How to Navigate Storm Damage Repairs During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Advice for Insurance Restoration Contractors Working Safely
In most areas, roofing is an essential service — especially after a storm rolls through and causes hail or wind damage. Given the nature of the coronavirus, many homeowners may be wondering where to start with repairs and if it’s safe to have contractors on their properties. As a contractor, you’re likely worried about how to safely get the word out about your business and making sure your team is adhering to the coronavirus guidelines in your area.
While each part of the country is unique, we put together some general tips to help you successfully navigate the complexities of the current climate and meet the needs of homeowners following a storm event.
1. Get the Word Out
Even as homeowners practice social distancing, you can still safely get the word out about your storm damage repair services in impacted communities without selling face-to-face. Here are some ideas for how you can easily and effectively reach prospective customers:
- Door Hangers and/or Postcards: A direct mail program is one of the most effective ways to reach qualified homeowner prospects. Through ABC Supply’s Freedom Programs, customers also have access to emergency storm damage postcards that can be customized to reach homeowners in your service area.
- As coronavirus guidelines continue to evolve, this technique may or may not be available in your area.
- Social Media: Post about your business to help homeowners learn about the services you offer. If you know a specific area has been hit with a storm, target your posts to be served to homeowners in and around that affected zone. This way you have a better chance of getting your information in front of someone who is looking for help.
- Contact Past Customers: Send letters or emails to homeowners you’ve worked with in the past who may be in affected areas. Many impacted homeowners may not know where to start with storm repairs, so send them your information to let them know that you have the ability to help assess and repair the damage caused by a storm.
2. Prepare for Jobs Remotely
With social distancing guidelines in place, storm repair and insurance restoration contractors can still keep business moving through electronic tools and processes, including:
- Estimating Tools: Use software like EagleView or One Click Contractor to collect aerial measurements and estimate orders for the storm damage repair. To make the process even easier, EagleView integrates with ABC Connect, giving ABC Supply customers the ability to calculate material costs. Read more for tips on estimating a roofing job and creating bids remotely.
- Plan for Touch-Free Orders, Pickups and Deliveries: Order materials from your supplier via phone, fax, text or other electronic means. ABC Supply also offers myABCsupply, an easy-to-use tool that allows you to place orders (ordering not yet available in California), manage order details, see your delivery status, view delivery photos and access billing information.
- Order Common Materials in Advance: If you live in an area that is commonly hit with storms, consider ordering tarps and plywood in advance in case you need to help homeowners in the aftermath of a storm. At ABC Supply, we want to be a partner to our customers, making sure they have what they need to meet the need following severe weather. Learn more about how our training and expertise can help you after a storm.
3. Communicate With Homeowners From a Distance/Virtually
Prospective customers may not be comfortable welcoming contractors into their homes to discuss a project — but with the help of technology, you can still get the job done while social distancing. As you engage with homeowners, build trust by showing them that their safety is a priority to you, and always make sure you’re interacting in a way they’re comfortable with. Here are some more ideas for how to better connect with prospective homeowners:
- Virtual Video Meetings: Schedule meetings with homeowners using Zoom, Skype or FaceTime to introduce yourself and share project updates. Turn your video on to make the meeting more personal and screenshare documents, including estimates and measurements that you’ve done remotely, to help your client follow along with you as you explain the details of the project.
- Share Disinfectant Processes: When a job starts, proactively share the disinfectant and sanitation processes your team will have in place for the equipment and jobsite. Continue to share updates on your procedures as coronavirus restrictions evolve throughout your project.
- Overcommunicate: Be clear about when you will be on the property to work and how homeowners can communicate with you remotely. Set up regular phone or video meetings and respond to emails quickly so they know how to contact you. If possible, email or talk through a work schedule or an expected cadence of when you will be on-site.
4. Work Safely
Create a safety plan for your company and incorporate these important guidelines to help keep everyone safe.
- Have a Sick Policy: Communicate with your crew regarding sick time. Have a policy in place and make sure to set clear guidelines about when they can (or cannot) work.
- Be Present: Have a bigger presence on the jobsite while restrictions are in place to monitor employees and ensure they’re adhering to safety guidelines.
- Designate Cleaning Responsibilities: Sanitize equipment, company vehicles and job areas thoroughly and designate cleaning responsibilities to each member of the crew.
- Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Consider having repair and service crews that work closely together wear N95, N99 or N100 respirators for added protection in close quarters.
- Keep Your Distance: If you need to communicate with a customer, do so virtually or even outside where you can stay at least six feet apart. If possible, have a conversation with the customer upfront about how comfortable they are with different levels of contact.
While the current coronavirus pandemic poses new challenges, we understand that you need to continue to support your customers and communities when they need help with storm damage repair. Like you are there for them, ABC Supply is here for you. For more tips on conducting business while practicing social distancing, visit our COVID-19 resource page.