When his company first started sanitizing homes, Justin Berg says he immediately realized the powerful effect of helping during the COVID-19 crisis.
A man contacted the Texas-based Purple Care, which provides landscaping and pest control services, about sanitizing his mother’s home. She had recently died from the novel coronavirus, and he needed to retrieve belongings from her house and find closure after her death. Berg sent his director of pest control and a technician, who quickly got certified in the state of Texas by completing two classes on sanitization.
“When someone passes, there’s a lot of paperwork and it’s also very painful to go through emotionally,” he says. “The guy was able to go back into a house he did not feel safe or comfortable going back in. This poor guy needs closure, he just lost his mother. We’re not trying to prey on that (with our sales), but I’m glad that we could help this guy get him back in that house.”
Through moving swiftly and making sure his team was ready, Berg says they’ve been able to implement a sanitizing service at Purple Care that’s already garnered a handful of clients.
“The way we’re looking at this is, if we can help people, fantastic,” Berg says. “It’s more of what can we do, this is our piece, how can we help?”
Berg says the day after Texas started announcing coronavirus-related safety measures in March, his team started asking how they were going to handle it. Berg says that though they were down in March revenue, he had enough work to “keep our guys busy.”
“I’m also not going to complain because a lot of guys out there are doing (zero dollars),” he says. “By no means is it normal, but we’re at least doing some business. I’m taking the blessings as I can, and I know there’s a lot of people out there worse off than us.”
Berg says his returning services were largely put on pause because clients were unsure what was going to happen with their income, and services that Berg says are somewhat luxuries like weed control and pest control all fell. Their salesmen could also no longer go door-to-door, which represents a big chunk of Purple Care’s sales.
But Berg’s team saw an opportunity to help, plus lessen the blow his company would take from the COVID-19 fallout. They already had much of the necessary equipment – face shields, respirators and gloves – because Purple Care offers pest control. The company also already had hand-held, point-and-spray devices that could be repurposed with disinfectant that is non-toxic and can be applied on any surface.
“When this COVID-19 thing is over, we will continue to offer this.” Justin Berg, Purple Care
All they needed was disposable paper hazmat suits and to get the proper licensure from the state. He says the requirements vary from state to state, so checking to ensure a company meets that state’s respective guidelines is a must.
“For some of these states, the limitations are very minimal. The question is going to be, do you have the equipment?” Berg says.
Berg says that any interested companies have to determine if they want to send their crews out there in situations where they could be exposed.
“That should be the number one thing you’re looking for,” he says. “Why would I want to put my guys in harm’s way to add to my bottom line? The two things you’ve got to worry about are safety for your people and safety for your clients.”
They dispose of the suits each night and sanitize themselves, plus the equipment, after every stop. Berg says he doesn’t want to risk his crews bringing COVID-19 into someone else’s home, and he reminds anyone interested in sanitization that you never really know where the germs exist.
Though it’s only been offered for a month, Berg says he wishes his team would’ve jumped on this service sooner. COVID-19 could rage on for the foreseeable future, but Berg says Purple Care will continue to offer it long after the chaos settles because there will always be work that needs done.
“There’s some disease and bacteria that are very bad that need to be sanitized, so now we’re going to have a service. When this COVID-19 thing is over, we will continue to offer this. We want to be able to help.”