The impact of the COVID-19 virus can be felt all over the world. Nearly every industry has been impacted to some extent, some more so than others. Unfortunately, the construction industry has taken a hit as well. This has many contractors wondering how to keep their businesses intact during this crisis.
According to financial experts, the ramifications of the global pandemic cannot be understated. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University predicts that the country will see a 5% drop in gross domestic product for every month of the partial economic shutdown. This estimation means that the decline in GDP could cost the economy nearly $2.14 trillion in only two months.
With social distancing practices in full swing, how can you ensure that your business makes it through the COVID-19 crisis? By preparing and replanning for the future, it’s possible. Here are some tips that contractors like you can use to keep your business going.
Find Out if You’re an Essential Business
Your first course of action should be to determine if you can continue to work even if your location has a shelter-in-place order in effect. While local and federal governments are asking people to stay home, they’re allowing essential businesses to continue operating. If your company is considered a critical part of the national infrastructure, you can continue running your business.
For example, many construction jobs that deal with residential homes are still considered essential. Most states allow roofing and gutter contractors to continue to operate. The reason is that they can prevent water damage to homes and protect homeowners from the elements.
At MasterShield Gutter Protection, we’re taking the COVID-19 outbreak very seriously while still providing service when possible. We’ve published a COVID-19 announcement page on our website to keep our customers up to date regarding what we’re doing to protect them during this global pandemic. Any contractors who are continuing to operate during this crisis should consider providing their own information to keep their customers informed.
If you want to determine if your business is essential, it’s important to keep up with state and federal guidelines. Each state has its own guidelines for what it determines is essential. Also, you can check out the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to get more information.
Limit Exposure on the Job Site
If you find out that your company can continue to operate during the COVID-19 crisis, you must make sure that you do your part to limit exposure. Thankfully, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released some standards that you can follow to educate and protect your workforce if you continue to operate.
To learn more about how you can protect your workers from the COVID-19 virus, you can visit the OSHA website for a complete breakdown of its detailed safety standards. You can do your part to keep your employees safe by implementing a more flexible sick leave program. This type of program encourages workers who don’t feel good to isolate themselves to avoid spreading the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it’s a good idea to disinfect tools, equipment, and workplaces regularly. This can limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Likewise, make sure that your employees are practicing good hygiene. This includes washing their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
Additionally, the CDC asks that employers remind employees to avoid touching their faces without washing their hands first. If they have to sneeze or cough, they should cover their faces with tissues first. If no tissues are available, they should sneeze or cough into their arms to limit the spread of droplets.
Lastly, employers should avoid having employees work as much as possible. If they’re able to telecommute to do their jobs, the CDC encourages it. This keeps them safer and limits the possibility of spreading the virus to anyone else.
Start Planning Ahead
The COVID-19 crisis isn’t going to last forever. Eventually, it will come to an end, so you’ll need to return to work. To ensure that your return goes smoothly, you should start planning for it.
First, adjust your operations now. Some areas of your operation will need to be paused. You might even have to downsize some of your workforce until this crisis is over. Fortunately, the federal government has lowered the requirements for unemployment. This means that employees who are let go during the crisis can claim unemployment until the situation is under control.
Next, if you still have work in the pipeline, you should consider that you might have fewer workers to help you. Health care providers are predicting that there will be more sick workers in the near future. Adjust your timeline accordingly so that you don’t take on more work than you can handle.
Also, don’t forget to check with your supply chain. Just because you’re open for business doesn’t mean that your supply chain is. This might mean that you have to work with limited resources for a while. In some cases, you might have to find another supply chain to fulfill your commitments.
Maintain Good Communication
During this time, communication is more important than ever before. This includes communication with not only your employees but also your customers. Many websites are sending out emails and posting information on their websites about the COVID-19 situation.
These methods are a great way to keep customers up to date about the actions that you’re taking to protect them and your employees. It lets them know whether or not you’re still open for business too.
For your employees, make sure that you have all of their current contact information. This makes it easy for you to contact them and give them updates on the situation. It’s extremely important when it comes to returning to work. Having both their phone numbers and email addresses will ensure that you can contact them when the time comes.
Consider Upgrading Your Company
Even if you can’t continue serving the public at this time, you can keep your business going in other ways. One idea is to implement upgrades to your company that are normally difficult to implement.
For example, some contractors are doing deep cleans of their companies. Doing so will make work more productive once employees return and sanitize workstations. On top of that, you can keep some staff on hand to help you with the upgrades, cleaning and even remodeling. Best of all, it won’t interfere with your usual construction work if you can’t operate during the COVID-19 crisis anyway.
Use a Checklist When Closing Down
If worst comes to worst and you have to shut down during this pandemic, you should do a few things to ensure that your company stays safe when you’re not there. Start by making sure that all electronics are turned off. Doing so allows you to save money on your energy bill while you’re not in operation.
Also, do a full walk-through of your shop, store or office. Take care of any problems that need immediate attention. Organize as much as you can because it will make your operations run smoother when work resumes. Once again, you can keep a few employees on hand to ensure that you get this done as quickly as possible.
Next, don’t forget to set your alarm or security system if you have one. Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean that other people won’t take this opportunity to try to capitalize on your absence. At the very least, visit your place of business once a week to check on it. This will give you a little peace of mind during this time of high anxiety.
Lastly, consider creating an emergency backup plan in the event that something happens to you. This may include giving a trusted employee a key so that he or she can access your shop or business office. While no one likes to consider the worst case, it’s best to be prepared.
Put Your Customers’ Needs First
Use these tips to ensure that you can continue to operate your business while keeping your employees and customers safe. Safety needs to be your top priority at the moment, but it’s equally important to offer essential services to people who need them.
At MasterShield Gutter Protection, we’ll continue to offer our services to customers for as long as we can do so in a safe manner. We have a duty to protect our customers and their homes from the elements. Just because the world is in lockdown right now doesn’t mean that the harsh elements will stop. Some of the gutter guards that we offer homeowners include:
- Gutter guards for trees.
- Copper gutter guards.
- Heated gutter guards.
- Half-round gutter guards.
If you’re in need of guards for your gutters during the COVID-19 outbreak, reach out to MasterShield Gutter Protection. You can contact us at 1-844-230-4551 for more information about any changes to our services and hours.