If there is one phrase that will likely define the year 2020, it’s “social distancing.” Two simple words, one very big impact. How humans interacted prior to 2020, and how they will interact has changed – most likely long-term.
From a contractor’s perspective, the necessary practice of “social distancing” takes on a variety of forms.
How Things Have Changed for Contractors
Before March, when you would call a contractor and ask for an estimate, you’d receive a visit from an estimator or sales person. During that visit, you would probably shake hands, and invite them in to discuss the project you need completed. You may spend quite some time together at your kitchen table or in your living room going over the process, looking at samples, and even chatting about family, kids, or the weather.
Before March, your contractor may have had an office full of people – managers, scheduling staff, estimators, contract prep staff, accounting staff – every person that makes the wheels of an organization turn. They would gather in a small conference room for meetings. They would gather in kitchens for lunches and breaks. They might even head to a local restaurant on a Friday after work for happy hour.
Before March, every business owner considered their business essential. Essential to their customers, essential to their employees, and essential to the economy.
Now, things are different.
So how has social distancing and the other methods put into place to eradicate a pandemic changed the home improvement industry? Like many other industries, home improvement was both hurt and helped by these sudden changes. Hurt, like most others, in that business slowed or even stopped for enough time to cause financial strain. Helped, also like most others, in that contractors have been forced forward in time from a technological perspective.
What We’re Doing Now, and What We’ll Keep Doing
Long prior to the pandemic, a number of companies have offered amazingly accurate satellite imaging and drone technology for use in the construction industry. Contractors can virtually inspect many parts of the exterior of your home without setting foot on your property. Accurate measurements can be taken, even on the most complex of roofs. Potential problems can be spotted, such as missing or broken shingles, loose gutters, and issues around piping. While there are still some advantages to having someone get on your roof for measuring and inspection, the speed and accuracy of utilizing technology for this step is often a better choice. This technology is definitely here to stay.
In addition to using technology for estimating purposes in the field, contractors are also using it internally to go paperless. Product sample brochures, for example, can be provided to homeowners via a web link. Contracts can be sent to homeowners, and returned to contractors by e-mail. Payments can be taken over the phone or online. Supplies can be ordered online, and crew coordination can happen virtually as well. Going paperless makes sense, both from a speed perspective and an environmental one.
Prior to March of this year, when meeting with homeowners, it was the practice – even a requirement – of many contractors to meet face-to-face. While it has never been the practice at S&K, some contractors went as far as to require 90 minutes or more in a face-to-face meeting with all homeowners. That in-person meeting would also likely including hand shakes. While we can still meet face-to-face, that is up to the homeowners. And when meeting face-to-face, social distancing is followed.
We recognize that each individual has their own level of comfort with personal interactions during this trying time. The most vulnerable among us in particular require an extra level of care and caution. So from now on, although we have always considered ourselves to be kind and courteous, an “extra mile” effort is being put forth to ensure the comfort and safety of customers.
From an installation perspective, while crews may not always be able to maintain more than 6 feet from one another on the job, they will always maintain that distance from homeowners. For S&K, 90% of our work is done outside, so social distancing is not an issue. And when we do need to enter your home, all precautions will be taken, and time inside will be kept to a minimum.
To use another phrase from the pandemic, we are truly “in this together.” The owners and teams at S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows are committed to continuing to go that extra mile in everything we do.
If you are interested in learning more about our No-Contact Service, or to schedule an estimate, call us at 1-(866) 836-7663, or click the Estimate link above.