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

Cleaning Service Contract to Avoid Client DisputesHaving 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
• Frequency of work to 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

Resources

https://www.cleaning-4-profit.com/2012/09/29/how-to-build-your-own-cleaning-business-contract/

http://www.ehow.com/how_4796779_write-cleaning-contract.html

https://buildingservices.insureon.com/blog-results/6-things-to-include-in-your-janitorial-services-contract

3 Tips for Controlling Costs in Your Cleaning Service Operations

Control Costs in Your Cleaning Service OperationsReducing 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/

 

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

 

Respond to a Negative Online Review of Your BusinessA 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

 

6 Additional Insurance Coverages for Complete Protection of Your Cleaning and Maintenance Service Business

 

Additional Insurance Coverages for Protecting Cleaning and Maintenance Service BusinessesYour cleaning or maintenance service business could be vulnerable to a costly claim if you’re only insured with basic coverage.  While the insurance policies listed in last week’s “4 Fundamental Insurance Policies…” article strengthen the foundation of a small business, additional insurance can provide comprehensive protection that your business may need to avoid a financial mess.  This extra coverage can fill in gaps where your business would not otherwise be financially protected.

Below we describe six additional business insurance coverages to consider for more comprehensive protection of your cleaning and maintenance service business.

Umbrella Liability

When your general liability, auto liability, or other liability insurance limit is only enough to cover part of a costly claim, an umbrella insurance policy is there to help with the remaining costs.  An auto accident caused by your employee in the company van, for example, results in claim settlement and defense costs of $2 million.  If your auto liability policy only covers $1 million of this total cost, the umbrella insurance coverage is there to pay the remaining $1 million.

Inland Marine

If your cleaning equipment, computer systems, or other property used in your operations are frequently moved from jobsite to jobsite, an inland marine insurance policy could keep your business afloat.  While a property insurance policy may only provide coverage for limited types of tools and equipment that are damaged within a certain distance from your designated business location, an inland marine policy will cover tools and equipment that are damaged further away from your premises.

Crime Coverage

Crime against your business can happen when least expected, robbing your business of serious money. To be prepared, a crime insurance policy covers employee theft, forgery/alteration, and loss of money or securities on and off premises.

ISO Janitorial Services Endorsement

Covering a broad range of risks, NIP Group’s add-on ISO janitorial services endorsement includes several coverage enhancements for more complete protection. Coverage includes key and lock replacement if a customer key is accidentally lost, theft of client property, property damage due to your work, damage to client property in your custody and care, and much more.

Blanket Additional Insured

If customers are requesting a certificate naming them as an additional insured on your insurance policies, blanket additional insured could save you time and unnecessary expenses.  This automatically extends “Additional Insured” status to your customers without the paperwork and potential fees each time it is needed.

Business Income – Dependent Properties

When income is lost from damages to client or other non-owned property, business income for dependent properties will cover your loss.  For example, if a school that you have a janitorial contract with has a massive fire that prevents you from performing work and getting paid, having the available business income for dependent properties coverage will cover income lost during that time period.

To choose the insurance coverages that will best protect your cleaning or maintenance service, it’s important to first recognize the risks your business faces.  After identifying these risks, review your current insurance policies so you know exactly what is covered and if these terms cover all of the areas where your business is vulnerable to a claim.

Need more than just basic insurance to cover all of the risks of your business?  NIP Group’s MaintenancePro insurance program offers cleaning and maintenance service businesses both fundamental and additional insurance policies that can be custom-tailored to your business needs.  Contact your insurance broker or visit www.nipgroup.com/programs/maintenancepro for more information.

Please note: All coverages are subject to conditions, coverage limits, limits of liability, limitations, and exclusions as contained in the policy.

Related Articles

4 Fundamental Insurance Policies that Protect Cleaning and Maintenance Service Businesses

How to Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More Efficiently

 

Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More EfficientlyAccording to a recent study by The Hartford, four out of ten small businesses will experience a property or general liability claim within the next ten years.  Knowing which steps to take when an unexpected situation happens, including theft, property damage, and injuries, can save you a lot of headache and time.  To get fair resolution of a claim through a more efficient process, prompt response and preparation are required.

