Specialized Business Insurance & Risk Management Blog

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.




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#

Managing Exposure While Cleaning With Chemicals

BiohazardFacility cleaning crews work with a variety of cleaning solutions for the myriad of surfaces that need to be maintained in a school, office building, or other facility to keep the grounds sanitary. The chemicals being used are highly toxic and can easily cause illness or injury if inhaled, ingested, or contact with the skin is made.

This being the case, the team at MaintenancePro, an insurance program designed for the facility cleaning and maintenance services industry, recognizes the fact that safe practices need to be employed in order to ensure the safety of a facility cleaning crew.

Safety measures that can be utilized to mitigate risks from chemical exposure include:

  • Warning workers not to mix cleaning products that contain bleach and ammonia
  • Making sure that workers know which cleaning chemicals must be diluted and how to correctly dilute the cleaners they are using
  • Thoroughly reviewing and training workers on the use, storage and emergency spill procedures for cleaning chemicals
  • Reviewing the proper protective equipment needed, such as gloves and goggles, and providing the proper protective equipment to the workers using the cleaning product
  • Ensuring that all containers of cleaning products and chemicals are labeled to identify their contents and hazards
  • Operating ventilation systems as needed during cleaning tasks to allow sufficient air flow and prevent buildup of hazardous vapors
  • Providing workers with a place to wash up after using cleaning chemicals


Employing these practices provided by OSHA is an effective way to manage the exposure of facility cleaning workers who work with hazardous chemicals on a daily basis. The training and preventative measures should be sufficient in lessening the chance of an accident. Should an accident occur, it’s beneficial to the business to have a program in place that is designed with the unique needs of facility cleaning and maintenance service professionals in mind.

For more information, visit MaintenancePro.

Common Safety Hazards For Janitors and Custodians

CustodialCustodians and Janitors deal with a multitude of risks every day in their working environment whether they work in a school, an office building, a facility or any other business. Certain risk management practices can help to prevent injury on the job and can contribute to better overall health of a maintenance team.

The team at MaintenancePro, a comprehensive program designed specifically for the custodial, janitorial, and light maintenance industry, has seen many claims come through our doors that can be avoided with simple precautions.

Some simple ways to mitigate risk on the job include:

Back Injury/Slip and Fall
When janitors and custodians don’t pay attention to proper body mechanics, they are inviting back injuries related to repetitive bending motions and heavy lifting. In addition, wearing ill-fitting shoes or shoes that are not slip-resistant put the worker at risk of injury from slip and fall accidents.

Custodial workers can diminish the risk of chemical accidents by wearing gloves that are resistant to chemicals and by wearing safety goggles when using chemicals. In addition, by mixing chemicals in well-ventilated areas, janitors and custodians can reduce the risk of inhaling noxious fumes that can produce respiratory complications.

Locate and Report Hazards
Different locations in a building, such as cafeterias and laundry rooms, can present different problems. It is important that the janitor be aware of hazards in his work environment. Because the janitor moves throughout different locations in the building, he might be the first person to see a potential hazard or danger. By reporting these hazards and displaying warning signs, he can help avoid an accident for himself or others.

Meadow Milano – http://www.ehow.com/

Following these safety guidelines is a simple and efficient way to reduce the risk involved with custodial and janitorial maintenance work; and most importantly, keep a maintenance team healthy. Should an accident occur however, it is important to have a policy in place that is intimately familiar with the risks in the facility maintenance class of business.

For more information, visit MaintenancePro.

Common Safety Practices for Facility Cleaning

Facility CleaningFacility cleaning crews face many unique risks every day on the job. When we think about risk management and the dangerous exposures in any industry, we tend to gravitate towards the larger risks in play. The larger risks being things like theft, employee dishonesty, or accidents that cause serious injuries or death.

The fact of the matter is that there are many less severe risks, particularly in the facility cleaning and maintenance line of business, that need to be properly mitigated as well. They may not seem like much, but they are much more common than the serious exposures we hear so much about.

Some common janitorial risks that can be easily mitigated include:

Lifting should be done by bending the knees and not twisting or turning the back. Lift belts should be worn when moving heavy equipment or furniture. Slide materials to the back of a truck before attempting to lift them. Items should not be lifted over truck walls or tailgates.

Slips and Falls
Employees should wear rubber soled shoes that have good traction. Look for obstructions, boxes, furniture, etc. that may be in the way before starting to work. Never leave cleaning tools, supplies or trash bags in walkways. Spills should be cleaned up immediately. Place hazard signs out in areas before cleaning floors or stairs with chemicals or damp mops. The edges of floor mats should lie flat on the floor.

Safety On Stairs
When using stairs employees should use hand rails. Employees should not carry anything on stairs unless they can see over the object they are carrying. Avoid running up or down the stairs. Broken hand rails should be reported to a supervisor.


Less serious exposures like these are easy to fore-go when speaking of mitigating risk in the maintenance and cleaning industry because they seem like common sense. The problem is that the more minor risks like these tend to be not taken as seriously as a chemical hazard or illness, but they can still cause injury to an employee that will render him/her unable to work.

For more info on facility cleaning insurance and risk management, visit MaintenancePro.

The Primary Health Hazards In The Custodial Workplace

Facility CleaningFacility cleaning and maintenance crews come across a wide variety of health hazards in the workplace. They range from risks that can cause physical pain from ergonomic hazards to risks that are more chemical that can cause serious illness. Recognizing the risks is the first step in being able to efficiently mitigate them.

The main types of health hazards that janitors and custodians face include:

Biological Hazards
Examples of biological hazards include infectious bacteria, viral bacteria, toxic molds, fungi, and bacteria. Biological agents can cause infections, allergies, poisoning, and toxic effects.

Toxic Chemicals
Examples of toxic chemicals include toxic liquids, toxic solids (dust), toxic fumes (mists and vapors), and toxic gases. Many of the toxic chemicals are included in the cleaning supplies that janitors and custodians use daily.

Physical Agents
Physical agents include noise, vibration, heat, sunlight, ergonomic risks, and radiation.

Poor Air Quality
Poor air quality is caused by inadequate ventilation, high temperatures, and humidity. Toxic air contaminants can include molds that can cause respiratory infections. Also, emissions from old furniture and flooring materials can cause poor air quality.

Psychological Stress
Stress caused by lack of training and communication, poor work organization, technological changes without appropriate staff training and orientation, overexertion and negative work environment.


The combination of biological hazards, toxic chemicals, physical agents, poor air quality, and psychological stress add up to present a fair amount of risk that is faced by facility cleaning workers day in and day out. Knowing the severity of these risks and actively taking the proper precautions to defend employees against these risks is one of the most effective forms of risk management. The nature of accidents, however, is that they will still happen even when every precaution is taken. Should one occur, it’s important to have an insurance program in place that is designed with the specific needs of facility cleaning crews in mind.

For more information, visit MaintenancePro.