Stories from the Covid-19 Front Lines: CEO Q&A with Jason Kapica of Dryer Vent Wizard
Name: Jason Kapica
Brand: Dryer Vent Wizard (a Neighborly company)
Segment: Home service, dryer and dryer vent maintenance, cleaning, and repair
Units: 82 U.S. franchisees, 5 Canadian franchisees
Locations: 30 U.S. states, 3 Canadian provinces
How has Covid-19 affected your brand?
We are slower than normal. Usually, this would be a busy time, with bird nesting season upon us. The highlight of this, though, is that the phone is still ringing and we’re booking appointments. Only two locations have temporarily closed because of health concerns, and not from a business slowdown. We’re functioning as usual from the business perspective, and we have more volume in multi-unit homes like condo complexes. Much of the work is being done from the exterior right now. Also, we’re deemed an essential service by the CDC, so we’re doing our best to serve clients throughout this.
What are you doing to help your franchisees through this?
Thankfully, we were acquired by Neighborly before this all hit. Being part of this large organization makes it much easier to get helpful information and resources to franchise owners, who are regularly updated with communications through email, phone calls, resource platforms, and virtual meetings. It’s also made it easier to stay on top of state-level orders. Thanks to Neighborly, we’re able to get all content in one spot to send to franchise owners frequently on an ongoing basis. We’ve been getting all the government loan information together for franchise owners as well as training materials to handle the virus. We’re updating our current marketing strategy in response and calling every franchise owner to touch base and offer further support.
How are you supporting your corporate employees?
We’ve all been teleworking from home since mid-March. All staff is at home, including the scheduling center call representatives who book appointments. Luckily, Dryer Vent Wizard has been through this situation similarly: our entire office flooded last year and we didn’t miss one call or appointment, which equipped us well for the current environment. Our corporate support is unwavering and at full capacity.
How are your franchise owners supporting their employees?
They’re mostly all still open. The ones with hired technicians are trying to keep them busy in nimble ways; most residential work is switching to multi-unit or commercial work. Much interior cleaning is shifting to being performed almost exclusively from the exterior, too. The franchise owners have proven agile to make these changes. The government loans will also help across the board. All employees are up to speed and code on the CDC guidelines for preventive measures. Our franchise owners are offering employees the option to go home if they’re not comfortable or need to otherwise. Franchise owners are also offering peer-to-peer advice and reassurance to one another through our virtual forum platform.
What are your franchisees doing for their customers?
Some are waiving the safety inspection fee and forgoing the usual 10-point inspection in home interiors. All are wearing protective equipment. No one is shaking hands, and they are limiting handing paper materials directly. Tablets are sanitized and cleaned before and after every use. We follow social distancing guidelines set by the CDC. Some franchise owners are offering pay by phone or paying online to limit contact and face-to-face interaction.
How do you see the future of your brand, operations, market, etc. post–Covid-19?
We’re going to have a lot of work to do once this all blows over. We’re maintaining a list of customers who had to cancel and want to reschedule. We also have previous customers who need to have dryers cleaned soon. There will be a tidal wave of business once we get out of the quarantine. The need to have this service is important and it can’t be delayed too long – it really should be an annual cleaning. We advise you to halt the use of a dryer if it’s showing potential fire warning signs such as being hot to the touch or not drying efficiently, at least until a professional can come out to inspect it.
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