man doing a home repair service by measuring the floor

Your Guide to Pricing Home Repair Services

No one knows the ins and outs of your small business better than you do, and when it comes to pricing home repair services, you rely on that knowledge to calculate pricing that will best help you grow your business. You may find that hourly rates work best for smaller jobs, but when facing water damage remediation or septic issues, things can get a little more complicated. Although it might be tempting to use competitors’ pricing to create your estimates, finalizing a job quote is a bit more complicated than you may have thought.  What to Factor Into Your Quote Putting together your pricing for a home repair service is like perfecting a family recipe. There are multiple ingredients and steps to remember, they won’t always be used equally, it takes practice to perfect, and you will continually improve based on past mistakes. After discussing the details of the job with your client, you’ll want to start with two basics -- working out the cost for labor and materials.  To work out the cost of labor you should:  Estimate the total number of hours needed to complete the jobEstimate the total number of employees it will take to complete the job To estimate the cost for materials you should: Write out the costs for everythingTake shipping and delivery into considerationTake custom-made prices into consideration Now that you have a base number for your project-specific costs, you’ll want to factor in your overhead costs. When doing home repairs you’ll want to include: Expenses from vehicle mileageMaintenance to living expensesInsurance and licensing expensesAdvertising expenses Most importantly, don’t forget to also determine a percentage in upcharges for your profit margin! Leave Room for Unexpected or Extra Expenses As a small home repair business taking on a variety of services, you likely already know those surprise problems can pop up on any job. Be transparent with your customers about the potential for unexpected, additional expenses should an issue arise while the repair job is in progress.  Before you begin the job, communicate why there could be a final price increase if more labor is required or additional materials are needed. This wiggle room within your estimate can be a huge safety net to maintain your profit margin while maintaining customer satisfaction (no one likes hidden or surprise charges).  Use Past Data and Other Resources Your past estimates and invoices are your friends when starting a new quote. Use reports from similar jobs that were of comparable size as a guide. Learn from your job history and make changes over time as you become even more of an expert on pricing.  You can also utilize resources to help you write estimates, like a mobile invoicing app and accounting software. With this tool at your fingertips, you’d be able to look up past estimates, write new detailed quotes, and quickly convert them into client invoices after you’ve completed the job.  Always think “work smarter, not harder” when growing your business, and a mobile invoice app can be a valuable tool to help you develop personalized pricing that best works for your business. Start taking advantage of InvoiceASAP’s easy-to-use invoicing tools and auto-generated reports to help you price your home repair services by signing up for a FREE account today.
plumber is losing housewife as a customer

You May Lose Customers If You Do Any Of These 6 Things

Managing a successful small business means the effort to gain new customers never stops. However, once you’ve earned the attention of potential clients, what should you avoid doing to ensure that they continue to come back to your business for future services?  Here are six things you shouldn’t do if you want to keep a valuable client.  Overprice Your Services When it comes to pricing your work, you want to stay in that sweet spot where your charges are profitable but still competitive. Understanding the minimum, you could charge while still turning a profit is just as important as knowing the maximum amount people will pay for your service.  In other words, how high will be considered too high? If your customers feel they got ripped off compared to pricing at similar businesses in your area, you will likely lose any future business with that client. Arrive Too Late or Too Early Best practices for customer retention should always include double-checking the date and time of your scheduled services with your customers. Showing up on time and setting a clear window for how long you’ll be at a client’s home or business will help you gain trust.  Sometimes life happens – morning jobs get complicated, or traffic is unpredictable, and techs in the field could be running late. You should have an open line of communication with your customers and the techs in case any scenario should cause you to be late. Showing up to a job too early can be a problem, as your client will be preparing for a tech to arrive at a specific time. If you arrive too early, the client may be caught unprepared or not even at the job site.   Leave Out Details When Communicating Whether in person, over the phone, or through email, you never want to leave details concerning the job. Being vague or leaving out specific issues can give the client the impression that you don’t have an attention to detail or that you can’t be trusted.  