If you run a plumbing business, you can probably readily vouch for how much the modern plumbing sector differs from the stereotypical image of an overalls-clad man with his head beneath a kitchen sink. These days, plumbing comes with a vast range of responsibilities – but also risks.
While you might often find yourself called out to swiftly deal with urgent situations such as leaking pipes, plumbing services can also stretch to elaborate installations, like those of bathrooms and energy-efficient alternative fuel sources. It’s clear, then, that plumbers can have specialist needs.
Those needs can extend to their insurance. There are many hurdles that you need to jump over in order to excel as a plumber, which probably helps to explain why the work can occasionally go wrong. Ideally, you should go to great lengths to avoid adding to the catalogue of horror stories about plumbers.
You might have long thought that insurance must come into play only after disaster has struck; however, in a way, it can also help you to avoid struggles arising in the first place. Confused? After reading this in-depth guide to the importance of dedicated plumbers’ insurance, you won’t be.
The plumbing sector’s reputation has undoubtedly been stained
Have you often tasked plumbers with arriving at your home or corporate premises to carry out plumbing services? If so, you might have come across plumbers who not only arrive late but also do the job in a disorganised and half-baked fashion, leaving you ruing the moment you chose that person.
Sadly, stereotypes like this are rife and have risked even competent plumbers struggling to shake off the stench of the industry’s blighted reputation. However, none of this is to say that you can’t develop a solid reputation for your own plumbing business, as we will elaborate…
You can also trust that, as awareness spreads of the Wild West that the plumbing world can sadly occasionally be, prospective customers, will take matters into their own hands and become their own sheriffs. For them, a major motivating factor is that over four million of us have been left with our residences damaged or someone hurt as a result of self-employed people’s work, as reported by the Mirror.
“Do you have insurance?”
Don’t be surprised if, as time goes by, more and more of your customers start asking this question before allowing you to get down to work. It would certainly be a worthwhile question for them to ask – and your answer could feed into the customer’s perception of your reliability.
After all, of professional full-time tradespeople who work in the home, almost a fifth continue to work without insurance. Therefore, if you can confirm in response to a customer’s request that you indeed have insurance, this could reflect very positively on you in their eyes.
However, given a recent statistic showing that only one in 25 people inquire whether a tradesperson entering their home for work has insurance, you might not want to wait until you are asked yourself. Instead, you could advertise your insurance on your company’s website.
What types of insurance do you actually need?
Various strands of insurance are available to businesses, but which of those covers your own plumbing firm’s requirements might have long escaped your knowledge. Indeed, “requirements” is, in a sense, a relative word – although one form of insurance could prove legally mandatory…
That cover is employer’s liability insurance, which you will probably need if you employ any staff. You might have opted to recruit extra personnel rather than remain a one-man band, as a way of furthering your firm’s expertise and so enhancing its image.
Startups.co.uk cites employer’s liability as cover that staff-employing plumbing businesses will need, but there remain a few noteworthy exceptions to the legal necessity of it. For example, you wouldn’t need it for a limited company with just one employee owning at least 50% of its issued share capital.
You also wouldn’t strictly need employer’s liability for a non-limited company where you are the sole employee or only close family members are employed. However, it would remain advisable to implement the cover in these circumstances, as it could still help you with unexpected problems.
The same can be said of public and products liability insurance, which are two other covers that could financially shield you from claims arising due to damage or injury caused during a job. Fortunately, products liability cover and public liability insurance are both provided automatically in plumbers insurance policies from Tradesman Saver, while you can add employer’s liability as an optional extra.
How insurance can cushion a blow to your reputation
Don’t cry over spilt milk, so the saying goes. Indeed, you shouldn’t cry over spilt water either – and to a plumber, the emergence of a large, unsightly puddle of H2O can pose a much more obvious risk than deposited milk. Anyway, let’s get to the point – what should you do instead?
The simple answer: you should dip into your insurance, provided you have it. Let’s assume that in conducting plumbing work, you have inadvertently damaged a client’s property or caused illness or injury to that person. They could obviously be unhappy and so launch a claim for compensation.
Without liability cover in place, you might need to pay that compensation out of your own pocket. This clearly wouldn’t be convenient if your business was rather cash-strapped or had previously set aside the money for the likes of marketing or improving customer service.
Therefore, if liability cover foots the bill instead, this can enable you to continue spending money on matters that improve your business. Whether those matters involve reaching out to new customers or refining what you provide to existing ones, you could go about this work relatively unhindered.
In the above situation, you wouldn’t have the expense of a hefty compensation payout dragging on your firm’s efficiency. In other words, with dedicated plumbers insurance, you can help yourself to ensure missteps prove to by merely speed bumps rather than disasters.