Disinfecting service keeping cleaning companies afloat amid quarantine times | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 31, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:11 AM, July 31, 2020

Disinfecting service keeping cleaning companies afloat amid quarantine times

Soon after Bangladesh reported its first confirmed COVID-19 cases on 8 March, the on-demand cleaning service provider HandyMama got busy working up a strategy to incorporate disinfecting and antiviral cleaning to its list of services.

Given the breakneck pace at which the highly contagious and lethal coronavirus is moving across the population, that has become the platform's most on-demand service.

"Before the coronavirus outbreak we had been providing only cleaning services at customers' homes and offices where little active measures had been taken to kill any virus," said Md Saim Ur Rahman, an executive for the platform's human resources, administration and culture.

HandyMama uses disinfectant chemical products of the world's top brands and follows a five-step cleaning process for the two specialised services, whose charges start at Tk 1,999 and go up to Tk 2,999.

Clad in face masks, hand gloves and protective body suits, its cleaners spray disinfectants on themselves and their cleaning equipment before entering any premise.

So far, its trained professionals have disinfected more than dozens of flats and clinics across the capital that had COVID-19 patients.

"We have also faced situations with which none wanted to get involved for fear of the virus but our people have gone there and cleaned up everything," he said.

Launched in 2015, it has been providing cleaning services for furniture, windows, grills, doors, cabinets, electrical appliances, kitchens, washrooms and floor and common surfaces at homes and offices.

The cleaning service provider has so far trained and created jobs for upwards of 2,000 professionals who have served more than 70,000 households and 5,000 businesses. Its vision is to train, certify and employ 10,000 people within the next five years.

"During the past four months, we have lost some of our regular customers because they do not want anybody from outside to enter their homes," Rahman said.

Bangladesh's caseload is amongst the top 10 in the world, meaning the demand for such services will only increase in the days to come.

To cater to the heightened need of sanitisation and disinfection services, paint maker Berger Paints Bangladesh has recently taken to helping people and businesses steer clear of any infections amid the ongoing pandemic.

The company already had a team of professionals who provided painting services for automobiles, homes and industries using different tools, including airless spray guns.

"As Berger imports raw materials from different countries, we have come to know about a German-made powerful virus disinfectant, Virol-Oxy, which is effective against viruses, especially the novel coronavirus, and bacteria and yeast," said Sayed Shorif Russel, its brand manager, told The Daily Star yesterday.

So, the paint maker imported the disinfectant, trained its painters to provide the disinfection service, which can provide up to four weeks of protection against viruses and bacteria.

On 19 July, Berger launched the full-fledged service for customers in Dhaka and Chattogram. The service will be later introduced in other big cities like Sylhet and Khulna.

The service cost is Tk 3.50 per square feet for spaces less than 5,000 square feet. For spaces of 5,000 to 10,000 square feet, the charge is Tk 3 a square feet. For spaces larger than 10,000 square feet, the charge would come down to Tk 2.5.

The solutions of Berger can be sprayed on all materials, even fabrics, and will kill 99.99 per cent of the viruses and germs, according to the company officials.

Customers will be able to book the service through the company's service centres, Berger experience zone outlets, call centre, website and official Facebook page.

"We have a responsibility to people, so we are trying to help the nation fight against coronavirus to the best of our capacities," Russel said.

Sheba.xyz, which was already providing cleaning services for homes, sofas, tanks and pipes alongside that for pest control, launched its "disinfection services for virus" soon after pandemic hit the country.

"Maintaining the coronavirus preventive measures, our service specialists have been providing the new service to our customers," said Samiul Kabir, chief strategy officer of the platform.

Their service charge starts at Tk 1,500.

"Orders in our regular cleaning services are low due to coronavirus. But now the offices are opening up and customers are availing this new service," he added.

However, the virus has also led to losses for some cleaning service providers that have not incorporated disinfecting service in their repertoire in the last four months.

Launched in 2008, Max Enterprise has been providing cleaning services for office spaces of non-governmental organisations, educational institutions and residential buildings.

"Since most of the organisations are closed, our business is now facing a downturn," said Firoza Chowdhury, executive director of Max Enterprise.

However, she said they had recently launched disinfection service, which has been able to attract a pretty good demand.

Orders for services of another cleaning service provider, Gulshan Clean & Care, has plummeted since the coronavirus outbreak.

"The condition of our business is very bad. It has been a week since we received the last call from customers for our service," said Kamrul Islam, owner of the platform, which was launched in 2004.

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