13 January, 2023

Implement COVID-19 Disinfection Services Into Your Restoration Business

Leighton Healey

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, the need for disinfection services is at an all time high. Governments and business owners continue to look at the Restoration Industry to lead the charge in providing this service.

While the opportunity for restoration business owners is great, they’re also being thrown into the deep end, transitioning their business toward providing a whole new service for clients, with little margin for error.

This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in the industry with so many unknowns and questions that need answering surrounding providing disinfection services. What tools do I need? How do I prepare a job site for disinfection? What documents and resources do I have access to? How do I price this service?

These are questions our panel of industry experts answered in our recent KnowHow webinar all about providing COVID-19 disinfection services. Our panel of experts included  Michael Pinto of The WonderMakers Environmental, and Nasutsa Mabwa and Sam Simon of ServiceMaster by Simons.

How to Approach Pricing COVID-19 Disinfection Services

Navigating pricing and payment can be tricky in the restoration industry right now. You can no longer show up to a job, take a look at it, shake someone's hand, and set a price. There are a lot of “it-depends” scenarios, and that can be frustrating for many business owners and project managers. Our panelists are here to help clear some of those waters a bit.Instead of estimating in-person and risk violating physical distancing requirements, a few creative workarounds include asking the client for photographs of the job site, setting up a virtual facetime tour with the client, and creating a list of questions to pose the customer over the phone to begin determining what consistent pricing looks like.An example of some good topics to tackle during your pre-screening call with each client include:

  • What kind of business do you have?
  • How many square feet do you think it is?
  • How many feet length by width?
  • How tall are the ceilings?
  • How many offices do you have?
  • Do you have one bathroom or five bathrooms?
  • What material are the floors?
  • How many levels, desks, chairs do you have?

Focusing on these areas and asking these types of questions with each client will quickly give you a better idea on how to price consistently from one job to the next.

Extracting as much information out of the client as possible is key to not only determining how to price the job, but it also helps keep you and your staff safe. As Sam Simon of ServiceMaster notes, “We need to be prepared and armed to protect ourselves while we’re in there. It’s not just about applying a disinfectant, it’s about applying it safely”.

Documents and Resources Important to Providing COVID-19 Disinfection

Having and maintaining proper documentation throughout your COVID-19 disinfection process is vital. It not only protects and ensures the customer’s safety and outlines exactly how you will go about delivering the service, but it can also protect you against any liability issues.

A great resource to start with that can answer many of your documentation and procedure questions thoroughly and accurately is the IICRC/RIA COVID-19 document which can be found on the IICRC and RIA websites.

This document is incredibly comprehensive and walks you through everything you will need to know to provide this service in detail.

How Do I Prepare a Job Site to be Safe for my Staff?

If a COVID-19 disinfection is done properly, and up to standard, the company and staff members providing the service will often be there for hours and hours, sometimes days.What are some of the things to think about that are needed to make sure your staff are comfortable, safe, and prepared?

Washrooms are a big one. There has to be washrooms available for staff use, and of course they’ll be using them without their PPE equipped. You need to think about how often those are being sanitized throughout the job, when to do a final sanitization check, and how many staff can be using the washrooms at a time.

Paying attention to weather is also critical to keep your staff comfortable. If you are going into a building with no air conditioning or outdoor area in extreme heat, you have to, as Michael Pinto of WonderMakers Environmental says, “You have to think about what your people are going through”. With all the required PPE on, they will get hot and it will be tiring. They will need places to rest, places to change, and areas to hydrate appropriately on the job site.

Educating your employees of the dangers of not following guidelines when the job begins. Disinfection services are no joke right now, there are lives at stake and many opportunities for mistakes to be made. Your staff have to be made aware of the importance of following the guidelines laid out for them.

Preparing the job site can be tricky, but thinking about every potential detail will no doubt protect your staff, protect the customers, and ensure the process runs smoothly.The IICRC/RIA document can also provide you with more in depth information regarding prepping a job site for disinfection.

What Tools and PPE is Required for Disinfection?

There are a lot of different types of PPE out there, so knowing if you’re choosing the right kind can be confusing. PPE is critical for COVID-19 disinfection and jobs should not be done without certified PPE.Some of the required PPE our panelist Nasutsa has her staff wear on all jobs include:

  • Tyvek Suits
  • Double gloves
  • Everyone has their own respirator
  • Goggles

With the demand for PPE higher than normal, it’s been tricky finding the necessary equipment needed to complete a job. Order more than you normally would when you do find it available. A good idea to consider is using your network to source out obtaining PPE. Nasutsa and her business have been using other ServiceMaster franchises to partner in helping each other obtain PPE. Use your network and be creative in how you find PPE, so long as it’s up to code and meets universal PPE standards.If you’re looking for other resources, KnowHow has step-by-step processes and templates built for you to help guide you through providing disinfection services.

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