During this crisis, we’re pre-paying for takeout, avoiding crowds and skipping visits with at-risk loved ones. Many of us are practicing social distancing, but, if your customers have a pressing repair issue, they may not be able to wait until this crisis has passed before addressing it.

Having repair technicians in their homes goes against all advice we’re receiving from health officials, yet, there are cases in which a repair addresses safety, health or sanitation issues. However, there are measures your customer can take to maintain their safety during a necessary repair.

Here are some easy-to-share tips for your customers who have skilled tradespeople coming into their homes:

  • Avoid problems and DIY smaller ones if you can. Most homeowners can address small projects like installing a thermostat, and one of the best ways to avoid plumbing problems is not treating the toilet as a trash can – only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed. Grease, wipes, paper towels, and cigarette butts should never be flushed.
  • Communicate by phone or text – discuss the repair in advance, and, if you need to follow up, do so by text, even if they’re in your yard or home. It may seem silly, but your technician will appreciate it.
  • Before a technician enters your home, ask them what their social distancing protocol is, what personal protective equipment they’re using and let them know if you or someone in your home is at-risk or immune-compromised. Agree to keep your distance from one another and forgo any handshaking.
  • Allow the technician to wash their hands at your sink. The skilled trades can be a dirty job. They ordinarily would hesitate to wash their hands at a client’s home, so take away the uncertainty and allow them to practice recommended hygiene.
  • Ask about digital payment. Money carries germs at the best of times, and we should all be keeping six feet apart.

What technicians should be doing:

  • If the job isn’t urgent or impacting your quality of life, they may ask you to wait. Not only are we dealing with a pandemic, but many supply manufacturers are overseas and some parts are difficult to come by. If this will impact your repair, they should let you know.
  • They should let you know that they are healthy when they arrive at your home. This may seem awkward, but these are unusual times. Most contractors are monitoring employees’ health and telling those who show symptoms to stay at home and communicate this to their customers.
  • Technicians should be wearing PPE, or personal protective equipment, including an N95 mask and nitrile gloves, even under their work gloves.
  • They should avoid touching surfaces as much as possible and wipe down those surfaces they must touch. Also, they should avoid touching their face, eyes or nose as well.
  • Don’t be surprised if you see them wiping down their vans or tools – the coronavirus can live for hours on hard surfaces, and this helps keep them and their coworkers safe.
  • They should be washing their hands or using hand sanitizer – the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials is recommending even more frequent handwashing than usual.

With a few tweaks and some distance, your customers can take steps to protect their health in the event of a necessary emergency home repair.