To build trust with your client, be sure to include them in your plans and leave no guesswork, providing detailed information. Forgetting to Be Specific With Your Estimates and Invoices Attention to detail should also be carried over when you’re writing up estimates and invoices. Itemizing and allocating costs for separate categories or specific needs will help the client better understand your reasoning for the total charge. The transparency you create by doing this is invaluable for customer satisfaction and retention. Have a Complicated or Limited Payment System With contactless and digital payments becoming more popular, customers want to have options when paying their invoices. Thanks to online payment portals, portable card scanners, mobile payment technology, and mobile invoice app software, setting up a variety of payment options has never been easier.  Some customers feel more secure knowing that a credit card policy protects them, and others will want to use whichever payment method they think is the most hassle-free. Regardless, giving your client payment choices will improve their overall satisfaction and ultimately help get that money in your pocket faster.   Fail to Communicate Regularly Communication, again? Yes! It is that important!  If you are sensing an overall theme here, it’s because communication is such an essential part of every step when working with a client. It must be a massive part of your customer retention plan after a job has ended.  You’ve likely collected email addresses and phone numbers from past clients and anyone who’s reached out about potential work. Keep this information organized and regularly follow-up with customers about future needs.  You also want to be sure that your contact information is readily available. Organized information makes it easy for clients to reach out to you about work inquiries, strengthens your brand’s reputation, and helps foster a relationship with your local community. When you sign up for a FREE InvoiceASAP account, you can avoid many of these major small business mistakes. Our invoicing and accounting platform allows you to create professional invoices, keep detailed records and notes of every client while helping you manage jobs, locations, and team members working in the field. 
man accepting a remote payment for an invoice

Top 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Accept Remote Payments

As more communities begin phased reopening, small businesses and customers are getting into the groove of the “new normal.” Social distancing, touchless interactions, and remote activities are prevalent themes among new safety precautions to prevent transmission of COVID-19.  When it comes to issuing and receiving payments, small businesses are beginning to provide safer payment options for their customers. Here are the top three options for remote payments that create win-win situations for you and your business: the safety of your employees and clients and improved transaction speeds! Make Use of Popular Contactless Transactions Thanks to the need for increased security measures combined with mobile convenience, contactless payments like ApplePay and GooglePay have become more popular over the past several years. Since the beginning of the pandemic, small businesses have seen a 27% increase in the use of contactless payments. This payment method is providing a safer way for consumers to pay and is quickly becoming a preferred payment method for small transactions as consumers seek to reduce touchpoints.  With contactless payments, you can even eliminate touchpoints. Consider disabling the signature screen and emailing digital receipts to client email addresses already on file. There’s no touching a shared keypad, no holding a shared pen, and no cleaning needed after each transaction.  Although every customer may not have the ability to pay from their mobile device, many small businesses are finding that it’s just one of the many ways to promote safety. Utilize a Virtual Terminal When you hear “virtual terminal,” you might imagine a portal out of a sci-fi movie, but virtual terminals are actually software applications that allow for remote payment processing. Essentially, your computer is able to process transactions from credit cards without physically needing to exchange the card between customers and employees.  A virtual terminal is hosted online and allows you to enter and process credit cards through your browser manually. Customers who shop online are already familiar with virtual terminal technology and find it convenient to pay for goods and services.  Even if you don’t have an online store, you should consider including a virtual terminal on your company’s website or social media page to increase sales and collect remote payments securely. This option provides multiple solutions for payment without face-to-face contact. Take Advantage of Digital Invoicing with InvoiceASAP Don’t count yourself out when it comes to digital invoicing. Even if your company doesn’t offer home or contracting services, invoices can be used to collect payment for a wide variety of small businesses, whether you are selling goods or services.  Customized invoices created on a computer or mobile device are a great way to give your customers a quick and easy way to pay digitally.  Consider sending branded invoices designed to be paid by credit card or ACH so you don’t have to deal with collecting specific information. It’s convenient for your customers and gets you paid quickly. With payment management tools provided by InvoiceASAP, small business owners are turning to digital invoicing that allows them to bill and receive payments, organize invoices and customer information, and also analyzing sales and data.  InvoiceASAP is a remote payment option that is fully customizable for your small business needs, and should definitely be considered as a remote payment option. As small businesses adjust to creating a safer environment during the current global pandemic, InvoiceASAP is here to help you make accepting payments easier, faster and safer. Sign up today to create a free InvoiceASAP account and discover how we can help you accept remote payments.
