From Issue 16 of eClean Magazine (July 30, 2013)
One of the first things new pressure washing contractors hear is that they need to get insurance. Sounds simple enough, right?
But what kinds of insurance? What coverages do they need? Will traditional insurance protect their specific liabilities? Does their agent understand their unique business?
In truth, most insurance companies actually don’t provide the types of insurance that a power washing contractor needs. And, unfortunately, most contractors don’t know what types of insurance they need either. It’s only after a claim is filed that they realize they’ve been wasting their money on inadequate coverage.
“As a power washing contractor, you need insurance that can cover anything that can hamper your business and endanger your revenue stream. Anything less than that is inadequate,” said Tom Svrcek of the Joseph D. Walters Insurance Agency, which has been serving the power washing community for over 20 years.
So what coverage does a pressure washing contractor need?
Many different kinds of contractors fall under the broad definition of “Artisan Contractors” – plumbers, cabinet makers, electricians and even power wash contractors. They need property coverage for their building and business contents too, as well as general liability, Workers Compensation, Business Auto and a Commercial Umbrella policy. However, very few agents know how to order proper coverage for their Artisan contractor clients, especially the Power/Pressure washer contractors.
One of the most important coverages for power washing contractors is Care, Custody and Control, but it is sometimes hard to obtain.
“Accidents do happen. This ‘good will” coverage protects you for customer’s property that you are working on,” Svrcek explained. “Sometimes referred to as the ‘faulty workmanship coverage,’ we protect you for mistakes you make.”
Most general liability policies have an exclusion that takes the “accidents happen” or “faulty workmanship” out of their policy. So if you are cleaning a deck and damage the deck, the deck is not covered by the policy. Overspray from the deck that lands on the car and damages would be covered, but not the deck itself.
“If you’re not dealing with a specialist in the Power wash business, you’re probably not going to get the coverage you need at a price that’s affordable,” Svrcek added. “With our new power wash liability program, this coverage is automatically included for free.”
Here are a few additional enhancements provided by the Joseph Walters’ new power wash liability program:
• Blanket additional insured endorsement — FREE. Property owners require you to name them as additional insured. Most carriers charge up to $100 per job. This important coverage will save time and money.
• Blanket Waiver of Subrogation — FREE. This coverage is for jobs where the property owner requires you to waive the right of recovery for losses you may have with the owner. • Identity Theft — $25,000 FREE.
• General Liability Limits up to $5,000,000 if necessary and from a AAA+ national carrier.
• Broadened Equipment Coverage
• Rented Equipment — FREE
• Guaranteed Pricing with No Audits. The problem with an auditable policy is that if your business does well, you give your insurance company the right to increase your premium and more.
• Employee Practices Liability: Harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, etc.
“We also know that you sometimes need proof of insurance quickly, which is why we get it to you the same day you ask for it,” Svrcek added.
Where to Begin
Whether you are just getting into the business or whether you’ve been power washing for years, it’s a smart idea to determine if you have the insurance protection your business needs. To get started, Svrcek suggests the following steps:
Have a business insurance specialist conduct a risk analysis of your company and its operations. No two companies are the same, even two that are in the same business. No contractor does exactly what you do or how you do it. You need an expert to assess your company and the specific risk it faces—and put together a comprehensive insurance plan to protect you.
Use an Independent Insurance Agent. As a business owner, you want options. As such, don’t call on an agent who is an employee of an insurance company. You want someone who will work for you. Someone who has access to a variety of insurance carriers . You want an agent that specializes in what you do. Don’t Trust Your Business to an Insurance Agent who does not know the Power Wash Business. You don’t want to use an agent that does not have a comprehensive understanding of the special problems contractors like you face every day. You want and need a specialist.
“We have one niche market that we serve – the power washer – and we serve thousands of contractors across the country,” Svrcek added. “We know how to protect their businesses. And we know which insurers provide the best rates and have the best claim service.”