A Health & Safety Update from Angie's List

An Update From Our President | April 24th Paycheck Protection Program Information Fact Sheet Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act

 

Things are changing quickly in today’s world and we are here to help you through these uncertain times. This resource center contains helpful tips and tools for you.

Here's a closer look at what we have been working on: 

For Our Certified Pros:

  • *NEW* We have added a section to your profile for you to communicate your work availability and health and safety measures. Be sure to update today!
  • We have launched this resource center with helpful information about leading your business with extra caution.
  • Proposed a comprehensive plan to the United States Congress to enable the federal government to provide financial aid directly to over 250,000 small businesses on our platform and to deem the industry “essential” as part of the nation’s national workforce so they are considered in stimulus relief efforts.
  • We are standing by to help you maximize your online presence.
  • Our president sent out tactical information for you to consider. Check it out below.

For Our Homeowners:

  • We are creating designations in our Request a Quote flow to allow homeowners to alert Pros when they want their interaction to be as contact-less as possible.
  • We are offering homeowners a resource center for tips on maintaining their home and interacting with home service pros.
  • We are helping homeowners plan ahead for future home projects.

Helpful Tips

Here are a handful of PDFs we have put together that can also help your business out during this time.

Weathering the Storm Checklist
Learn More
Evolving Standards in Home Services
Learn More
Go Virtual
Learn More
Hear From Other Pros
Learn More

A Note From Our President

During this period of uncertainty, we want to assure you that we are working harder than ever to provide you with the services and products you need to protect your business. At Angie’s List, the health and safety of our service professionals and homeowners are our top priority. This takes shape in the form of these commitments which we continue to make to you:

We Make Connections.

During periods of uncertainty, homeowners may make adjustments, but we continue to see demand for service professionals. We recommend you consider the following:

  • Optimize your exposure by expanding your categories and zip codes, all from your Business Center portal.
  • Help potential customers make hiring decisions by adding Deals, or exclusive offers, to your profile.
  • When scheduling a job or working with a homeowner, consider proactively asking if they have other needs or projects you might complete for them. This may help limit the number of service professional visits required by a homeowner.
  • We can help.  Call or email your Client Success Rep.

We Take Safety Seriously.

Trust and reliability are more important than ever. Angie’s List is a technology-driven service, and right now, limiting physical contact is essential. We encourage pros to:

  • Seek alternatives to in-person meetings, use the Angie’s List Pro app, phone, email, or direct message to connect with homeowners.
  • Ask homeowners if they have a preferred way of communicating to share details about their projects. For example, video calls using Facebook, Facetime, WhatsApp, or Google Hangouts will be an excellent way to share visual information.
  • Photos go a long way. Use the Angie’s List app and text messaging to request photos from customers to better understand their project needs.

We Are Dedicated to Quality Service. 

Let homeowners know the specific steps you are taking to reduce the spread of Covid-19, including:

  • Using quick-acting hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectants instead of standard alcohol-based disinfectants, based on CDC guidelines.
  • Wearing gloves, shoe covers, or removing shoes when in other people’s homes. 
  • Disinfecting high-touch areas before and after servicing someone’s home, including light switches, doorknobs, and more. Disinfectant instructions are on the CDC website.

We Are Here to Provide Exceptional Support. 

Above all, we want you to know we value you and are here to help you. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and like you, we are monitoring it daily. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.

Finally, if you have been diagnosed with the virus, or exposed to it, we respectfully ask you to discontinue in-person interaction with homeowners for the period recommended by the CDC. For more information, please click here

Kind regards, 

Jeremy Stewart, President, Angie’s List

Resources for Small Business Owners

Small and local businesses are experiencing a variety of new challenges. From a change in demand to remote work, things are changing fast during the COVID-19 outbreak and businesses are being forced to adapt. We are working hard to bring you the best resources and information to navigate this challenging time. Check out these links for more information:

  • The US Small Business Administration is offering special loan and assistance programs for companies being impacted. More specifically they have implemented the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program which provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. Here is a link to the online application.
  • The US Department of Treasury has implemented the Paycheck Protection Program which is a fully forgivable loan program that allows you to pay your employees. Here is an overview of the program, along with an information fact sheet. If you don't already have an established relationship with a local bank, visit here to apply.
  • The US Chamber of Commerce has also prepared a Coronavirus response toolkit. Available here
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) provide helpful resources and safety tips for everyone.
  • Use this link to see updates from the U.S Department of State
  • We have also seen a lot of actions taken by local government and organizations to help small businesses during this time.

