August focus: Domestic Cleaning Service
Protection for Your Client and Yourself
When it comes to having the right insurance for your business, it would be best to hire the services of a professional Insurance Broker to help you in this area. You must make sure you have the right insurance to protect you from lawsuits, damage to the client’s property and accidents that may occur at the job or on your way to the job. If you have Public Liability Insurance and can quote your policy number to clients, and your business will appear to be more professional than the other businesses that do all their work for cash only. Many clients will choose to hire you based on this fact alone.
For my Australian readers, if you are operating your business as a Pty Ltd business and are employing others, you must have by law your own Workers Compensation Insurance. If you are working directors of that Pty Ltd company then you are not required to have Workers Compensation Insurance. If you are not a Pty Ltd operation and are just trading under a business name then you are also not required to have Workers Compensation Insurance. However, if you do begin to have others working for you then you will need to take out this Insurance to cover them.
If you happen to fall into one of the above categories where you are not able to take out Workers Compensation for yourself, then to protect yourself from accident or injury it is advised that you take out Income Protection or Sickness and Accident Insurance. You will not be able to work if you have an accident while either driving to or at the client’s home, and the client could refuse to pay your costs, so take out your own insurance to cover you.
If you are a sole trader simply working under a registered business name, when you answer incoming calls and take bookings if your caller asks you about Insurance it is important that you share the following information in approximately the same way that you see it written here:
“As you will be paying me direct, you are technically my employer. Therefore, you need to cover yourself with Domestic Workers Compensation Insurance. This will cover you for people like myself who work as cleaners, as well as Electricians, Plumbers, and any sort of Repairman or Handyman who works at your premises. It may also cover you for friends and relatives or anyone hurting themselves whilst on your premises.
“I have my own Public Liability Insurance, which covers you against breakages and damage, and also your own medical bills should you, for example, slip on a wet floor and hurt yourself. My Public Liability Insurance is different to the one you need to have in case I injure myself while on your premises.
“You may purchase Domestic Employees Workers Compensation Insurance policy through GIO as either an extension of the home and contents policy that you already may have with them, or as a stand-alone policy. They will give you a cover note if you need a policy straight away. The fee for this policy is approximately $100 per year, and is a small investment in protecting yourself in the case that something should happen.”
It is most important that you do not forget to share this information, as many people will actually be glad to know this in order to protect their assets.
You should, however, purchase your own Public Liability Insurance and be able to show your clients the documentation. Your insurance is best used on major claims but is not really beneficial on small claims. Therefore, should your breakage or damage amount to only a small cost you are best to pay for this without making a claim.
Be aware that there is an excess to be paid on the policy if you need to make a claim, just as there is on your car insurance. For example, the insurance company agrees to pay any costs after the first say, $250 (which will be of benefit to you if your claim is for more than that), but you must pay the first $250 from your own earnings. If you are careful though, this will never be necessary.
In the event that you do need to claim, this is how best to handle the situation:
- Firstly, notify your client of the incident.
- Then obtain two or three quotes and submit them to the Insurance Company with full details of how the accident happened.
- You will need to do this as soon as possible so that your claim can be processed quickly and your client will remain happy with your service. This ensures that you do not lose your client as well. It also shows your client that you are taking responsibility for what happened and making moves to correct the situation.
When you have paid for Public Liability you are protected for any damage that you cause to the furniture, fixtures or fittings in your client’s home. Also, for causing an accident to the client – for example, if your client arrives home early and slips on the wet floor that you have just mopped, breaking a leg. But to remind you again, you are not covered for your own health and safety ie: Workers Compensation. If you wish to be covered you will need to notify your client that they must take out Domestic Workers Compensation. The client pays you, which technically makes them your employer.
You can read in next article about: Collecting your Payment Assertively – Part I