ANGI Homeservices, the parent company of HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List, shared today its letter to Congress asking that home service professionals be deemed “essential workers” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Right now, the backbone of our economy, the millions of local men and women who work to keep one of Americans’ largest investments—their homes—safe and viable, are at risk of being left behind while large corporations seek bailouts,” said ANGI Homeservices CEO Brandon Ridenour in a press release. “We need the government to prioritize relief to these vital small businesses, the home service professionals, by deeming them essential.”
“Like the larger corporations in the headlines, they too need access to capital to maintain their businesses and workforce through these unprecedented times,” Ridenour added. “This is a crisis unlike anything we have ever seen—we stand ready to serve and encourage Congress to take bold and swift action to protect the future of this critical segment of U.S. businesses.”
Since March 6, President Trump has signed two coronavirus-related bills into law — the Coronavirus Emergency Funding Bill and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Emergency Funding Bill provides $8 billion to stop the spread of COVID-19, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act offers free COVID-19 testing, mandatory paid sick leave, unemployment aid, and nutrition assistance for vulnerable households.
A third bill, The Coronavirus Stimulus Package, would offer $1 trillion in aid to individuals, small businesses, and large corporations if passed. The package currently offers $300 billion in aid to small businesses and a one-time check ranging from $600 to $1,200 to every American adult making no more than $99,000.
As of March 23, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is small business owners and self-employed workers’ only source of federal help, with two weeks of mandated paid sick leave that will be reimbursed through tax credits.
Ridenour said these measures aren’t enough for the 250,000 small businesses in ANGI Homeservices’ network, many of which are deemed “non-essential” and cannot do business in areas with strict social distancing or shelter-in-place orders.
“Home service professionals and their businesses are at risk – but their survival is critical for ensuring that, as people remain in their homes, basic needs for electricity, plumbing, air conditioning, and other essential services are met,” he said. “The U.S. already suffers from a shortage of skilled tradespersons and a dramatic reduction in the millions of people who work in these industries would be catastrophic.”
“Plumbing and air conditioning is not a luxury. It is a necessity. The service we provide is critical for the health and safety of the community,” added Indianapolis-based ANGI Homeservices’ provider Chris Cunningham. “Therefore, we must continue to find ways to conduct business, while also taking precautions to slow the spread of the virus.”
In addition to asking that home service professionals be deemed essential, ANGI Homeservices said it’s able to assist in delivering government-backed funds to these professionals since the company already has the infrastructure in place.
“ANGI Homeservices operates the largest platform and network of home service professionals in the U.S., facilitating over $18 billion in job revenue to over 250,000 home service professionals in 2019,” Ridenhour concluded. “ANGI Homeservices is uniquely able to use its existing technology and mobile app to deliver cost-effective, secure communication and, with congressional support, facilitate government assistance directly to these small local businesses, nationwide, at scale today.”
ANGI Homeservices isn’t the only company going to bat for its community of independent contractors — Compass CEO Robert Reffkin shared on Thursday his impassioned plea to Congress to remember the “particular plight of real estate agents.”
Reffkin noted the average real estate agent only makes $41,800 per year and restrictions on “non-essential” businesses prevent agents from being able to take care of themselves and their families.
“As independent contractors who are not compensated until after a home sale closes, agents will not begin earning back lost revenue until many months after both the financial and housing markets stabilize,” he wrote.
Read the letter below: