COVID-19; the situation for contractors
18 March, 2020
18 March, 2020
The news on Covid-19 is changing rapidly, and painting companies, as well as most every business in America, are faced with tough decisions and challenges. Business owners are working to make sure their employees and customers stay safe and to make sure they can weather some severe interruptions in service during this time.
As a business owner, your employees, family, and clients will likely remember how you demonstrated your leadership skills and stood by them during trying times. It’s important to remain calm and make informed decisions regarding not only physical health and safety, but financial health as well.
Maintaining Health on the Job
Here are some basic hygiene guidelines, including some from a blog post published by Nolan Consulting Group with some suggestions as to how to proceed with public health in mind. For the complete Nolan article visit https://www.nolancg.com/blog/preparing-for-physical-financial-health. Most importantly, it’s urgent that your employees take this situation seriously and adjust behavior.
Cash Flow Considerations
Cash flow may also be an issue. As businesses are slowing down or coming to a stop, Morgan Ray from Bookkeepers for Painters, has some thoughts on looking for new jobs and handling your finances if things slow down, which she shared with us in a recent Paint Radio Podcast: http://www.paintmag.com/covid-19-weathering-storm.
Help with N95 Shortage
Due to a shortage of N95 masks, the White House has asked the trades to donate masks to local health care facilities and refrain from ordering more so as not to aggravate the shortage. The statement from the Vice President’s office reads as follows:
"We would make one specific request, and that is we would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks. Because of what the president asked to be included in legislation moving through the Congress today, those industrial masks that they use on construction sites are perfectly acceptable for health care workers to be protected from a respiratory disease.
"We are asking construction companies that our president knows very well from his background. We are asking them to donate their N95 masks to their local hospitals and also forgo making additional orders."
Reports from Contractors
As of Wednesday March 18, contractors have seen various degrees of business interruptions. Some have mentioned no change at this point, other have mentioned that that leads are dwindling but the company is still busy with previously booked work. Others are reporting estimate cancellations, and one has said the job to paint on a college campus was delayed as the university has closed up.
Another painter commented that while it’s still business as usual, the crisis is getting too hard to ignore, and the crew is getting nervous. Another contractor reports they keep building occupants away from the work area so as to limit exposure. Others are only doing exterior projects to stay out of clients’ homes, and some homeowners have postponed interior work, stating they don’t want anyone else inside.
One painter predicted that as homeowners and business are losing their source of income, they’ll be cancelling contracts with painters because they need to hang on to their cash. Another reported he’d just lost 13 weeks of work for a crew of four. “I’m scrambling to keep guys working,” he said.
Cindy Howard of Decorative & Faux Finishes, Sugar Land, TX, shared an idea to counter a business slowdown, suggesting that this is a good time to offer discounted prices to retail locations, schools, designer store fronts, restaurants, etc. that are seeing less to no clientele coming into their business. “Sell your work with a spin,” she says. “Say, ‘While people are staying closer to home, why not freshen up your space? I can offer cost of products plus labor without mark up for the next couple of weeks. I have .[..dates...]. available.’ Don't be doom and gloom. Be a solution.”
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