Navigating The “New Normal”: 4 Steps to Success for Franchises
Essential businesses actively responding to the COVID-19 pandemic have harnessed their existing services and internal processes to effectively combat the virus, while also maintaining safety amongst employees and customers. In particular, service-based franchises across the country have been challenged to adjust their operations, and those on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight – mainly companies in the cleaning, maintenance and restoration space – have quickly become a critical asset in helping local businesses and communities continue to operate, or reopen safely and efficiently.
As America looks to fully reopen and the demand for professional cleaning and maintenance services has drastically increased along with a heightened sense of “clean”, both commercial and residential facilities have sought out disinfecting services to ensure that their spaces are clean and safe. Throughout the pandemic, BELFOR Franchise Group (BFG)'s—the world’s largest restoration and service-based franchise opportunities— well-established brands have seen the most success in redeploying resources to provide essential services, ensuring workplace safety to comply with CDC and other official authority standards, maintaining constant communication and demonstrating leadership.
Leveraging existing resources to provide adjusted services and produce equipment in high demand is a clear first step in crisis response for franchises across all industries. Despite some admittedly challenging circumstances, BFG’s network of service-based franchises began using established resources to offer sanitizing and disinfecting services within the first weeks of the COVID-19 crisis. For example, franchises like 1-800 WATER DAMAGE and Chem-dry utilized existing supplies and protocols to sanitize and disinfect all kinds of properties and surfaces, including first responder vehicles before and after transport of a patient – ambulances are an example of a “facility” we had not typically serviced until the pandemic. HOODZ, which is normally focused on professional kitchen commercial cleaning services, provided decontamination services to help restaurants ensure safe takeout and delivery procedures. By rethinking and expanding service offerings, franchises seized the opportunity to continue operating.
Ensure Workplace Safety
Often, jobs provided by service-based franchises require customer-facing interactions. So, when it came to maintaining operations during a global pandemic, the health of employees and customers was top priority. To reinforce safety protocols, businesses focused on safety procedures that complied with industry standards and CDC guidelines. Franchisees and their employees maintained trust amongst customers when performing work in their homes or businesses by keeping them up to date on local operations, practicing social distancing, wearing proper personal protective equipment, and sanitizing areas once services had been completed.
Regular communication is an especially critical business attribute in trying times. Keeping employees and clients informed and reassured can be maintained via phone calls, educational webinars, e-mails and virtual meetings. In effort to provide the best support possible, we have provided ongoing coaching and leaned on the experiences of our network’s longtime business leaders have provided franchisees with a sense of hope and confidence while navigating through these unprecedented times.
When it comes to adjusting business operations during times of crisis, leadership and community support is key. Strong leaders turn ideas into actions and unknowns into certainties. Across our organization, Sheldon Yellen, CEO of BFG’s parent company BELFOR Property Restoration, reinforced the idea of being their own “CEO” – Cheerleaders and Enthusiasts and Optimists-in-Chief. Franchise leaders should use facts to address problems, give comforting guidance to avoid risk or fear, and effectively communicate action plans to move forward.
As we continue navigating through these unpredictable times, it is critical for franchises to continue utilizing and repurposing resources, be innovative, practice safety procedures to keep employees and customers safe, and relay the organization’s support through communication and leadership. With these practices and a positive attitude, franchised businesses can do their best to adjust to the “new normal”.
Dan Tarantin serves as Chief Operating Officer of BELFOR Franchise Group and Rusty Amarante is President of BELFOR Franchise Group and Director of Operations for BELFOR Property Restoration. Together, both oversee and build positive partnerships amongst the 1-800 WATER DAMAGE, Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Delta Restoration Services, DUCTZ International, HOODZ International, N-hance Wood Refinishing, PACKOUTZ, The Patch Boys and Z PLUMBERZ brands. For more information on BELFOR Franchise Group, visit https://www.belforfranchisegroup.com.