Are moving companies considered essential businesses? Yes. Movers are essential during COVID-19 shutdowns, as not everyone has the flexibility to change or postpone a moving date. Successfully running moving company operations while social distancing involves changing some of the normal procedures in your moving company business plan. Here are five things you need to consider.
Protect Your Employees
The first step you can take to protect your staff is to implement social distancing strategies. For example, ask your office personnel to work from home, equipping them with the technology needed to do their jobs remotely. Additionally, you can transition your quote process to a virtual experience, using tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts to collect information from customers to provide an estimate.
You’ll also want to perform daily screenings with moving employees, asking them to report any symptoms and taking their temperature at the beginning of their shift. Check with the customer ahead of the move to learn if they’re isolating due to exposure.
Provide your moving team with personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer. Stagger shifts for large packing jobs to reduce the number of people on site. Instruct the team to wash their hands periodically throughout the day, or use sanitizer when water and soap aren’t available.
Also, update your cleaning procedures. Disinfect equipment such as hand trucks multiple times throughout the day. Avoid reusable bins and boxes during moves as the coronavirus can live on plastic and cardboard for at least 24 hours, according to National Institutes of Health.
Safeguard Your Customers
Many of the steps you take to protect employees will also benefit your customers, but there are actions you can take to provide an extra layer of safety. First, recommend that customers leave during the moving process to limit contact. If that’s not possible, instruct your moving team to maintain a six-foot social distance from customers and ask customers to do the same.
Suggest that customers wear masks during the initial walk-through when the moving crew arrives. And advise them on safety protocols, such as washing their hands multiple times throughout the move.
Also, eliminate customary business traditions, such as handshakes or the signing of physical paperwork. Instead, provide a way to electronically sign documents.
Change Your Marketing
Safety will be on your customers’ minds during this time, and it’s important to communicate the precautions you’re taking. Let them know how you’ve changed your operations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Add a COVID-19 section to your website that outlines the measures you’ve adopted to keep them safe. Share the updated cleaning and disinfecting procedures you’re following. And let them know how you’re monitoring your employees and that you’re providing staff with PPE for each moving job.
Stay active on your social media accounts by sharing all of your safety procedures there, as well. Customers are looking for information during this time, and your posts could help reassure them.
Be Supportive of Your Workforce
Make sure your employees know you’re concerned about their health. Encourage anyone who feels sick to stay home, and consider revising your paid-time-off policies to provide your staff with the appropriate time they need to recuperate.
You may need to hire temporary labor if you become shorthanded. Cross-train employees who can step in and take on certain roles, or look into hiring gig workers on a project basis. You may need to provide training, so account for that in your timeline.
Take Advantage of Resources
Finally, make sure you’re aware of the resources that are put in place to help businesses during this time. Small business owners may qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration. This low-interest loan is designed to help you retain your employees during the pandemic.
You may also consider obtaining a small-business loan or line of credit as part of your moving company business plan so you can continue to pay your employees and cover expenses. This can come in handy if your customers are late with payments or if you experienced a slowdown in moves.
Are moving companies essential businesses? Yes, and that’s why they need to take the steps to keep everyone safe.