From cleaners to electricians, COVID-19 alters providers – Information – seacoastonline.com
Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Rebuilding America series, which examines the reopening of the nation and the seashore after the shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus.
PORTSMOUTH – The emergence of COVID-19 has had far-reaching and often unexpected effects on businesses, not least home services.
Those whose business is going into people’s homes or commercial spaces have had to rethink their approach and in some cases find some of these new methods as improvements over the old approach that they will continue after the pandemic ends.
Residential and commercial cleaning services are badly affected.
Matt Donnelly, owner of The Maids of Southern NH, said the way cleaning services are provided has changed, and in some cases, for the better.
“We were seen as an essential service, but we voluntarily closed for a while,” said Donnelly. “We took a close look at our services and determined where we should be in the further process. We have always brushed for health, but now we focus heavily on high touch areas. We still do things that we have already done well, but with an even stronger focus on disinfection and disinfection. “
Donnelly said they realized they needed to take more detailed approaches to cleaning up churches.
“We went in and dusted and did light cleaning,” he said. “As soon as the churches hold mass again, we have to disinfect the church before and after mass.”
“Our employees have appropriate PPE, including gloves, goggles, masks and overshoes, for all work,” he said. “Microfiber cloths, brushes and tools are exchanged between the individual houses. We ask customers to help us practice social distancing during our visit. What a great time to take a walk or bike ride and return to a professionally cleaned and sanitary home. “
Donnelly said Zoom Meetings was a newly adopted aspect that they would keep as it turned out to be good for the company and customers.
“We can use Zoom to create a quote for a new customer,” he said. “The customer can show us around their home and talk about what they need on a tablet or phone. We went live with it a few weeks ago and we love it. This is more efficient for us and more convenient for the customer as we can schedule this according to their schedules. “
Donnelly said he uses Zoom to hold employee reviews with his teams and YouTube videos for training purposes.
Tammy Caveny, owner of Maid for You, said they are slowly recovering and bringing employees back, but not everyone can return yet.
“About half of our employees are mothers,” said Caveny. “Now they are at home, teaching their children. People are not looking for part-time work because they are more focused on incentives and unemployment. Also, people are careful when we come into their homes. We’ve gone from 170 returning homes to 60. We are now starting to resume them and that is hopeful. “
Caveny said the way they cleanse has changed and will likely continue as they move forward.
“We used to clean fluff, make beds and clean counters,” she said. “Now we are doing a thorough cleaning, especially for areas with strong contact. We use hospital grade disinfectants and offer steam cleaning services. Employees wear PPE and we run courses to educate our employees about best practices. We are in the process of being certified by the Global BioRisk Advisory Council. “
Speaking to people who are still reluctant to let cleaners into their homes, Caveny said, “Now is the time to keep your home as clean as possible and we can help you. We clean differently and I don’t think that will ever stop. We wear ankle boots, gloves and face masks, which we have never done. I think we make a difference in people’s homes. We can help keep people safe. “
Jim Saccoccia, owner of Saccoccia Electric in Barrington, said COVID-19 initially resulted in a dramatic decline in his business.
“People were afraid to let someone into their house,” Saccoccia said. “The housing business is slowly making a comeback. We also have commercial customers, and some of them still don’t let people in. Or they offer breathtaking services, meaning they have an electrician one day, a plumber the next, drywall another day. It definitely slows things down. “
Saccoccia workers go to a workplace that is prepared to be safe.
“We have always prided ourselves on doing clean work,” he said. “My employees are respectful. If a customer wants us to wear a mask, we will without question. Our boys are equipped with disinfectants. I think that will continue to be part of the way we work. “
The interesting benefit that Saccoccia discovered is the use of technologies like Zoom to meet potential customers.
“Some residents are wary of our getting to their homes, so we used Facetime or Zoom for consultations,” he said. “It’s good for the customer because it’s easier to schedule a video conference than to wait for us to get to them. I think it saves a lot of time and I think I’ll definitely keep some of it. Suppose I have a prospect who is an hour away. If I go to a consultation there and then don’t get the job; I’ve wasted over two hours of my time. With Zoom, it’s easy to speak instantly in real time. “
Saccoccia said people are living in today’s society during the COVID-19 pandemic. They want things to get done when they want, and he believes that using technology will help them meet those needs faster.
“Things will never be the same as they were before COVID-19,” Saccoccia said. “We’re finding ways to adapt and this will be the new normal.”