Right now, the Coronavirus lockdown is affecting everyone. Unlike many professions who have transitioned to working at home, appliance repair inherently involves visiting other people’s homes. This is a known risk, but a necessary one. During the pandemic, appliances still need to perform, and they still break down. In fact, home appliance repairs are even more important because everyone is at home, relying more heavily on the amenities of home than ever before. As repair technicians, our safety protocols are now essential to keeping both families and teams safe.
We recently released a guide on how to perform a safe home repair with the considerations of the COVID-19 pandemic. We talked about and displayed the steps necessary to enter a home and perform repairs without risking cross-contamination of your germs with those of the family. Following these steps in the home, you can ensure that COVID cannot spread during your visit.
That said, there is more to a safe visit than thorough in-home procedures. The best safety during a repair starts long before the appointment. It’s all about the way you prepare. Today, we’re focusing on how to prep your truck, team, and self for safe appliance repairs during the pandemic.
Send One Technician Whenever Possible
Social distancing has made it necessary for professionals to work further apart. For many home services, this has not been a problem. We are used to safety procedures and often can work alone. Now that virus safety is a concern, however, teams riding together and partnered jobs are no longer advisable in most situations. Unless there is a big job that will truly require multiple people, like uninstalling an unwieldy appliance, it’s best to send only one technician at a time.
If you have technicians in apprenticeship or training, consider prioritizing their training at the facility where you can control contamination vectors and clients are not a factor.Assure clients that one technician prepared and trained in virus safety will be arriving to keep risks at an absolute minimum.
Stock the Truck with New Safety Supplies
We mentioned several new supplies that are necessary for a COVID-safe repair. To accomplish that process in homes, naturally, you will first need to select the right safety supplies and stock all service vehicles so that technicians can go in fully prepared, without buying PPE out-of-pocket. Fortunately, this list of supplies is both accessible and inexpensive. Let’s talk about making the right selections, and why those choices are ideal.
- Box of L or XL Disposable Gloves
- When choosing a bulk-order of gloves, don’t ponder the size; always choose XL. There are two reasons for this. First, XL is the closest to one-size-fits-all that rubber or latex gloves have to offer. Second, if changing gloves becomes necessary mid-repair, only XL gloves can fit over already slightly glove-sweaty hands. Also, size M is closer to a women’s medium hand-size, so use this as your reference scale when choosing a glove size for the team.
- Box of Disposable Booties – Shoe Covers
- Disposable booties, also known as shoe covers, only come in one size. Just make sure you choose sturdy booties that won’t rip when your technicians move or crouch to work.
- Roll of Trash Bags
- The larger the trash bag, the better. The trash bag in this equation is your drop-cloth that can be turned inside-out when the job is done and holds any repair debris like gloves, booties, and parts packaging. Pick landscaping trash bags instead of kitchen trash bags for this purpose.
- Pack of Disposable or Washable Masks
- Your choice of masks is important. Disposable or cloth, masks need to be changed between clients just like gloves. With disposable masks, the masks can be easily and safely thrown away at the end of each service. With cloth masks, you can collect, wash, and reuse them each day. Just send each technician out with a stack of masks equal or greater to their number of clients that day.
- Clear Plastic Face Shield
- You can alternately offer your team clear plastic face shields. These can be considered more personable for clients because expressions can be seen through them, while still offering protection from transmitted breath particles.
- Disinfecting Surface Cleaner
- Lastly, send your team with disinfectant. Simple Windex will do, but so will any other strong spraying surface cleaner. Advise your team to spray down any appliance or surface they work with, and clean again on their way out just to be safe.
Call 10 Minutes Out from Client Homes
Home services tend to occur in ‘windows’ of time, giving clients a certain amount of guess-work while your drivers navigate traffic and service times. It is always courteous, in this situation, to call when the truck is about 10 minutes out to give clients a chance to be ready when your technician arrives.
Now it is more than courteous, it is an excellent virus safety protocol. By letting your clients know that the truck will soon arrive, families have a chance to take their own precautionary measures to limit exposure and to prepare for welcoming a technician into their otherwise isolated home. You may also ask clients if they’d like a longer lead-up, like 30 minutes before arrival, or as much warning as you can give.
Ask Clients to Limit Contact to Only One Resident
We mentioned in our previous article that at-risk family members should sequester themselves in another room while a technician visits for repairs. Take this one step further by advising clients to only send one representative to meet you at the door, show you the appliance, and consult on the repair. All other members of the household can be advised to close themselves into the living room or a bedroom for games and movies while the repair is ongoing.
This limits the possible risk of exposure in both directions and gives you a more controlled situation to ensure that no accidents occur. With only one household representative, you can explain your safety process once and have their help maintaining all the right distance, cleaning, and plastic-wrapping procedures.
Brief Technicians Before Every Route
With your trucks packed and your clients ready to work with you on safety, the last step is to brief technicians every day. Before the daily route begins, go through the safety procedures again with everyone, or have your team members take turns re-presenting the safety measures to everyone else. This ensures that the best practices for in-home COVID safety are top-of-mind when your team heads out.
—Providing appliance repairs during the lockdown is both more important than ever and more demanding of our precision. As technicians, we know how to be careful. It’s time to apply those skills to virus safety as well as our usual efforts to avoid electric shock and keep track of small hardware. With the right routine, you can continue faithfully serving your clients and keep both the team and clients safe from virus transmission. Contact us today for more safe appliance repair insights and appliance repair education resources.