Specialized Business Insurance & Risk Management Blog
TwitterLinkedInRSS

4 Basic Insurance Policies for Greenhouses and Nursery Garden Centers

young plants in greenhouse

Having the right insurance for your business plants the seed for a stronger financial future.  When a costly claim or lawsuit is made against your business, even basic coverage can help dig you out of a financial hole.  This liability and workers’ comp insurance covers the costs when certain unexpected situations happen.

Below we provide an overview of four basic insurance policies – general liability, property, commercial vehicle, and workers’ comp – that can help safeguard your horticulture or plant grower business.

General Liability Insurance

If a third party claims your employee or work environment caused them injury or physical damage to their property, you might be held liable for paying the bill(s).  Even if not at fault, these claims are common and can be costly.  For example, a customer breaks their arm from slipping and falling on wet leaves in the aisle of your nursery garden center.

To protect your business against the high costs of property damage, bodily injury, and personal or advertising injury claims, general liability insurance is necessary.  This popular policy covers the costs of related legal fees, third party medical expenses, and much more.

Property Insurance

Structures, stock, equipment, and other business property can be expensive to repair or replace.  This property loss often results from fire, extreme weather, and theft.  During winter, for example, a greenhouse roof collapsing from the weight of snow and ice damages your stock, supplies, and everything else it crashes on top of, in addition to interrupting your business operations.

In case of an unfortunate incident,  property insurance is designed to help you get back to business after a loss of your stock, structures, equipment, or commercial and  business personal property.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance

If an employee causes an accident when delivering plants, going on a sales call, or driving a company vehicle for any business related purpose, you could be responsible for paying the damages.  These costs significantly increase when a third party is injured as a result of the accident,.

For greenhouse and nursery garden centers with traveling employees, a commercial vehicle insurance policy is essential.  This policy covers the expense of physical damage repairs to a covered auto, as well as the potential defense and payment of bodily injury claims to a third party.

Workers’ Compensation

Using sharp gardening tools, lifting heavy equipment, spraying chemicals on plants, and other daily tasks could result in injury or illness for an employee.  Even with safety procedures in place, accidents can still happen.  For example, an employee is hurt after tripping on a hose being used by another employee to water plants. When  employees are  hurt on the job, this policy covers the resulting medical costs and lost income during recovery, as well as potential litigation expenses.  Workers’ compensation is a legal requirement in most states, and a necessary policy when running a business with paid employees.

These four fundamental insurance policies better protect horticulture and plant grower businesses.  To fill any gaps where you would not be financially protected, additional coverage can be added to each policy.

Find insurance coverage for your business.  NIP Group’s GrowPro insurance program includes general liability, property, commercial vehicle, workers’ comp, and other important coverages that can be custom-tailored to your operational and financial needs. For information on insurance coverage specific to your needs, visit nipgroup.com/programs/growpro or contact your broker.

What Should I Put in My Cleaning Service Contract to Avoid Client Disputes?

cleaning service contractHaving your client sign a written contract before starting a job could save your cleaning or janitorial business a lot of money and headache later on. If a dispute with a client or unexpected lawsuit happens, this document will help you better defend your business. Otherwise, you could be left cleaning up a financial mess from disagreements over service expectations, payment, and more.

Contracts are helpful in building and strengthening relationships with clients, too. Clearly defined rates, terms, and conditions help eliminate confusion between parties and set expectations for the quality of work to be performed. A lawyer can help you draft an initial contract which can then be tailored to each job after.

Below are some details often included in a cleaning or janitorial service contract that can help avoid future conflicts with clients.

Service Schedule Details

• Start and end dates of service
• How many times a month work will be performed
• Days and times work will be performed
• Procedures for entering and exiting the premises each workday

Services to Be Performed and Supplies

• Areas and facilities to be cleaned
• Detailed list of tasks to be completed in each area
• Responsible party for purchasing and maintaining cleaning supplies and equipment

Rates and Payment

• Costs for services (per hour or per job)
• How often the client will be billed (e.g., monthly)
• Payment due date
• Payment methods (e.g., check, credit card, cash)

Refund and Cancellation Terms

• Refund policy for incomplete work or complaints
• Notice period for canceling services
• Cancellation fee, if any

If no further clarification is needed, ask your client to sign the contract. Both of your signatures make it legally binding and enforceable.

Looking to better protect your cleaning or janitorial service business from costly claims? Check out NIP Group’s MaintenancePro insurance program and contact your broker for more information.

Related Article

Found a Negative Online Review of Your Commercial Business? Here’s How to Respond

3 Tips for Controlling Costs in Your Cleaning Service Operations

iStock_000013933799_MediumReducing and controlling costs in your cleaning service includes increasing productivity and saving money where possible.  For this, it’s important to look at your business operations and identify areas for improvement.  This will help improve your bottom line and strengthen the financial future of your business.

Below are three tips that can help you control costs within your cleaning service operations.

Train Your Employees

Proper training of employees is vital to controlling costs better.  Make sure each employee is trained in safety procedures, cleaning methods, and proper use of equipment and chemicals.  This helps prevent future rework, product waste, and costly claims that can add to your expenses.

Create an Efficient Process

Increased efficiency can decrease labor costs.  To better manage your budget, it’s important to understand the time and resources needed to complete a job.  After evaluating the facility you’re contracted to service and work requirements, clearly define a cleaning method (e.g., zone or team cleaning) and prioritize tasks that will get the job done through an efficient process.  Establishing an effective process helps employees increase productivity without compromising quality of work.

In addition, consider using equipment and products that make the cleaning process more effective and less time-consuming.  Although sometimes pricey, the higher performance, durability, and longer lifespan of certain equipment and products can help you control costs better over the long term.

