The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting nearly every aspect of life and business around the world, and there appears to be no clear end in sight. In fact, it’s likely that measures such as social distancing will be in place—to some degree or another—well through AC season and beyond.
As this new reality settles in, all businesses need to adapt and adopt new ways of working. This is especially true for HVAC companies and pros; whose work is so dependent on lengthy site visits and interacting face-to-face with clients and other trades.
From an HVAC perspective, navigating this landscape will be challenging but hardly impossible. There are some simple things you can begin doing now to protect yourself, your employees, your clients, and your business.
Putting minds at ease in a client’s home
One of the trickier challenges HVAC companies will face is responding to calls in a client’s home. For starters, many homeowners will put off even contacting an HVAC company for services due to coronavirus concerns. Because of this, savvy HVAC businesses need to approach this as a marketing problem and find ways to educate current and potential clients on the measures they’re taking to respond to calls safely.
Those measures are simpler than you might think. For instance, when arriving at a client’s home, the HVAC technician can call the client and tell them to self-isolate in a different area of the home. The HVAC pro can then proceed to enter the home and perform the required maintenance work.
If the client has compatible devices, this site-visit can even be monitored in full over a video call, so the homeowner can see that work is being done as well as monitor what the HVAC technician touches in the home.
Of course, the HVAC technician should be armed with the proper cleaners, disinfectants, and hand sanitizers—cleaning surfaces and equipment as they go.
Staying safe on the construction site
For HVAC pros working on a new construction site the challenges are different. There are countless other trades doing work at the same time, so asking others to self-isolate isn’t feasible.
Most construction sites are already adopting physical distancing protocols. Soon (if not already) those protocols are likely to become more forceful, such as kicking any workers who don’t adhere off the site entirely. HVAC business owners and managers, therefore, need to ensure their techs are fully aware and respectful of these protocols.
Beyond physical distancing, HVAC techs visiting a construction site should be taking care to never share tools or equipment with others on site. And if they do, they need to be equipped with the proper disinfectants to clean the item.
Taking advantage of remote diagnostics
Last but not least, this is an opportune time for HVAC companies to educate their clients on the value of remote diagnostics. This is especially true for commercial clients.
With remote diagnostic systems in place, HVAC companies can actively monitor the performance of the entire system from afar. Equipment can be assessed, the system can be optimized, and maintenance issues can be identified—all without doing a single site visit.
This takes some additional up-front installation and investment but once set up it helps reduce the number of service calls needed to maintain the system. Given that COVID-19 is likely to keep physical distancing and other measures in place for the next 12 to 18 months (or until a vaccine is widely available), this means equipment can be professionally maintained through several seasons, while still promoting as much physical distancing as possible.