Person Working at desk with Mac Computer

4 Important Questions to Answer Before Purchasing Accounting Software

When you add up all the time you spend sorting through paperwork, compiling data into spreadsheets, and importing inventory receipts, the idea of bringing on additional tools may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, the right accounting software will save you time, money and resources while better enabling you to grow your business.  But how do you choose among the many accounting platforms available and determine which is right for you? Read on to learn how to decide what type of accounting and invoicing software is the most compatible with your business.  Doing Your Research As you research accounting software options, you’ll want to look at a few big-picture functions before diving into the smaller details and features. Your primary goal should be to see if the software supports your type and size of business, the number of employees you have, and the size of your client-base and/or inventory.  After your initial evaluation, here’s what else you should consider: How Do I Balance Functionality vs. Cost? First, you should consider whether you’d be paying for more software features and elements than you’ll actually use. If a program designed for a larger business has lots of detailed features you don’t need, move on to a more streamlined program that meets your needs without going over budget. Next, you’ll want to look at the specific features and tools offered. If your invoicing and financial software needs are more complex, pay attention to how the program will be able to organize your books, payments and contract data.  Be sure to take advantage of any free trials or limited feature options so you can evaluate a solution by actually using it. Once you’ve tested out a certain platform and see how it works, you can choose whether you’d like to add on additional features or upgrade to a plan within your budget’s price point.  If you have an established business and understand your accounting needs, there’s no reason to pay for features you will simply never need. Is It Compatible With Your Existing Software? Another deciding factor is the ability to sync to existing resources or databases. Many businesses and accountants rely on QuickBooks and don’t necessarily want to start from scratch with a whole new platform. InvoiceASAP’s accounting software syncs directly with QuickBooks, to reinforce and streamline what’s already working for your business. Another consideration is mobile payment apps. For instance, if you’re offering remote payments from the Clover app, you might want compatible accounting software that keeps track of all those transactions in one place.  Does It Offer Enough Flexibility? There is a wide range of features and tools at your disposal when using accounting software, and you’ll want to evaluate the type of reports, analysis, and data management system you need. While a small plumbing or landscaping business that works directly with homeowners may focus more on invoicing software and customer management reports, a large beer and wine company focused on selling products may be more interested in software that can create inventory reports and smart budgeting guides.  Overall, you’ll want to choose a program with the ability to meet the specific needs of your business today while giving you some flexibility to adapt to meaningful future changes. If you’re not completely sure which types of accounting software features would be best, don’t hesitate to reach out to a company’s customer service team or sign-up for a free trial. Can You Use It On-the-Go? Given the ubiquity of mobile apps and wireless internet, you’ll want to choose accounting software that travels with you in the field. This can be especially useful if you have multiple techs or other professionals updating invoices and payments offsite. You’ll want a program that can collect this information remotely and automatically update the information across your entire system. Having immediate digital invoicing when working with a client will also help you get paid faster and can offer a wider selection of payment options for your customers. When your software is able to track this information, you easily get an overall look at your contracts, invoices and payments in real-time. Powerful Accounting and Invoicing Software from InvoiceASAP The amount of money you’re looking to spend on accounting software is obviously a very important factor when making your decision. You shouldn’t commit to an additional monthly-cost without first considering your budget.  InvoiceASAP offers a FREE basic account to help you see if this platform works for your business. And, when you agree to accept electronic payments, you get automatically upgraded to a Premium account for free, Overall, we also offer some of the lowest monthly rates compared to our competitors. Learn more about InvoiceASAP today
Reasons to offer credit card payment options