Keep Your Business Insurance Premium Low

There are simple ways to keep your business insurance premium low without giving up coverage.  This includes maintaining a clean claims history, enforcing safety procedures, bundling multiple policies with one carrier, and increasing your deductible.  Learn more about saving money on your business insurance here.

For better coverage that protects you from financial loss, NIP Group’s MaintenancePro insurance program can be custom-tailored to meet the financial and operational needs of your janitorial or cleaning service business.  Visit http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/maintenancepro/ for more information or contact your broker.

How did you reduce costs in your janitorial or cleaning service operations?

Related Articles

How to Reduce Costly Risks in a Cleaning or Maintenance Service Business

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Business Insurance Bill

Resources

http://cleanguidepro.com/wpDrakeBlog/category/janitorial-costs-savings/

http://blog.staplesadvantage.com/2014/01/16/new-year-new-savings-three-steps-to-reduce-labor-costs/

 

Safety Tips that Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Stress and Illness

worker with large crane site and sunset backgroundThe physical demands of outdoor work and extreme heat is a dangerous combination.  Landscape, tree service, construction, and other  outdoor workers spend hours under the hot sun, making them more vulnerable to heat stroke, exhaustion, dehydration, and other serious health problems.  This is not only bad for their health, but bad for your business too.

Heat stress and related illnesses have been one of the many occupational hazards OSHA aims to prevent.  In May 2015, for example, the State of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) changed employer requirements to better protect agricultural and other outdoor workers from illnesses related to heat exposure.  This includes stricter regulations.

To avoid violating OSHA regulations and control hazards, enforcing safety procedures is your best bet.  Below we list some tips for protecting your workers from these heat-related health problems.

Safety Tips for Working in Hot Temperatures

  • Dress cool.  Wear light-colored, breathable clothing and a hat.
  • Stay hydrated. Thirsty or not, drink water every 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Take breaks. Rest in the shade when possible.  Eat during lunch or other breaks to re-fuel.
  • Watch your workers’ backs. Keep an eye out for signs of exhaustion and other heat illnesses.
  • Have a response plan. Know which steps to take if a worker shows symptoms of heat illness.

Each employee should be trained in safety procedures, including recognizing and controlling hazards, and steps to take in an emergency.  By creating a safe working environment, your workers are better protected from harm and the risk of a costly claim is significantly reduced.  If a health problem does occur even after following safety procedures, an insurance plan with workers’ comp will cover medical costs, foregone wages, and other related costs to take the heat off of your business financially.

NIP Group’s insurance programs include comprehensive workers’ comp to back you up financially so your employees can focus on restoring their health and you can continue growing your business.  Click the links below for more information or contact your broker.

LandPro Insurance >

For landscape and lawn care professionals

TreePro Insurance >

For arborists and tree service professionals

GrowPro Insurance >

For greenhouse and plant grower professionals

Resources

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/documents/Heat-Illness-Prevention-Regulation-Amendments.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2013-143/pdfs/2013-143.pdf

http://landscapeonline.com/research/article/17720

Found a Negative Online Review of Your Commercial Business? Here’s How to Respond

 

White keyboard positive, neutral and negative isometryA negative online review of your services could discourage other prospective clients from hiring your commercial business.  In a study by Dimensional Research, 88 percent of respondents said they “have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.”  Not so good for your bottom line.  Don’t panic just yet, though – a quick response coupled with some TLC (tender loving care) can help turn a negative review into a positive.

A bad review can happen to even the most reliable service businesses, whether it’s from a dissatisfied client (warranted or not) or a sneaky competitor using a fake name.  Monitoring both social media and service review websites helps you gauge customer satisfaction and your reputation.  It also enables you to showcase your company values to the World Wide Web and do damage control if an online user writes a less-than-stellar review.

Below we provide some helpful response tips for maintaining a positive reputation when an unexpected bad review is written for the world to see.

Step 1: Breathe

Your passion as a business owner makes any feedback more personal.  While it’s normal human response to get defensive, staying positive will get you the best outcome.  Remember, “the customer is always right” (even if they’re wrong).

After seeing a nasty review, collect your thoughts first and then respond in a professional way.

Step 2: Show You Care

It’s important to remember that other prospective clients browsing the web will read your reply.  To make a personal connection with the reviewer, send a private message first, if possible, before posting a public reply.  A thoughtful, prompt response communicating a solution to resolve their complaint can restore your reputation.  Offering a refund or discount on their next purchase doesn’t hurt either.

For example, a reviewer complained about a delay in your cleaning or janitorial service.  Although this delay may have been due to an unavoidable situation, such as an unexpected equipment malfunction or bad traffic, this is the chance to highlight your company values, not to backlash.  Your reply could include an acknowledgement of their complaint, a statement that reinforces your company’s commitment to customer satisfaction, and how you will rectify the problem or who to contact for resolution.

Step 3: Take the Good with the Bad, and then Learn from It

Comments about your business on review sites, both positive and negative, can be used to improve your product or service.  Make it a learning experience.  For example, incorporate negative reviews into your employee training with steps to prevent future issues.  Highlight positive reviews to keep up the good work.

Rectifying a negative online review doesn’t end with these steps, however.  If given another chance, make sure the client’s next experience with your business meets or exceeds expectations.  Follow up with them after service to see how it went.  By being responsive and showing you care both online and offline, you can help influence other prospects into becoming clients.

How did you handle a negative online review?

Resources

http://cdn.zendesk.com/resources/whitepapers/Zendesk_WP_Customer_Service_and_Business_Results.pdf

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242429