Safety at the service location may be an issue for some providers, especially female providers. An article by Chef Deb back in 2017 offered advice. It is oriented towards chefs but is applicable to all providers. Here are her observations:
- Do your research ahead of time. Google the client and see what you can find out about them. There is usually a long list of various articles or places to find about people on the web if you look. I typically do this anyway if I am meeting a client at their place of business so I can know more about what they do so they know I care.
- Read their Facebook profile and find who they really are and not just the voice on the other end of the phone. Sometimes the person you speak to on the phone or even know personally is a very different person on Facebook.
- Take a friend, spouse or significant other with you to wait in the car when you arrive. The potential client will see the person that you brought with you waiting for you outside in the car. If you can’t take someone with you then have him or her on your phone and keep your phone in your pocket with a live line going.
- Survey the neighborhood when you arrive. Does it look like they can afford your services? Are the houses and yards maintained?
- Always tell a spouse, significant other, etc. the address of where you will be going and the name of the person you are going to see. Even when all of these cautions are met, sometimes when you arrive for an event things occur that make you uncomfortable and go against your better business judgment. If you feel uncomfortable or have a bad vibe, just leave.
Our apps address the issue of safety in two ways: The perspective of the customer and the perspective of the provider. From the customer perspective, when the service is confirmed, the app generates a unique code known only to the customer and the provider. The customer and provider receives a text message and a email giving them the unique code
Unique code text message
Unique code email
When the provider arrives at the service location, the customer should ask the provider to share the unique pass code. If the provider can not do this, the customer should not allow the provider to proceed. He should just ask the provider to leave. The app asks each party if they have successfully shared the unique pass code. First the app asks the customer if the unique code has been shared. If it is not shared, the app does not allow the service to begin.
The second part of the safety issue relates to the provider. When the customer indicates they have shared the unique code, the app will ask the provider if they have shared the code. Again, both parties must indicate the code has been shared for the service to proceed. At this point a security alert feature for the provider is activated.
This feature is optional. The app will provide a security alert interval to the provider. After this time interval expires, the app generates a popup that requires the provider to indicate that everything is ok. If it is, and the provider indicates everything is ok, the app will keep generating the popup after each security alert interval expires. For example if the interval is set at 30 minutes, the popup will be generated every 30 minutes. This feature can be disabled at the beginning of the service or after each popup occurs. If the popup occurs and the provider does not acknowledge that everything is ok, the app will send a message to our admin center informing us that a provider has not responded to a security alert. Our admin personal will then call the provider to try and ascertain that everything is ok. Originally, we proposed to call a security service to check on the provider if we could not reach the provider. However, after much research we discovered that security services could not guarantee a response time that help the situation. So we do not want to give the provider a false sense of security. The best we can do is to try and reach the provider to check on him. Many providers felt this was too much of a bother. That’s why the feature is optional. The provider can decline this function at the beginning of the service. The bottom line is that you should follow the guidelines that Deb offered in her article. If you arrive at a service location and don’t feel comfortable, the best thing is to leave the location.