Why Your Construction Company Should Accept Credit Card Payments

In the past, it was typical for construction companies only to accept cash or check payments from clients. Today, improved technologies and resources make credit card and debit card payments an expected option for customers.  According to the 2016 U.S. Consumer Payment Study, credit cards took the top spot in customers’ preferred way to pay, with debit cards coming in second.  With mobile payments becoming more accessible, and the growing popularity of online banking and credit statements, it makes sense that 40% of the population surveyed revealed they prefer to pay with a credit card.  So what does this mean for improving your business when it comes to invoicing for construction jobs?  Being flexible with your accepted forms of payment can not only grow your customer satisfaction but also improve your cash flow. Here's what else you should know: Accepting Credit Cards Benefits Your Customers Customers want the ability to pay invoices quickly and easily, they want a record of their payment, and they want to be able to pay securely.  There are multiple ways to have customers pay via credit card to secure a faster process for getting paid. Offering credit card payments in the field is one.  Whether you decide to collect payment with a mobile credit card scanner for your tech to use at the job site, or email a digital invoice that includes a "Pay Now" feature, overall, clients will find it more efficient to pay via card rather than write a check or hand you cash.  Plus, InvoiceASAP’s invoicing app functions with your mobile team’s existing technology.  Another reason customers prefer credit card payments is that it gives them confidence about your company and about their payment itself. Showing customers you accept credit card payments, helps your small business appear more legitimate and trustworthy.  Customers may also feel encouraged to use credit cards because of the protections and customer support they provide. It's comforting for clients to have access to a digital receipt, especially when a credit card company can also view the transaction.     How Accepting Credit Cards Benefits Your Business In terms of how accepting payments is beneficial to your contractor business, the primary advantage is how quickly you'll see invoices getting paid. Credit card payments are processed easily and quickly while keeping transaction fees low. You can even pass transaction fees on to your customer, which is a common practice. Access and flexibility with payment methods means customers will pay sooner and money will hit your bank account faster. When your tech can take a payment at the job site, or when a customer can enter their credit card information on a digital invoice following the job, the payment will be processed much faster. If you're waiting days or weeks for checks to come in the mail and then clear, or handling excessive amounts of cash, you should absolutely be incorporating a credit card option for invoice payments.  Another key benefit to credit card payments is the ability to know instantly whether the payment has been correctly processed. You can begin new jobs more quickly, without having to wait and see if the expected payment from your previous job went through.  Additionally, if your business offers clients the option to pay in multiple installments, having a credit card option connected to recurring invoices can automate the process and help guarantee those payments come in on schedule.  Available Tools for Managing Credit Card Payments A payment management system designed specifically for your construction business is an excellent resource. InvoiceASAP offers services - beyond just accepting payments in the field - that will make it easier to manage and grow your business.  For example, with InvoiceASAP's invoicing platform, customers are easily able to make payments directly from the digital invoice. There's no phone call to make or additional websites to navigate, which simplifies the payment process and gets invoices paid out to you faster.  For your regular clients, credit card payments from previous jobs can also be stored for the future. With InvoiceASAP's Card on File tool, you can save your clients' card information, allowing customers to submit a new payment immediately.   Additionally, the online credit card payment can be tracked and viewed easily with the A/R Management tool.  Not only will you see all of your invoices in one place, but you can sort unpaid invoices from paid invoices and view payment details in real-time. This platform allows you to look-up any needed information if questions arise in the future. Overall, giving your clients the option to pay with credit cards opens up new opportunities to grow your business and secure payments quickly.  Consider utilizing a mobile invoicing service such as InvoiceASAP to guarantee your credit card payments are processed efficiently and are effortless for you and your customers. Try InvoiceASAP today with a FREE account.