Below we’ve detailed the steps that will help you move along the claims process more smoothly.

Before an Incident

Following a risk management plan, including safety procedures, can help prevent a claim from occurring. However, even the most careful businesses can face loss or damages.  For this, preparation is important to ensure you’ll be covered financially.

  • Review your insurance policies so you know exactly what is covered and if these terms fit your business needs
  • In case of a claim, store your insurance policy, including policy number and expiration date, and the contact information of your insurance provider in a safe place

Reporting a Claim

Failure to report theft, property damage, injuries, or other incidents right away drags out the claims process and, if evidence is lost, could compromise how much you’re covered financially.

  • Contact law enforcement to file a police report and request a copy of the report
  • Contact your insurance company to have a claim filed immediately
  • Have a surveillance camera or digital camera readily available for documenting evidence to support your claim
  • Make a list of any stolen or damaged items for your insurance company
  • For any damages, get multiple estimates for repair costs and confirm with your insurance provider when repairs can be made

After a Claim is Filed

Save all copies of the evidence, police reports, and claim information.  When you can, communicate in writing for documentation.  After the claim is filed, there are more steps that may need to be taken to get fair resolution.

  • If you have a business interruption insurance policy, document the length of time your operations are shut down (e.g., from building fire damage) and income lost during that time period for later compensation
  • Ask your insurance provider for a cash advancement if money is needed to get your operations running again before the claim is settled
  • Follow up routinely with your insurance provider to keep track of progress

At NIP Group, our dedicated claims expert reviews each claim routinely to ensure they are being handled properly and promptly.  Through a customer-focused network, we’ll update you about the status of a claim, assist you with loss control, and work directly with the carrier to get you fair and fast resolution.

To get comprehensive coverage specific to your business risks and responsive claims handling support, check out NIP Group’s commercial insurance programs by visiting http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/.

Related Articles:

Will Your Insurance Carrier Be Able to Pay Your Claim?  Here’s One Way to Tell

Resources:

http://newsroom.thehartford.com/releases/the-hartford-reports:-more-than-40-percent-of-small-businesses-will-experience-a-claim-in-the-next-10-years

http://www.business.com/business-insurance/tips-for-filing-a-business-insurance-claim/

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

Reduce Costly Risks in a Cleaning or Maintenance Service BusinessThe key to keeping your business costs low is preventing injuries and damages before they happen.  Slips and falls, exposure to cleaning chemicals, damage to a client’s property, and equipment hazards are common risks faced by cleaning and maintenance service employees that could leave a mark on your balance sheet and reputation.  To avoid a financial mess from a claim or lawsuit, a risk management plan should be defined and followed.

Here are some risk management tips that reduce costly risks for your business:

Make Safety Everybody’s Job

Train each employee in safety procedures that prevent damages to a client’s property, equipment breakdowns, and injuries or health risks.  With everyone involved in creating a safe environment, the risk of a costly claim is significantly reduced.  Safety tips include (but are not limited to):

  • Don’t use cell phones while driving from one site to another
  • Inspect and control cleaning site hazards before starting the job
  • Secure fragile items before cleaning an area
  • Wear protective gear that shields from chemicals
  • Warn clients of wet floors and hazard areas
  • Use proper cleaning procedures and maintain working condition of equipment
  • Lock up the building and equipment at the completion of each workday

Keep a Record of Inventory and Services Performed

Write up a contract for your client to sign before starting a new job that clearly defines services to be performed, detailed list of tasks to be completed in each area and facility, schedule, rates, and other important conditions.  Throughout each workday, record which equipment is used, where equipment and the client’s property is stored, and tasks or services that were completed.  Documentation not only helps employees stick to an agenda for a higher job performance, but it provides evidence to better defend your business if there’s ever an unexpected lawsuit. In addition, it helps to improve customer satisfaction.

Have a Backup Plan with Insurance

Insurance coverage is there to back you up financially when an unexpected claim happens.  To get the best coverage for your operational and financial needs, it’s important to know the risks your business faces and what is covered under each type of insurance policy.  Even the most basic insurance can help you avoid a substantial loss, depending on your risks.

