Our Pandemic Operating Plan
Business is not as usual
but we're still open for business.
by Scott Britton, Owner of Happy Window Cleaning LLC
If you're wondering if we are accepting appointments, the short answer is yes, in fact, continue to deliver window cleaning services.
The past few weeks have been daunting for us as we realize that there’s a strong possibility that Grand Rapids or West Michigan, or even the state in its entirety, might soon be on lockdown. As people coming from professional and relevant backgrounds, we understand that each of us carries the responsibility to practice every precaution during this crisis. Our customers, employees and our community mean more to us than whatever hardship we will certainly face before coming through these times. Our hope and prayer are that every single person we know will still be with us next year and beyond. Yes, it is a big ask, but we know He answers our prayers. I pray for all of those who have fallen ill, whether it be from flu, COVID -19 or other illnesses and for their loved ones.
We acknowledge that the risks from COVID -19 are real. For those who follow me on Facebook, I have been sharing dozens of videos for over two months from this biology course. Continuing education is just who we are. More important than the economic and business aspect of this crisis, I think of older customers and those we have been serving for years now. I have not forgotten any of you. In 2019 I had been so busy focused on building out the franchise that I now regret not having spent more time with you. Despite how busy we have been Cherie and I care for all our customers, regular or new, that’s just how it is. Then there are our employees – young men whom we have mentored and must lead, who support themselves and, in some cases, have dependents of their own. They are family too and we are duty-bound to look after their well-being as best we can. So, this new operating plan is about meeting our obligations to everyone morally and logically.
A crisis such as COVID-19 can bring the worst in some, but we witness that here in West Michigan it is also bringing out the best in us. Our operations and marketing plan created over the offseason is of little use now. In short order, we have revisited our mission and have prayed for guidance to find a new “purpose-driven” way forward. The question we asked is how can we help at a time when window cleaning, gutter cleaning or dryer vent cleaning is not a priority at this time? How can we contribute in these times given our collective talents and our acquired skill set?
Surely, there is something I can contribute to the community given relevant knowledge and skillset just like I did when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gold Coast. On day three from when the hurricane hit the coast, I camped in Pascagoula Mississippi, sanitizing and repairing flood-damaged homes. I am certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification as an Applied Microbial Remediation Technician and hold a separate certification in Health and Safety (among several other bio-related certifications) from the same institution. What good is one’s training if I can’t use it when it is needed most? We want to remain solvent. It has been a long winter as it is. In a sense window cleaning companies have already been on lockdown for the entire winter. But our daily bread is more than what we have to eat. So, our goals have changed given these dire circumstances. We simply hope to be useful in times of national crisis and to provide for the basic needs (food, shelter, medicine) for Happy Window Cleaning LLC and its employees. We are not going to charge an arm and a leg, not only because to do so would be against the law but because it is against our moral principles, and our hearts, as well. Our fees are going to be reasonable. Every amount helps and adds up.
I brought my staff together, discussed our options and we came up with the following mix of services in addition to our regular services (window cleaning, gutter cleaning, and dryer vent cleaning). Here’s how we can help you and you can help us in return:
DEEP CLEANING SERVICE
The service shall include the following –
Top to Bottom, left to right, damp cleaning and properly disinfecting with EPA registered disinfectants and the correct dwell times, all surfaces of a home’s ‘interior. The common names for the disinfectants we will use are Hydrogen Peroxide (1 minute dwell time), after cleaning with soap and water and Lysol, which has a 2 minute dwell time after cleaning with the right mixture of soap and water.
Price: Varies per home, depending on the extent of areas to be cleaned. But in no case will this cost more than a substituted window cleaning would have.
GIFT CARD FOR WINDOW CLEANING SERVICE
Another way you can help us stay afloat is by purchasing a gift card. The gift card can be for any of the following services:
Dryer Vent Cleaning
The gift card is valid for one year and subject to the availability of open dates. Example: You are buying this for your mother whose birthday is on July 12. We may not be able to do the service exactly on July 12 but we will perform the service on a mutually convenient schedule around that date.
The value of the gift card will depend on the estimate given by our staff for the service.
Our commitment to transparency is your peace of mind.
Ever since we went into business, we have been transparent in our dealings with our customers and employees. We inform our customers about the products we use so they know that they are safe from hazardous chemicals. We have an open book system with our employees, so they know where every cent our customer pays goes. COVD-19 is presenting us with another challenge, not just to keep afloat as a small business in this time of crisis, but to be even more accountable to our customers about the safety precautions we take as responsible citizens in our community. Having said this, we commit to outlining the precautionary measures and the products we have implemented as we do our share in helping prevent the spread of the virus.
Extreme Precautionary Measures are the New Norm.
For your peace of mind, we give you our procedure –
1. The cleaning technician reports to the office each morning to pick the job order and freshly laundered cleaning towels and cleaning supplies.
2. Experts agree that monitoring body temperatures closely is the best way to prevent further infections. Every employee has his own thermometer. Before proceeding to the first job of the day, the cleaning technician’s temperature shall be measured by a supervisor to make sure he has no fever. A technician who is sick (a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater), will be sent home immediately. The sick technician who is sent home will not be abandoned. He or she will be monitored by phone to make sure he gets everything he needs to recover from whatever the cause of his fever.
Body temperature is recorded on a daily log, a column added to existing timesheets. Scott and Cherie are included and will be signing each other’s log after supervising one another’s readings. Accountability begins at the top. If someone has elevated body temperature, another technician will be assigned to complete work orders given that someone is available. If no one is available, the appointment will be rescheduled for a later date.
3. The screened and healthy cleaning technician will arrive at the customer’s home and while in the driveway will properly put on his, gloves, mask, and booties over their freshly laundered uniforms. One technician will be responsible for cleaning interior windows and others will remain out of doors to clean the exterior. All home occupants are asked to move into a clearly defined separate living space, while the technician is working. Technicians will clean and disinfect all doorknobs and any areas that they touch while in the home.
4. Outer cleaning uniforms are changed between appointments. We purchased a few dozen additional new uniforms to make this work.
5. If we are sending two or more employees to a job, they will not be riding together in one truck. Each employee will have a vehicle to take onsite.
For purposes of transparency, we let you know the products we use –
For cleaning, we are using soap and water. For disinfecting, we are going to use hydrogen peroxide and/or Lysol depending on the surface to be cleaned and the circumstance.
There are three ways to pay for the service:
PayPal (recommended as physical contact is not required, the customer pays for PayPal fees),
By mailing a check, or
Cash in an envelope (least recommended)
As small as we are, we offer our humble contribution to society.
Please support local businesses like us.
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