home repair business tips covid-19

Demand for Home Repair Increasing Amid COVID-19

Social distancing policies have dramatically changed our day-to-day routines and interactions. With people spending long periods of time at home – and looking for ways to entertain themselves around the house – many people have taken on projects at home. The combination of wanting to keep busy and finding yourself with lots of time on your hands has made DIY projects, home repair work, and other major clean-up efforts enticing. But not everyone can handle repairs themselves, and that's when it's time to call in the experts. Increase in Demand as People Stay Home Though many industries are seeing a major slowdown in sales at this time, home repair companies are expecting to see an increased demand for work. More people are spending extended periods of time at home, and that means a higher volume of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC needs for families. At the same time, there is also a new sense of urgency for home maintenance needs. For example, a drainage problem with your kitchen sink, or losing power to the refrigerator, is now a bit more complicated and stressful. People are eager to get repairs fixed quickly and looking to home repair companies who can get the job done safely. How to Safely Serve Customers While social distancing regulations are in place, there are concrete steps you can take as a home repair business to ensure the safety of your employees and your clients – and it starts before you even schedule an appointment with a customer. Your website, phone system, and social media pages should all provide new information about the steps you're taking to ensure safety during the coronavirus. As families look online for companies who can quickly complete their home repairs, they are going to be looking to see which businesses are prioritizing safety precautions and actively communicating with customers.  Read Our Full Guide for Managing Your Business During COVID-19 Customer Communication During COVID-19 Update your phone and email on your webpage and social media sites if your contact information has changed due to now working remotely. Also, remember to regularly check direct messenger chats for new customers who may reach out about a home repair need via social media. Before sending out technicians to a customer's home, be sure to communicate your safety measures so the customer can prepare and know what to expect when they arrive. Ask the customer about any current illness in the home to better protect your employees. Send a reminder to the customer on the day of the scheduled service using the client's preferred communication method and verify once again that no one is sick or showing any symptoms in the home.  Communicate any reminders to the tech about social distancing practices and remain accessible remotely during the appointment should your tech need to contact you. Finally, after the service is completed, reach out to your customers with any follow-up questions to gain valuable feedback on how to improve your services for future clients. Best Practices for In-Home Repairs, Invoicing via Email, & Collecting Payment Remotely Before entering the residence, properly put on a mask and gloves, and then gather additional sanitation supplies along with your equipment and tools. You'll also want to have sanitized and prepped any equipment and hand-held tools you bring into the home. Though customers may want to greet you and lead you to the area where you'll be working, you should avoid any handshakes and try to keep a distance of at least six feet. From that point, everyone in the residence should be staying in another room or area to minimize contact. If text messaging is a preferred communication method for your client, the technician should also use texting to ask the client any questions that arise while the repair is in progress. Keep in mind, if you're touching a phone screen without sanitizing your hands first, do not bring the phone up to your ear or touch it to your face. If you need to move to another area of the home or communicate face-to-face with the customer, do your best to maintain as much distance as possible. After you've completed your repair work, sanitize any surfaces and tools that you touched. If possible, an invoice should be sent digitally, and payment should also be collected with minimal or no contact. With the right guidelines in place and an extra effort made in regard to customer communication, home repair during COVID-19 can be successfully completed with everyone's safety in mind.      Learn More About Our Integrated Platform Now more than ever, businesses need the best tools and management software to help reduce costs and keep customers happy. Get improved estimating, invoicing and customer-payments software from InvoiceASAP. Streamlined technology means safer interactions and less-hassle for employees in the field and in office. Start today with a FREE account from InvoiceASAP.
