The ongoing coronavirus crisis has a had a major impact on the lives of everyone in the UK. As an installer, you will have made changes to how you operate at the minimum. Although, you might have had to suspend trading altogether, like we have here at My Trade Windows.
For those who are continuing to operate at this time, we’ve created this blog using the latest UK Government guidance to help you navigate your way through the current pandemic.
Advice for installers regarding working on people’s homes:
You can continue to work if you are well
Provided you or members of your staff are well and not displaying any symptoms of coronavirus e.g. a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath, you can continue to work on people’s homes.
However, if you or any members of staff have any symptoms of coronavirus, even if they’re very mild, you should not carry out any work.
You must stay at least 2m apart from any of the household’s occupants
When working on people’s homes, you must always follow this rule. It is essential for ensuring the safety of the occupants, yourself and any members of your staff.
Avoid households where individuals are isolating or being shielded
In households where someone is isolating or an individual is being shielded, no work should be carried out unless the work is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of that household and the tradesperson is willing to carry it out. Examples of this type of work include emergency plumbing and repairs.
Further advice on this issue is available to tradespeople and households from Public Health England.
Social distancing steps you can take when working on people’s homes:
If you do end up working on people’s homes, there are steps that you can take to ensure you operate effectively whilst keeping yourself and the occupants protected. This includes:
• Organise portaloos on site, so you don’t need to use the household’s bathroom facilities.
• Set up an external tea or coffee station or bring flasks so workers have refreshments available.
• Wash your hands with soap and water using an outside tap (if possible) for at least 20 seconds upon your arrival to the site.
• Continue to wash your hands regularly throughout the day and when arrive home.
• Use Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves and face masks when working.
• Clean your tools properly at the start and finish of the day.
• Change your clothes as soon as you get home and wash them.
We’d like to encourage all installers to follow all necessary protecting measures during these troubling times, keeping themselves and their customers safe.
Measures installers can take to help them financially during the coronavirus outbreak:
As a result of operations ceasing or slowing down, your business will no doubt have suffered financially. However, there are government measures in place that you can utilise to alleviate the strain on your finances.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If you’re an installer with employees and work is drying up, you can receive government support. This will allow your employees to receive a wage whilst you can retain them on your books. This is known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Provided you and your employee(s) agree, your employees can:
• Get paid 80% of their wages up to a maximum monthly amount of £2,500 via government grants. However, you can choose to pay your employees more than this if you wish.
• You can claim on this scheme for a minimum of 3 weeks and for up to 3 months. However, as circumstances develop, this period might be extended .
Placing your employees on this scheme is known as putting them on ‘furlough’. But, bear in mind that, if you do decide to do this, your employees will be unable to work for you for the duration that they are on furlough.
If any of your staff work on a self-employed basis, whether they’re an installer, salesperson or anything else, they can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a monthly maximum of £2,500 too. HMRC should contact self-employed traders who are eligible for this scheme.
So, what can you do during this time if you’re unable to install anything?
The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to help your business during this time, even if you’re not installing. We’ve made a few suggestions for you to consider below.
Keep in touch with your customers
For starters, you should make sure to let your customers know what you’re doing regarding the coronavirus outbreak. As your customers are likely to have concerns at this point, knowing that you’re there to offer support is likely to be warmly received too.
Find new leads and market yourself
If you’re not working right now, this is the perfect time to develop your business, find new leads and market yourself. You could look to expand into new markets, adapt your existing marketing strategy, or you might even completely reinvent yourself in preparation for when restrictions are lifted. Some of the ways you could do this include:
• Stay active on social media. Posting regularly on social media will keep your name out there and show you’re still open, in preparation for when restrictions are lifted.
• Email marketing. With so many people currently at home, now could be the perfect time to execute a well-planned email marketing campaign.
• Improve your website. Your website works as an all-year-round sales tool, so enhancing it could help you acquire and convert new leads.
• Virtual sales appointments. Using tools like WhatsApp, Facebook and Zoom, you can virtually talk customers through your products and services.
• Create or update any product brochures. By creating or updating your existing sales collateral, you’ll be in a stronger position once this crisis is over.
When doing any of the above, however, be sure to do so in a way that is sensitive to the grave situation that we’re all currently experiencing.
Offer to defer any installation work
Just because you can’t install right now doesn’t mean you won’t be able to months down the line. So, why not offer to defer any installation work for homeowners who still want to improve their homes? You could even sweeten the deal by running a promotional offer of some kind in order to compensate for the delay.
As circumstances have previously and likely will continue to change very quickly, there is a good chance this guidance will change soon. However, we will be updating this post accordingly so be sure to check back in periodically. For more information on My Trade Windows, our products & services, call 01483 361152 or contact us online.