Mandatory closures, confusion about what is considered essential work and uncertainty have left green industry professionals with many questions during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While the country continues to navigate the global pandemic, Ewing is dedicated to providing our customers with as much clarity as possible by compiling a list of resources and information that can help you move through these uncertain times.
Essential Businesses and Services
Under the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, landscapers are specifically listed as essential workers under the Public Works and Infrastructure Support Services section. This list has been a guideline for many local governments and many states have followed suit, however some have determined landscape services as non-essential.
The National Association of Landscape Professionals has created a page with state-by-state COVID-19 guidance. If your state has listed landscape services as essential, you can print out and carry the following letter as proof of your business status to present to authorities if needed:
Applying for Business Loans
Regardless of essential status, green industry businesses have no doubt taken a hit because of COVID-19. From slowed business, delayed projects, layoffs and even voluntary employee turnover, landscape companies in need of additional cash flow could be eligible for business loans through a variety of resources including:
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors and others can apply for loans that may be eligible to be forgiven if the money is used to keep workers on payroll for eight weeks, used for rent, mortgage interest or utilities.
- Emergency Economic Injury Grant: Low interest loans with optional deferment of principal and interest at the discretion of the administrator. These loans can be used for payroll and operating expenses.
- Small Business Debt Relief Program: Additional loan options for eligible businesses that can be granted in addition to a PPP loan.
Business owners can apply for PPP loans as well as other existing SBA loans as long as they are not using the loan for the same purpose at the same time. For more information on the resources above, visit the Small Business Administration's website and downloads.
Preparing for What Comes Next
Business loans and essential work statuses can help your landscape company get through the temporary economic shutdown, but what comes next? How can you prepare to make up for lost time and earn back business you may have lost?
Maintaining communication with previous clients can help you retain any business that may have stalled due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Connecting with customers via email, phone or text messages is a great way to maintain the relationship and develop plans for after shelter in place orders are lifted.
To earn new business, use this time to develop your online presence through social media and by updating your company website or Google business information.
- How to Update Your Google Business Information
- 4 Ways Landscape Companies are Using Social Media
- Why You Should Consider Creating a Company Website
We're also offering Ewing Education Webinars as a resource for our customers during this time. These webinars are provided at no cost to you and are recorded live from our expert instructors on different topics, including irrigation troubleshooting, irrigation and landscape design best practices, pesticides and more. These webinars can help you learn something new or brush up on skills to help you prepare for the future.
For more information and resources on COVID-19, visit our FAQs webpage.