Chances are your landscaping business has already dealt with disputes about property damage, accidents, injuries, weather delays, or one of the other top five risks that your industry faces.
These risks can have a huge financial impact on your landscaping business. An unpredictable accident or lawsuit could mean you're paying tens of thousands of dollars to recover.
Lawn Care Professionals Need to Know These 5 Risks
To help you prepare a risk management strategy, let's take a look at the top five risks lawn care professionals face:
- Employee injury. When you work with chainsaws, lawn mowers, and other tools that feature gas-powered spinning blades, it's easy to see how an accident could lead to an emergency room visit. Workers' Compensation Insurance may cover the cost of employee injuries by covering medical expenses and some lost wages. If you hire contractors and subcontractors, you'll need to be concerned about their injuries as well. Fortunately, you can add these workers under an additional insured endorsement that may cover them for injuries they sustain while working for you.
- Economic uncertainty. Homeowners decide to do their own lawn work when the budget gets tight. A drop-off in construction can mean you've lost one source of income. How do you prepare for economic uncertainty? Having a mix of commercial and residential clients can guard you against this risk. Commercial clients will need their landscaping done even in recessions, and unlike residential clients, they usually can't do it themselves.
- Driving accidents. You're on your way to a customer's property when your truck is rear-ended. You need your truck to get to and from work. Without it, you have practically no way to do your job. To cover your auto accident risk you may want two types of insurance coverage. Inland Marine Insurance may help insure your equipment while it's being transported and cover your trailer, tools, and equipment if they're damaged in an accident. Commercial Auto Insurance covers vehicle damage and may cover lawsuits over driving accidents. By investing in these two policies, you'll have coverage for your vehicle and the equipment inside it.
- Unpredictable weather. Weather can cause all kinds of headaches and delays. At the same time, you have to pay your employees, rent, and other costs. Dry weather, abnormal growing seasons, and long winters could affect the amount of work you have in a given year. While you can't plan for the weather, you can build delays into your prices and quotes, charging a little extra to give yourself some wiggle room.
- Client injury and property damage. Say you're trimming a client's trees when one of the limbs falls and crashes onto the neighbor's roof. Clients could slip and fall on wet walkways, trip over power cords, stone pavers, or supplies you're staging. These things happen. And so do injuries. General Liability Insurance offers landscapers some financial protection for these third-party lawsuits over accidents and injuries. GL may cover your legal fees and lawyers bills, shielding you from the cost of unpredictable lawsuits.
Because landscapers are exposed to these uncertainties it's crucial that your company's finances be in tip-top shape. Many landscapers invest in small business insurance because it offers cost certainty.
But landscaping risk management has to involve more than just insurance. To truly protect your company, you'll need to make sure you're business is healthy, growing, and sustainable. Read our eBook "Planting the Seeds of Success: Business Tips for Small Lawn Care and Landscaping Businesses," for strategies to keep your business growing and green.