects may be deemed essential while others are being put on hold. To find out the status of your state and keep your crews up to date, check out this interactive map from Rabbet.
New Tools...that might not fit in your Toolbox
Physical distancing has made in-person meetings, ongoing renovations and the start of new projects tricky. Customers might be asking themselves whether or not they want a visitor or how they’re going to assess a jobsite with you from 6 feet away while you might be asking yourself the same types of questions. Everyone wants to keep their loved ones, employees and themselves healthy but doing so might mean finding new ways to operate, here are some ideas:
Consider a virtual estimate for potential projects. We noticed companies like Nixxit and Alpine Ductless have added options to conduct estimates entirely virtual through Facetime, Google Hangouts or basically any video communication platform. If this could work for your business, adopting their approach works simply: Have your customer book an estimate, find out what platform they prefer and then at the time of the appointment go over needs, how you work and pricing all virtually. You can even ask customers to show you the issue or the site of the project over video to help better diagnose potential problems and get the scope right.This tactic enables you to remain in touch with your customers without having to violate any physical distancing; giving both you and them peace of mind with it comes to reducing potential exposure..
Housecall Pro is an all-in-one software for home service professionals that might help open up the door to new customers and run your business in a modern way with features like chat, online booking, live maps and more. Plus, it enables you to use touchless payment options. No more handling money that may have been passed through one too many hands or spreading germs via a credit card. We love some of the resources available on their site too:
- Tips for Home Service Companies in the Time of the Coronavirus [COVID-19] - how to perform touchless jobs, communicate your safety practices and how they can help manage your customer communication
- Templates for Efficiencies
- Software Features
They also created a private Facebook group where nearly 3,000 home service businesses are actively discussing strategies for navigating the pandemic - join here.
Unfortunately, even if business is still coming in, you may not be booked at your normal capacity. If so, now might be the opportunity to expand your industry knowledge (which is just as good a tool as any!) by taking webinars, signing up for online education (there are a number of free options), listening to podcasts and even watching YouTube videos from industry trailblazers. What you learn now can be applied later. To get you started, these are some of our favorites:
- Construction Management Podcast
- Builder Tactics - Their training academy is coming soon, but there are several training manuals available now for only $10.
- Tool Crave Podcast
- Blue is the New White
- ProCore Continuing Education
- Andrew Camrata's YouTube
- RR Buildings YouTube
- Why Essential Matters Now - Webinar Series
Leading by Example
Organizations across the nation are stepping up to show their support and set an example for the community as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on normalcy. Whether you need assistance or are in the position to provide it, we’ve compiled a list of organizations and people you can lean on for inspiration:
- FIND THE MASKS - Find out where you can donate or receive masks in your area
- 365Give - Inspires easy, doable ways you can participate in daily giving
- @thebadhans - Posting regularly about his best practices as an arborist during the pandemic
And if you know someone (or are someone) who is an #essentialservices worker representing the trades and rising to the challenge of keeping the foundation of our communities strong, we want to hear about it. Send us an email at Marketing@truewerk.com with your story. We encourage you to include a photo that captures the hard work being performed. With these stories, we hope to be able to show recognition and thanks by sharing them in some of our outgoing emails and upcoming blog posts.
We’re not experts and we know some of these resources may not give you everything you need - the state of our society and economy is unpredictable, sensitive and questionable at best right now - but our hope is that through these links, you’ll find comfort in knowing there are avenues for your business to combat what’s happening. If you have a resource that we didn’t include that you’ve found helpful and think others would too, let us know. We’re here to support you, now and always, however we can.. Thank you for turning to us and mutually supporting us by reading this.
Comment below or tag us on Instagram @Truewerk if you’re taking advantage of these resources!