Communication Tips

Drafts to Use With Your Customers

Whether you are reaching out to long-time customers or talking to prospective customer, it’s important to be sensitive during this time. Consider using these drafts when talking or emailing with homeowners.

Message to Current Customers
As you already know, we are collectively living through unique times. In order to adhere to guidelines, set out by the government and CDC, we are offering options to limit in-person contact. If you have any projects in the pipeline, we would love to discuss them with you either over the phone or through video, and determine the best route moving forward. If there is any way we can be of help during this time, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Responding to Project Inquiries
Thank you for reaching out about [insert project here]. We are here to serve you. Our excellent staff at [company name] is judiciously following government and CDC guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19. To that end, our team is trained on proper hygiene practices and also offering alternatives to in-person meetings but are still here to help you maintain and upgrade your home. As a first step, we would love to discuss your project with you over phone or video chat and determine the appropriate path moving forward. Thank you for supporting local business!

Using Video to Stay Connected

With the amount of technology we have today it is easy to hop on your computer or pick up your smartphone and video call somebody. Video calls/conferencing can be a great way to keep in touch with your team and even talk to homeowners about projects. Below are helpful links on how to use common video calling software.

Tips for Working Through a Crisis

  • Get Creative – what are some projects you can do remotely? Maybe it’s putting together new proposals, building new website content, writing thank you notes to your customers. Spend some time knocking out those projects you can’t do when you are in the field.
  • Be Flexible - realize that some of your customers might be stressed and struggling financially during this time. Offering things like flexible financing, special deals and discounted services can be a great way of building up your brand's reputation and image within your community.
  • Keep Marketing - even though times are a little slower than usual, your marketing shouldn't stop. Make phone calls, create some new advertising, give back to your community, spend the extra time you have to make an impact down the road. You might not be able to go and complete jobs now but you can still work to fill up your schedule for the rest of the year.

Hear From Our Pros

Hear from pros on how their business is reacting and how they are putting their customers at ease.

Temporary Shift to Exterior Projects

“Although we are following all the CDC guidelines, we have found our clients, apart from an emergency type service, to be uneasy with us being inside their home. To weather this storm, we are moving more of our marketing budget to advertise the exterior services we offer. I’m also updating my Angie’s List profile to reflect this new direction we are taking.”

- Steven Alexander, Mr. Handyman of Nassau County

Communicating about Health & Safety

“Plumbing and Air Conditioning is not a luxury. It is a necessity. The service we provide is critical for the health and safety of the community. Therefore, we must find ways to conduct business, and take precautions to slow the spread of the virus. Like many, we’ve eliminated handshakes. We let customers know ahead of time the precautions we are taking, including instructing technicians to not shake hands upon arrival. Our trucks fully stocked with gloves and hand sanitizer. Our staff is aware that sanitation is more important than ever.”

- Chris Cunningham, Service Plus Heating, Cooling and Plumbing

Focusing on Business Projects

“We are taking advantage of this time to get caught up on projects that we have put off. We have updated our training material and company policies and already communicated with our employees. We are going to do a little Spring cleaning on our Angie’s List profile and make some much needed updates. Finally, we are documenting our process of working with clients, from quote to project completion, to add consistency to each project.”

- Agnes Vasilkovski, Real Exteriors

Virtually Supporting Staff

“We are suspending manager ride-alongs and are moving to virtual meetings. We will not have company-wide meetings, instead shifting to virtual 1:1 and team meetings. We have also clearly communicated our expectations to our employees that if they are sick or have a fever, they need to stay home. Employees with symptoms of acute respiratory illness should notify management and not return to work until they have been free of fever and any other symptoms for 24 hours, without medicine that would suppress symptoms. We have used this as an opportunity to install air purification systems in the Service Plus building.”

- Chris Cunningham, Service Plus Heating, Cooling and Plumbing

Prioritizing Safety

“In regard to the COVID-19 virus we are being as careful and vigilant with our employees and customers as possible on all levels. We have masks available for the sales team for at home customer visits and we encourage social distancing. Sanitizer, disinfectants and other cleaning supplies are available for the entire office and are used as a cautionary measure on a regular basis. Sick employees are not allowed to come to work. Those employees that need to work from home are doing so.  We hope to keep everyone healthy and safe.”

- Patrick Miller, Patrick Miller Construction Inc