COVID-19 has fuelled the worst economic plunge in 300 years, and many businesses up and down the country have been hit hard, especially those in the property industry who are facing an uncertain and volatile market. When times are tough, it’s even more important to take a step back, review your processes and set out some key strategies and goals for the months ahead.
With this in mind, Attic Self Storage’s founder and CEO, Frederic de Ryckman de Betz, who started his career in finance as an accountant, shares his top tips for helping property businesses not only survive, but also thrive, during the pandemic and beyond:
- Build confidence with your clientele
Put proper measures and operational controls in place for hygiene and cleaning and ensure that your company has plenty of supplies of PPE and appropriate disinfectants (alcohol gels, sprays, wipes, etc). Stick to the controls and use signage to give your customers confidence that you are being responsible and can be trusted.
- Staff management
Be prepared to accommodate time off work for your staff to self isolate. Think ahead with staffing rosters and ensure that you have the IT equipment in place so that people can work from home. Then, make sure you involve them in company updates and contact them and keep them engaged while they’re away from the site. This will keep them feeling connected and reduce the risk of mental health concerns, while helping boost team morale and overall productivity.
- Make it easier for people to contract with you online
Property businesses can sometimes be slow to make changes here, but it’s been fantastic watching how various property sectors have responded with a leap forward in the adoption of technology. Our business, for example, has an online quote facility and an online portal to check-in and manage your account. We also have Virtual Reality store tours and empower our teams to conduct video calls with clients using a wide range of platforms from WhatsApp and Teams to Zoom and Google Hangouts.
- Go virtual and contactless
We’ve seen estate agents lead the way by turning to online tours to try to stay in business, and with online valuations and viewings, it is perfectly possible to sell or buy a house remotely. We offer 24 hour access and our newest store features electronic locks on all storage unit doors. These are controlled by a mobile phone app, which means clients can now visit a store virtually, book online and move into their storage units without ever coming into contact with staff or having to touch anything -not even a PIN keypad. 100% contactless all the way!
- Always think commercially
If you have empty office, retail or warehouse space, you may be entitled to some rates relief or even a refund. Look for grants and other government support that may be available, such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the pandemic.