Following a simple risk management plan that includes these components will help your cleaning or maintenance service business avoid significant financial loss and maintain customer satisfaction.  With this, you can keep your operations running as smooth as possible and continue growing your business.

To protect your cleaning or maintenance service business, NIP Group offers MaintenancePro insurance program.  Contact your insurance broker or visit www.nipgroup.com/programs/maintenancepro for more information.

Resources

https://buildingservices.insureon.com/small-business-insurance/ways-to-protect/34

https://buildingservices.insureon.com/resources/publications/risk-management

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Business Insurance Bill

Save Money on Business Insurance

A few simple and quick actions could put more money into your business.  The components that influence the cost of your insurance bill, including your business risks and coverage selection, can be controlled to lower your premium without compromising the quality of your coverage.  With a lower premium to pay each year, there’s more money for you to continue growing your business.

Here are five simple ways to save money on your insurance bill without sacrificing coverage:

1. Implement Safety and Loss Reduction Practices

Control workplace hazards and maintain the working condition of your commercial equipment and vehicles to keep your insurance premium low (and avoid injuries).  With a lower risk of a claim, the lower your premium will likely be (see item #3).

2. Bundle Your Policies with One Carrier

Bundling multiple lines of insurance coverage through one carrier usually comes at a lower cost than purchasing each policy individually through various carriers.  A Business Owners Policy (BOP), for example, can benefit small and medium-sized businesses because it packages major liability and property risks into one insurance plan for a lower premium.

3. Ask About a Claims-Free Discount  

Your carrier may reward you with a discount on your insurance plan if your business hasn’t had a claim in years.  To get this cost benefit, avoid filing small claims that can be paid out of pocket.

4. Increase Your Deductible

A higher deductible can lower the premium you pay annually.  It’s always good to have money set aside, however, in case an unexpected claim does occur.

5. Talk to Your Insurance Broker 

Choose a knowledgeable agent that can help you get the best coverage for you and your business.  Your broker can answer questions about different coverage options and available discounts.

Following these five tips can help you save money to continue growing your business.  At NIP Group, we get businesses custom-tailored insurance coverage at a competitive premium rate to better fit your operational and financial needs.  Visit nipgroup.com/programs or contact your broker to find out how you can save money without compromising the quality of your insurance coverage through NIP Group.

Resources

http://www.business.com/business-insurance/9-ways-to-save-money-on-business-insurance/

http://www.iii.org/article/how-can-i-save-money-on-my-business-insurance

4 Fundamental Insurance Policies that Protect Cleaning and Maintenance Service Businesses

Basic Insurance that Protects Cleaning and Maintenance Service BusinessesFor a cleaning or maintenance service company, it only takes one messy situation to leave a mark on your balance sheet.  Damages to a client’s property, damages to your own commercial property, and injuries are, at times, unavoidable risks that can wipe your business out financially. When a claim is made against your business, having even the most basic insurance can help you avoid financial loss.

Below are four fundamental insurance policies – general liability, property, commercial vehicle, and workers’ comp – that help protect cleaning or maintenance service businesses.

1. General Liability (GL) Insurance

This coverage protects your business from property damage, bodily injury, and personal or advertising injury claims. If your employee is cleaning a floor and a client slips on it, for example, you’re covered. GL insurance by itself, however, is not enough to keep your business out of financial harm.

2. Property Insurance

If you own commercial cleaning equipment or operate your business in a commercial space, property insurance may benefit you. This coverage is there to back you up financially when a fire, vandalism, theft, or certain other unexpected situations cause commercial property loss or damage (e.g., your expensive cleaning equipment is stolen).

3. Commercial Vehicle Insurance

You could be liable if an employee causes an auto accident while driving to the next job. The cost of damages from a crash or fender bender makes commercial vehicle insurance important for businesses with traveling employees.

4. Workers’ Comp Insurance

This insurance is the protector of your most important asset – your employees.  Even with safety procedures in place, frequent exposure to cleaning chemicals, wet floors, cleaning equipment, heavy lifting, and other daily tasks can still result in an employee injury. When this happens, workers’ comp is there to pay the resulting medical costs, legal fees, and other related costs.

