Commercial Janitorial Risk Management: How to Clean Up Messy Exposures

August 01, 2018

When you run a janitorial business, you’re engaged in risky activities every day such as handling chemicals, moving heavy equipment, operating power tools, cleaning public spaces, and working on client’s premises. Any one of those activities could quickly turn into a costly liability such as:

  • Damage to a client’s property. If one of your workers damages a client’s expensive hardwood floor by using the wrong cleaning fluid, you could be sued for the replacement cost.
  • Third-party bodily injuries. If one of your client’s employees slips and falls on a floor that was recently mopped by one of your workers, you could be held accountable for the injured employee’s medical expenses.
  • Damage to your equipment. Without your cleaning gear, you have no business, so if something breaks down, you’re out of work until it gets repaired or replaced.
  • Chemical exposure. Improperly stored or utilized chemicals can lead to pollution, which can lead to a messy lawsuit.
  • Employee injuries. Your employees work in a labor-intensive occupation, and if they suffer an injury due to their work activities, your business is liable for their medical expenses.

Any one of these scenarios could take a serious bite out of your profits, even put you out of business – and these examples are just a few of your potential liabilities.

That’s why it’s so crucial to have financial protection as diverse as your risks.

That means along with your safety and risk management initiatives, you need insurance protection for those unique risks. Of course, you’ll need the basics:

  • General liability
  • Property
  • Commercial auto
  • Workers' compensation

Many business owners stop there, but that’s a dangerous game. They’ll never be protected from a host of risks they face every day. There are other key coverages you should consider to protect your cleaning business, including:

  • Pollution coverage. A pollution endorsement can be added to your GL policy and protect you against liability for bodily injury or property damage related to the discharge, dispersal, or release of toxic chemicals and other contaminants.
  • Supplemental Property Insurance Coverage Endorsement (SPICE). This can be added to your Property policy and is specifically designed for professionals in the cleaning and maintenance businesses. While your standard property policy will protect your equipment at your primary business location, SPICE protects your equipment against loss, theft, or damage when it’s in transit or at a location outside your office.
  • Janitorial bonding insurance / employee dishonesty bonds. You hate to think that one of your employees would steal from a client, but it happens. Janitorial bonding insurance will protect you if it does, paying your client for damages up to the bond limit. Although you don’t receive direct benefits in the event of a claim, having this protection goes a long way toward establishing trust with potential clients.

Don’t forget to keep your insurance protection updated

Buying insurance for your cleaning business should never be a “buy-it-and-forget-it” proposition. Review your coverage regularly and amend your policies as your service business grows, and definitely when you experience milestones such as taking on more clients, relocating your business, or experiencing significant increases or decreases in revenue. That way you’ll always know you’re covered.

Want more advice on protecting your janitorial services business? At Heffernan Insurance Brokers, we have more than 10 years of experience in the building services industry with insurance packages tailored for commercial janitorial companies. We understand your unique risks and the financial protection you need.