Are your risk management practices as spotless as your cleaning service?

Published on Mon, 01/05/2015 - 17:36
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As the owner of a janitorial services business, your expertise at cleaning up messes and your eye for detail are what keep your clients singing your praises. But when it comes to spotting the potential liabilities you face every day, even the sharpest eye can easily miss something – and it might be something that puts your business and personal assets in jeopardy.

What if someone slips and breaks an ankle on a floor one of your employees recently mopped, and sues you or your client for medical expenses? What if a client accuses you of breaking an expensive sculpture and sues you for damages? Or what if an employee causes an accident while on the way to a job, causing serious injuries to the other driver?

These things can happen in an instant, and even if you don’t have the financial means to cover these liabilities, you could be sued for the costs. For example, if you’re sued for property damage and found liable, you could have a judgment lien put on your vehicles, business property, and other assets.

Bottom line: You could be accident away from financial ruin.

The solution? Spotless risk management and financial tidiness.

With so many potential liabilities facing your business every day, the little things can easily fall through the cracks – and that can lead to sloppy risk management and messy financial problems.

Here are a few tips for keeping your risk management practices spotless and your finances tidy:

  • Manage your clients' expectations. Unhappy clients can lead to lawsuits, so manage the relationship from the beginning. Use a written contract that clearly defines the services you perform and how the work will be carried out, your rates, who is responsible for buying cleaning products, and other details.
  • Make sure you properly classify your workers as either employees or independent contractors to avoid any workers’ compensation or tax complications.
  • Use a checklist at the end of each job to make sure all work has been completed and that the building has been secured.
  • If you need to keep in touch with employees in the field, consider outfitting them with hands-free headsets or establishing a "no calls while driving" policy to avoid accidents.
  • Ask your customers to secure valuable, rare, or fragile items before your crew shows up, and make sure your employees know the proper procedures for working around these items.
  • In addition to basic insurance protection, consider additional coverage such as Janitorial Liability, Building and Business Personal Property, and Business Income and Extra Expense to close potentially costly gaps in coverage in the event of a large claim or suit against you.
  • Seek out expert advice from an attorney, your insurance provider, an accountant, and others who can make sure your risk management efforts are on track and your finances are on solid ground.

For more advice on protecting your janitorial services business, contact the janitorial insurance experts at Heffernan Insurance Brokers. With more than 10 years of experience in the building services industry, we can help you execute spotless risk management.