Surviving COVID-19: For Home Service Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world and our economy by storm. With government-mandated closures of businesses, self-isolation requirements, and mass layoffs across many industries, you’re likely wondering what you can do to weather this rapidly changing storm. We have some tips that might help your home service business survive COVID-19.

Decide now if you’re going to close

If you are planning on staying open during this crisis, you need a strategy to do so. The government mandates social distancing, and many homeowners are practicing self-isolation to protect themselves and stop the spread of COVID-19. Your business needs to have a strategy to adapt to these requirements or a plan of how you can successfully pick things up later if you decide to close your doors.

Managing cash flow needs to be a part of your strategy

Cash flow management is essential to surviving a crisis like this. That doesn’t mean cutting all your expenses entirely and hope for the phone to ring with more work. You need to find out where you can spend money strategically to help grow your business – even in challenging times like these. You might have to lay off some employees and sub-contractors, but think about how you can increase your messaging now, so your customers know where to find you when they need your home services. Read this 6-step plan for taking control of your cash flow

Take advantage of business support

The federal government, along with your provincial government, has offered a range of emergency supports to help businesses get through this. These services will help you keep staff on the payroll, even if they are underworked or don’t have any work at all, so you can bounce back more quickly when it all blows over. 

Your business may be eligible for business supports that include: 

**Important Update Released**

On Wednesday April 8, 2020, the federal government has released updates on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program that provides 75% wage subsidy.

The key update is the eligibility requirements have been relaxed for the first period, and additional comparisons have been allowed to account for organizations founded after February 2019.

Updates to the first payroll period (March 15 to April 11):
Organizations will be eligible for organizations seeing a 15% drop in revenue compared to ONE of the following periods:

  • March 2019, or
  • Average of February and January 2020.
Updates to the second and third periods (April 12 to June 6):
Organizations will be eligible for organizations seeing a 30% drop in revenue compared to ONE of the following periods:
  • April 2019 (or May 2019, if in the appropriate month), or
  • Average of February and January 2020.

– A GST and HST deferral, including a deferral on duties and taxes on imports until June 2020. These deferrals add up to $30 billion in short-term interest-free loans for businesses that qualify.

– Look into New Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program to help ease access to credit for entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19.  This program will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.

– You can launch a Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA):

– A $40,000 interest-free, government‑guaranteed loan to help pay for operating costs that can’t be deferred as a result of COVID‑19.
– $10,000 (25%) of the $40,000 loan is eligible for complete forgiveness if $30,000 is fully repaid on or before De‍cember 31, 20‍22.
– If the loan cannot be repaid by De‍cember 31, 20‍22, it can be converted into a 3‑year term loan at an interest rate of 5%.

Don’t rely on referral business

At RenovationFind, we have heard from many home services contractors that they’ve never had to advertise. Many companies in our industry have grown thanks to referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. Unfortunately, our customers are all laying low, social distancing, and many self-isolating or under quarantine. That means they are no longer gathering with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbours. Word-of-mouth marketing has paused for now, so it’s time to consider other ways to grow your business during this time. 

Work ON your business, not IN your business

You’ve heard this term before, but now is the time to start putting it to practice. Let’s face it; your customers are going to wait if possible before calling a home service company to work on something in their home. You’re going to have some downtime. Use it to work on improving your business. Here are some ways you can do that: 

1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

How do you manage your relationship with your customers today? Leads that come to your voicemail or social media pages area easily missed. A good CRM software can manage all conversations, leads, and essential activities, so nothing ever gets dropped. When this is over, you’ll no longer have to worry about upset customers calling saying they are still waiting for estimates. Right now, you have time to research CRMs and set one up. Some recommended CRM software includes Pipedrive and Hubspot.  

2. Improve estimate templates

How are your customers receiving estimates? Are they receiving a rough estimate verbally or in an email, or do you have appropriately branded documents for providing quotes? Have you seen your competition’s estimates? Take the time to improve how your estimate document looks.  Recommended Quoting software includes SumoQuote

3. Update your website

This is something you can easily do while your customers are practicing social distancing or self-isolation. Your web company will still be working! Whether your DIY your website using online templates and tools, or hire a web design firm, you should take this time to ensure your website is modern, professional, and informative. Recommended website development companies includes Funnel Edge Marketing or a DIY website builder like Wordpress

4. Consider your visual branding

Does your logo need an update? Do you need to work on your external documents, so they align with your company’s brand? Graphic designers are still working! Now is the time to update your logos and other branding documents. Recommended companies like Knorth Creative or Funnel Edge Marketing

5. Build your online presence

Google reported that most consumers are researching over ten sources of information before making a buying decision. During this pandemic, consumers are spending more time online than ever! Try Googling your company name. Make sure every page and profile that appears in the search results looks great. You do not want potential customers to see incomplete profiles, bare pages, and no imagery. Recommended companies like Dingus & Zazzy

6. Build trust with your customers

In a time like this, you need to make it clear to your customers that you are still operational and taking this health crisis seriously. Develop a proper written response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It needs to include specific safety and health measures you’ve made following advice from the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and other local authorities to keep your employees and customers safe. It has always been important to carry proper insurance, business license, and WCB coverage. Still, homeowners are pickier than ever when it comes to hiring companies that will be coming in or around their home. Make sure your credentials are up-to-date. 

Reassess your marketing and advertising strategy

The unprecedented cancellations of events, conferences, and trade shows combined with the increasing barriers to face-to-face business pose an enormous challenge. Now more than ever, companies across all industries must turn to digital marketing to survive COVID-19. Take advantage of this time to fine-tune and improve your online marketing. Think about it – your customers are all online right now – if you don’t reach them there, your competitors will.  

Figure out how to adapt your marketing to the current situation, and then double your efforts. You might have a list of things you’ve always wanted to do to enhance your online marketing; now you have the time to get through that list. Here are some ideas: 

1. Improve lead generation

If requests for estimates have come to a halt, start researching online services that only offer effective lead generation. 

2. Build branding and awareness

Most people are stuck in their houses right now. They might have a big project in mind for the future, but right now, all they can do is research. They’re on social media and surfing the web far more than ever. Now is the time to get your brand messaging online and in front of as many homeowners as possible. 

3. Develop quality online content

Write some helpful educational articles that will genuinely help homeowners. Think about how you can educate them first, so when the time comes, they’ll approach your business, and you’ll make the sale. Right now, people don’t want to get an estimate, and they’re not even interested in a discount on your services. They just want to learn. Make sure your company is teaching them. 

4. Strengthen SEO

If you can afford it, now is an incredibly advantageous time to improve your search engine optimization. Many companies are cutting back or eliminating their SEO spending, so if you have the reserves, now is the perfect time to invest in passing your competition in search engine rankings.

How can RenovationFind help?

RenovationFind is an experienced and successful digital marketing company. We provide homeowners with a valuable service that directly benefits your business as a RenovationFind Certified company. Our team spends a lot of time on building content, brand awareness, lead generation, and search engine optimization. We are here to help you ride out this challenging time. Please connect with us.




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