Truck driver wearing a mask to protect against Covid19

Small Business Guide for Navigating COVID-19

The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses Small businesses nationwide are already feeling the effects of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. With many states issuing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, the closure of non-essential businesses has led to major financial interruptions.  While some businesses, like restaurants, were able to modify services by providing take-out or delivery orders to meet regulations, other businesses are cutting hours, moving operations entirely online or closing altogether.  Currently, there is no set time when social distancing bans will be lifted, and until we have an effective strategy for COVID-19 testing and research, we could see more waves of social distancing in the future until a vaccine is available to the public.   So what does this mean for your business? How do you manage operations and keep your business afloat during a global health and financial crisis? This short guide will help you create a business management plan of action, to help you manage today, and prepare for a future of unknowns.  Your First Step: Create a COVID-19 Plan The very first step for your small business during the coronavirus outbreak is to create a plan by taking inventory of your services, your expenses, and your community of customers. Here are some basic financial and social steps to take in 2020.  Assess Your Financial Situation What worked well for your business prior to the COVID-19 social distancing orders may no longer be reasonable. The first thing you should do as a small business owner is to assess your current finances. Get a clear picture of your current inventory, expenses and staffing. Review money coming in and going out. Prioritize immediate needs and mitigate waste or unnecessary expenses now. Take this time to review your financial resources and emergency funds, and assess your insurance policies to see if you qualify for additional support or benefits.  File Your 2019 Taxes If you haven't already filed your taxes this year, the IRS has now extended the 2019 filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. The Treasury Department is hoping this extension will offer some relief for small businesses and individuals who may owe money upon filing. The deadline also applies to quarterly taxes that would have been due on April 15.  However, if you can do them now, go ahead and file your taxes sooner rather than later. You may receive a refund that could provide some relief for your small business now. Be sure to check your state's deadline requirements for filing, as not all states have followed these extended federal deadlines.  Develop a Marketing Plan to Retain Customers Creating an adaptable marketing plan as part of your management strategy will be vital to how you retain existing customers and find new customers as well.  Social media posts, blogging, and email newsletters are just a few ways to reinforce ongoing dialogue with your customers.  How to Interact With Customers During COVID-19 When communicating digitally with your customers, it’s important to be genuine. Be honest and transparent in your posts and messaging about what services or products you can offer at this time. Make customers aware of how to make purchases. Provide realistic expectations and explain what steps you're taking to guarantee the safety and health of your employees and customers.  Remember to preserve sensitivity and be careful with your messaging, as some people may be directly affected by this crisis. Sending too many emails, using fear or hard-sell tactics can come across as opportunistic and insincere. Finally, remember to remind customers why they are important to your business and how much you appreciate them. Right now, people want to support local, small businesses. Tell your story while offering your customers reassurance that you’re open and here to stay. Tune Up Your Online Presence  If you don't already have a website (or if yours is outdated), now is a great time to create one that represents your small business digitally. Keep operating hours, contact information, shipping or service delays and other critical messaging up to date and accurate. Along with posting updates about your business, your strategy may include ways for customers to make purchases online or over the phone. Think outside the box to discover what services or work products you can sell online.  For example, a home repair company may consider providing “how-to” videos or guides to help people DIY. If it makes sense, allow customers to purchase gift cards for future services. Event planners can provide virtual tours and meetings to plan future events.  If you haven't already, consider moving all purchasing and invoice paperwork, customer reports, and other paper management systems to a digital platform you can access remotely. Mobile invoicing solutions not only streamline your business to save you time and money, but allow you to better function and operate remotely. Remember, business will pick up again once this is over. All of these strategies can help you stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds, once they are able and ready to purchase. Set Your Company's Tone Setting the tone for your brand is just as important as having a modified marketing plan - and both go hand in hand. When talking about COVID-19, it's recommended you focus on facts and continuing developments that are relevant to your company, and within your control.  