Chapter 4: Building a Risk Management Plan for Your Cleaning Business
Part 1: How a Spotless Risk Management Plan Can Reduce Your Premiums
Adequate insurance coverage is a safety net for when unavoidable accidents happen. However, some risks can be managed with just an ounce of prevention. Take these tips to heart, and you may even reduce your insurance premiums over time.
1. Put safety first.
Maintaining facilities and homes may mean that you have to make things a little messy before they can get clean. You may have to remove traction mats at entrances or roll up area rugs. That's why it's important to implement the necessary warnings to ensure safety.
As we've, be sure you use warning signs when mopping or treating floors in commercial buildings. In domestic settings, announce the trip or slip hazard if someone enters the home while things are out of place or when floors are still slick. We explore the dreaded slip-and-fall injury in more depth in the next section
2. Use thorough documentation.
Make a checklist for your team to mark off at the end of every job. Your documentation should include…
- The work performed.
- Who completed the task.
- When the task was completed.
- Which chemicals were used, if applicable.
You may also want to document…
- Products being used.
- Cleaning procedures.
- Slip-resistance testing.
- Building traffic counts.
- Accident reports.
These lists can ensure that all work is complete and that the building has been properly locked and secured at the end of the workday. It also serves as evidence, should your business ever be sued.
3. Train your employees.
Between intense cleaning agents, slip-and-fall hazards, and late-night shifts, your employees face plenty of risks. But with the proper training, you can reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries and illnesses.
For instance, ensure employees wear the appropriate protective gear while cleaning to protect their skin and eyes from harsh chemicals. Shoes with good traction are a must. Standardize the cleaning products your employees use, and ensure they understand the hazards of ingesting or inhaling those products.
Also, if your employees must work late nights in empty buildings, there's an increased risk that they could be mugged or assaulted. Outfitting employees with walkie-talkies can keep them in quick contact when something goes awry.
4. Ask your clients for help.
Request that your clients lock up or relocate rare, valuable, or breakable items before your cleaning business begins work. This reduces the risk that employees will break expensive items or be tempted to take valuables. Your employees should also know how to handle fragile items to minimize the potential for damages.
5. Pay your quarterly taxes.
Being your own boss means you're also responsible for paying your own Social Security and Medicare taxes. Most states have an income tax, too. The IRS recommends estimating your income for the whole year and paying your estimated quarterly taxes in four equal installments (April, June, September, and January).
You don't want to owe more than $1,000 in taxes by the time you file your annual return because you could face penalties on top of your back taxes. Luckily, it's not hard to pay your federal and state estimated taxes.
For federal taxes, you simply mail Form 1040-ES vouchers to the IRS or use the IRS Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. For state taxes, check with your state's Department of Revenue for the appropriate forms and guidelines.
Some of these tips help make your business stronger, while others directly affect your premium rates. For more ideas about how to reduce the cost of your small business coverage, one of our insureon agents will be happy to offer advice.
Next: Chapter 4.2: Determining Liability in Slip-and-Fall Cases
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