Biggest mistakes landscaping contractors make.
Running a business is not easy.
Starting a business from scratch is tough as well.
We’ve seen a lot of mistakes happen over the years, especially when it comes to when you’re running a landscaping and snow removal business.
In this article we are going to breakdown some of the biggest mistakes landscaping contractors make so if you’re running one of these businesses you can make sure that you are doing things the best way to protect you and your company.
Hiring employees or subcontractors
One of the biggest mistakes that we see is when you are starting to look to hire help, whether it is employees or subcontractors.
If you’re hiring a subcontractor to help you do one specific job, or many different jobs, we see a lot of landscaping business owners not looking to make sure that that subcontractor is insured correctly.
When they’re not insured properly that means they fall back on you as the owner of the company and also it’ll all fall back to your insurance costs.
Both your Worker’s Compensation and your General Liability insurance are at risk in the event something happens and in the event you don’t have the proper documentation.
This goes the same for if you are hiring somebody under the table and paying cash.
That’s a big no-no.
You don’t want to do that as any business owner, but especially a contractor where somebody’s going to potentially get hurt. You want to make sure that they are covered appropriately, especially with a worker’s compensation policy.
The best thing you can do if you are hiring employees, make sure that you have a worker’s compensation policy and you are running payroll.
If you’re hiring subcontractors, make sure the subcontractor has insurance that is covering them and their employees and make sure they give you a certificate of insurance listing you as an additional insured so that their policy is going to protect you in the event something happens with them.
Commercial auto coverage
The next biggest mistake that we see them make has to do with not having the proper insurance coverage.
One area where people tend not to have the right coverage is on their commercial auto truck or the vehicles that they are driving.
They keep them on a personal auto insurance policy and they don’t insure the trailers the right way.
Most landscape businesses have trailers with equipment on them. If you are pulling that with a personal auto vehicle you are not covered appropriately.
If you are using your personal auto to not only transport equipment and materials, if you’re using it to plow, if you’re using it for business use you need to make sure you have it on a commercial auto policy.
It’s going to best protect your business especially in the event you have an employee potentially drive the vehicle. You want to make sure that you have the right coverage. One that is not only going to protect you as an individual, but also you as the business.
Some personal auto policies may have an exclusion that’s not going to cover the accident or part of the accident if something happens.
If you’re using your pickup truck or van or vehicle for business use with equipment, towing trailers, all that kind of stuff, you need to make sure that you have it on a commercial auto policy.
The other area with this, and we talked about the trailer and we talk about the equipment and equipment that you may have on there, is not ensuring the equipment the right way.
Your personal homeowner’s policy is not going to pay you for the lawnmower that you’re using to mow lawns.
You need to make sure you have an inland marine policy that is covering not only the value of the trailer, but also the equipment that you keep on or in the trailer.
One of the frequently filed insurance claims has to do with theft of trailers especially enclosed ones that are chuck full of equipment and tools.
If you don’t have the right insurance on that it could cost tens of thousands of dollars for you to replace that thing so that you can properly run your business. Saving a few hundred dollars a year is not worth the thought of losing tens of thousand to potentially replace your livelihood when you’re running your business.
Most landscaping contractors especially here in New York, also snowplow in the winter.
Did you know that snowplowing coverage is not automatically covered?
When you started your business you might have started with a few driveways, but then it turned into that little office building and a few other commercial parking lots.
Well, as your business keeps changing you need to make sure that you have the proper liability protection that is going to cover not only residential, but also commercial snow plowing or snow plowing in general.
A landscaping general liability policy might not automatically cover snow plowing. It’s a separate coverage or an endorsement, so you want to make sure that that is included the right way right from the beginning.
Employee Motor Vehicle Reports
The last mistake we want to talk about has to do with companies’ that do have employees and has company vehicles that they drive. All employers should be running a motor vehicle report for every employee prior to hiring and letting them drive a company vehicle.
One of the highest expenses that a business owner, especially a contractor like a landscaper has, could be their commercial auto policy, especially with multiple vehicles on the road.
One of the main rating factors when it comes to commercial auto has to do with driving records of the employees that are driving the vehicles.
Running MVR reports up front allows you to properly prepare and not get into a jam or a pickle with having drivers that are not eligible to drive your vehicle or you lose your good commercial auto rating because that insurance company will no longer write your insurance with that employee driving one of your vehicles.
We’ve seen it many times. We’ve seen problems arise. Make sure you’re looking at this stuff up front, and if they’re an employee that does not have the driving record that is able to drive your vehicle, it doesn’t mean you can’t hire them, it just means they cannot drive your vehicle. They’ll be excluded from the insurance policy and you’ll be able to still potentially keep things.
Do you have the right coverage?
Do you know your independent agent or have a trusted relationship where you can work together to plan your business growth properly?
If the answer is no, and you are looking for an agency that specializes in landscaping insurance, click the button below and reach out to the team at Crowley Insurance.