Keeping an appropriate and calm tone that reflects your customers' needs will help humanize your brand and deepen connections with your consumers and followers. Model your tone for other employees and stay consistent in communication with both employees and clients.  Seek Out Assistance You are not alone. Many businesses are fighting to stay open. Forbes estimates that 30 million small businesses are struggling all over the U.S. Fortunately, resources are offering financial support during this temporary period.  What Resources are Available for Small Businesses? From loans to relief funds to grant programs, there are many resources available to small businesses right now.  While some resources assist businesses in their direct communities, such as Amazon's fund to support Seattle businesses, other similar funds are available nationwide.  GoFundMe's Small Business Relief Initiative is just one example. The U.S. Small Business Administration is also offering disaster assistance and providing low-interest rate loans to small business owners who need financial support for staffing, health insurance and more. Be sure to research additional fund programs in your home state and city. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Response Toolkit The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled a coronavirus response toolkit with information and links to emergency loan applications, sample graphics to use on your social media pages, and sample messaging for workplace best practices. The toolkit also provides information about state and local government policies, as well as a digital form that helps you create a custom flyer for your small business.  How to Keep Your Business Running Day-to-Day Even if you're no longer able to offer your full range of services, there are steps you can still take to keep your small business active and operational. Your plan will need to be personalized based on your company's size, structure, the products and services you offer, and whether your business is deemed essential by your state's government. Here's our advice for running your business during a pandemic. Set New COVID-19 Company Policies  Along with setting an appropriate tone, you should issue new policies and protocols specific to the coronavirus outbreak, especially for your employees.  You should include the steps you're actively taking to mitigate the spread of the virus and follow all local and federal social distancing recommendations. Be clear about work from home policies, sick leave, traveling to and from work, hygiene and sanitation best practices, and any additional measures that may require adjustments.  Expand Your Sick-Leave Policy Remember, this is a global pandemic which means your employees might fall ill. Support sick employees who are self-isolating at home or sick in the hospital, by expanding upon your current sick-leave policy.  If an employee contracts COVID-19, they will not be able to return to work until they've fully recovered and have been cleared by medical personnel, which is a minimum of 14 days. Some workers may require even more recovery time.  If Possible, Work Remotely We know not everyone will be able to take their small business completely online, but if you can do so, now is the time to work remotely.  Remote work might mean employees work from home and hold meetings virtually, or it might involve reaching customers online instead of at your physical business location. If your staff is working from home, create a new routine, set clear expectations and check in on their progress and stress levels. Give employees time to adjust and find ways to connect and establish a sense of normalcy. Limit or Eliminate In-Person Meetings and Travel Any required in-person meetings should be done remotely, even if your small business isn't working from home full-time. Set up video conferences in place of any regular in-person meetings to help minimize contact and adhere to guidelines set by the CDC.  Almost all industry conventions and other work-related events have been canceled or postponed at this time, but if you do need to travel, be prepared with sanitation supplies and any necessary gear to stay hygienic and safe while traveling.   Be Flexible with Your Employees A key theme here is to remember why we're all here in the first place. Be flexible and understanding of the individual situations your employees are facing at this time, especially with employees who are considered high-risk or who are caring for someone at home who is high-risk. Reevaluate any policies for individuals who may require special accommodations. Make Long-Term Plans COVID-19 is an ongoing situation that's currently without a definite end date. Though we may experience times in the future where social distancing guidelines are relaxed, we'll likely see new waves of cases throughout the year.  Take this time not only to create a short-term plan but also to get procedures ready for quick shelter-in-place orders at a moment's notice. What If You Can't Operate Remotely? Remote work will not be an option for every small business. For essential businesses, many companies are still providing services face to face or in-home. Take these steps to protect both employees and customers and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19. Sanitize Your Workspace Frequently Stay updated on workplace sanitation guidelines released by the CDC and know how often items need to be wiped down and cleaned. Sanitize frequent-touch items, like door handles, tablets, registers, computers, and counters throughout the day, and well as employee break rooms and offices.  Promote Positive Hygiene Protocols Again, along with having a business management plan for sanitation, you should provide multiple stations for self-sanitizing.  