Although there are other insurance policies your business may need, these four are important to consider.  Maintaining a clean claims history can help lower insurance costs, so it’s recommended to standardize and follow safety procedures specific to the risks of your business. With insurance and effective risk management, your business is set up to avoid a financial mess.

Looking to clean up your balance sheet?  Check out NIP Group’s MaintenancePro insurance program that includes general liability, property, auto liability, workers’ comp, and other insurance policies custom-tailored to your cleaning or maintenance service business need.

Please note: All coverages are subject to conditions, coverage limits, limits of liability, limitations, and exclusions as contained in the policy.

Safety Tips for Handling Cleaning Chemicals

Cleaning productsThe US Department of Labor continually lists cleaning and custodial work as one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. This is due mostly to the high probability of accidents involving chemicals that occur each year. Here at NIP Group with our MaintenancePro program, we encourage cleaning professionals to develop a safety program for their cleaning chemicals. Some key components include:

• Be sure to document all cleaning chemicals used on site. This list should include details of how many gallons are stored, where they are stored, and the potential hazards of, and necessary precautions for, each specific chemical.

• Create Safety Data Sheets for each chemical used, and never mix chemicals even if they are the same type of chemical.

• All chemicals should be stored in well-ventilated areas far from HVAC intake vents. This helps to prevent any fumes from spreading to other areas.

• Safety signs are very important to have on site. Consider having signs that use images, not words. If this is not possible, the next best option is to have signs in multiple languages. All signs must follow OSHA’s standards.

• Cleaning workers should know exactly what the following “signal words” mean:

  • Caution: product should be used carefully, but is relatively safe.
  • Warning: product is moderately toxic.
  • Danger: product is highly toxic and may cause permanent damage to skin and eyes.

ALL INFO FROM http://www.cleanlink.com/news/article/Six-Tips-on-the-Safe-Handling-of-Cleaning-Chemicals–15549#

TMPAA Announces 2013 "Program Marketing Campaign" Award Winners

Three Member Agencies Score Highest in Competition Co-Sponsored by the IMCA

Wilmington, DE — The Target Markets Program Administrators Association (TMPAA) announced at their Mid Year Meeting in Baltimore that 20 entries were received for the third annual marketing campaign competition. TMPAA’s co-sponsor, the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association (IMCA) has sponsored its own marketing and communications “Showcase Awards” for 55 years. IMCA provided a panel of independent judges that reviewed all TMPAA member entries for both creative design and marketplace impact.

The winning member agencies were Venture Insurance Programs from West Chester, PA, K&B Underwriters from Reston, VA and MiniCo Insurance Agency from Phoenix, AZ. Venture’s entry was for its “Suite Life” campaign in support of its hospitality program. K&B Underwriters’ entry featured its multi-media campaign in support of its “DigniCARE” senior living facilities program. And MiniCo’s entry was the launch of its new “Family of Products” campaign featuring a branded icon supporting four of its specialty insurance programs. All three Award of Excellence winners supported their entries with impressive marketplace metrics that achieved desired upfront marketing objectives.

David Springer, TMPAA President, presented the winning award plaques at the recent Mid Year Meeting. The semi-annual association meeting attracted 600 agency, carrier and vendor members. Springer commented, “The TMPAA was thrilled to continue the creative competition in partnership with IMCA. We hope to have even more entries in 2014.”

Additionally, Springer announced that two other member agencies were named runners up in this year’s competition – GMI Insurance from Valley Forge, PA and Willis Programs of Portsmouth, NH.

The Association’s recent Mid Year Meeting was held in Baltimore, MD, May 6-9. Complete details of this event are now on the TMPAA website. The 13th Annual TMPAA Summit is scheduled for October 21-23 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Program Administrators / MGA’s interested in learning more about the TMPAA and the Program Marketing Awards can visit the Association website at www.targetmarkets.com, or contact Ray Scotto, Executive Director, at (877) 347-5700 or ray.scotto@targetmkts.com.