Installation Day Tips (in the time of COVID!)
Everything has been upended this year – absolutely everything, including design installations! And given that our business is about the home, it’s been even crazier. How we work with clients is definitely something that can change week to week. It’s hard to stay on top of pandemic rules, shutdowns, supply chain issues, and more! And then there’s the issue of installation day – how in the world are you supposed to make that happen when some clients don’t even want you in their homes?! Here are some ideas!
Communicate – a lot!
If you started with your client before the pandemic hit, they may have definitely evolved in their thinking about having you (and your workers) in the house. So you want to constantly check in with them. Ask them about their health, their kids, and more. You want to be sure you understand how they’re feeling in general. Everyone is more stressed and nervous now, so it’s best to get that out in the open and talk about it. Once you have a great plan for safely entering their house (see below), be sure you communicate that, too! And ask about the health of each family member, too.
The best way to make everyone – including YOU and your team members – feel safe is to have a good plan. That would include all the precautions you plan to take in someone’s home. You want to go over the top with any PPE and cleaning – that will reassure your clients AND your employees or contractors. Require masks on every single person. Provide personal bottles of sanitizer to everyone. Hand out disposable gloves and shoe covers, especially to movers and any other contractors that will be in the home that day. Hire an assistant whose job it is to wipe down every single surface with a cleaner after it is touched. Even consider giving out goggles or face shields. And you may want to ask the moving company to test their employees before they head to your project.
Be ostentatious with your safety precautions – without asking. I promise, this will make people feel reassured that their safety and wellbeing is your priority. Oh – and you can always have a little fun with it by branding the masks and hand sanitizer with your logo!
Make a Plan
You need to plan this day like a military exercise. Why? Because unlike your past installations, you’re pretty much guaranteed that someone will be home. If you’re blessed with great weather, you could always ask them to go to a local park and provide a gourmet picnic lunch and amazing kites or toys. But otherwise, there’s nowhere for the family to go. So my advice is to plan a room-by-room installation. Let the client know exactly how much time you think it will take and how you plan to make it happen. The more you communicate, the better.
You could start on the living room while the family is in another part of the house. Then move to the dining room, then the bedrooms, etc. The family can then enjoy the new room that you’ve just completed – AFTER your assistant has wiped it down. Yes. This will require packing moving trucks differently, and making sure every single detail is covered in your plan. But it will help the family feel like you’re accommodating them, not the other way around.
Worst Case Scenario
Okay, but what if they REALLY don’t want you in the house? Then, they may just have to wait for their gorgeous installation. There’s only so much you can do remotely – after all, the furniture can’t be flown in on drones! But they really may want to wait, which means you may have to talk to them about storage fees. But here’s the thing – we don’t entirely know what’s going on in their lives. They may have a friend or relative in the hospital. Or someone in their home may have been exposed and needs to isolate, which means you shouldn’t be going there, either! The key, again, is communication. Have in-depth talks with your client about how to best protect everyone, AND deliver a gorgeous home!
To help you stay organized on installation day, download my FREE Installation Day Timeline & Checklist here! And stay safe out there!