Create cleaning protocols, wear gloves and masks when necessary, limit patrons inside your building, and create floor markers to mark appropriate spacing, six feet apart. Set up visual reminders for increased hand-washing to improve the hygiene habits of your employees and customers, while also making everyone who interacts with your small business feel safer.  If you're a home contractor, advertise and practice any sanitation changes you've implemented to keep customers safe while you work in their home.  Proper hygiene and sanitation routines will play a critical role in your ability to keep your small business running. Check with your state and local guidelines for recommendations about providing gloves and masks for employees, and whether customers are required to wear a non-medical mask.  Encourage Employees to Stay Home If Sick Because coronavirus spreads from person to person, it is crucial for employees who feel sick to stay at home and self-quarantine until they are symptom-free and able to determine that they do not have COVID-19. This is tricky because of the high volume of asymptomatic carriers with this particular virus.  If you have multiple office locations, consider keeping people separate to avoid your staff from all getting infected at a central location. Make sure employees know it’s safe to stay home and don’t feel pressured to work while ill. Have a Backup Plan When Employees are Out Your COVID-19 business plan should account for time employees may be out sick. Create a list of your employees who can cover shifts beyond their typical work schedule. Establish a clear communication line to reach those staff members who would need to come in and cover for the person who is out.  If the backup staff member is working a different shift for the first time, or taking on new duties, be prepared with instructions and expectations for that person to jump in and help. Start cross-training employees in different roles now in anticipation of sick time.  If an employee feels okay but can't work because of a doctor-ordered self-quarantine, consider ways to allow this person to work remotely. Connect Daily and Offer Positive Reassurance As a manager, you should actively check in with your employees to get the latest updates about their circumstances, as well as physical and mental health. Your staff should feel comfortable reaching out to you. Make employees feel reassured during this stressful time. Offer support, thank employees daily, and remind them of why their work is valued and important. While this is an unprecedented time with policies and guidelines that are rapidly and constantly changing, remind yourself that this is temporary.  It can feel overwhelming, but it's essential to stay positive for yourself, your employees, and your customers because your attitude and outlook will affect others who work directly with you. How InvoiceASAP Keeps Your Business Going As a small business owner, this global health crisis could be one of the toughest, most challenging obstacles your company faces during this lifetime. How you prepare now can impact your transition with employees and customers during periodic times of lockdowns, and even once this is over.  Right now is the ideal time to get your technology in order and focus on the small details that have been holding your business back. From inefficient accounting and billing systems to lacking overall customer management, implementing a single solution can help streamline the critical functions of your business while saving you money. InvoiceASAP offers a multi-platform app and dashboard to help you easily manage invoicing, accounting, estimates, payments, sales, customers and more. Here’s how it works. Real-Time Business Insights Online reporting helps you know exactly how your business is doing at all times. Get daily, weekly, and monthly reports to forecast expenses and inform better business decisions. Types of Online Reports Available Invoice ReportsPayment ReportsCustomer ReportsUser ReportsSales ReportsItem ReportsProfitability ReportsJobs/Location ReportsTax Reports Automated Accounting and Finance Records Unlike most invoicing platforms, InvoiceASAP is designed to fully integrate with QuickBooks Desktop. No need to start over or retrain employees on new accounting software. Just integrate your existing data for seamless processing and accounts management. Save time and money with a view of all paid and unpaid invoices and customer management summaries.  Easy Online and In-Person Business Transactions Many of our clients work in the field and need access to clean and simple estimation and invoicing creation-software. You can easily create a professional-looking invoice, attach photos, and capture customer signatures. You get paid faster by accepting credit cards and allowing customers to pay in-person from your phone or tablet. Integrate all this data with your accounting software for clean and seamless day-to-day operations.  Online Training Tools Take advantage of this time to dig deep into platform functionality and ensure employees are fully versed in best practices. Review our resource library and get help integrating your current systems with InvoiceASAP’s platform. Future-Proof Your Small Business With InvoiceASAP As you create COVID-19 company policies, business backup plans, and online marketing strategies, remember to reevaluate inefficiencies and get your invoicing and accounting technology up to speed.  Save money, make employees’ lives easier, and attract customers with streamlined technology built for small businesses. Find out how InvoiceASAP can help you manage your business during stressful times. Sign up to create a free account today!