Winter can be tough on your business premises. Improving weather also sees an increase in crimes of opportunity. It’s important to inspect clean and carry out repairs before they become major problems. While this can be a challenge if you lease your property you can at least document and inform your landlord of any issues. This will help you keep your business insurance premiums low prevent or reduce the chance of damage or crime and help protect you from liability claims – all which save your business money.
1. Inspect your premises.
You’ll want to visually inspect your business property (including any outbuildings) for any damage including cracks and holes. It’s better to catch issues when they’re small. You should check these areas:
- Driveways parking lot pavement
- Windows and doorways (the caulking in particular)
- Outlets and cords
You may not have access to all of these areas or your landlord (if you have one) may do these inspections. However, it’s always a good idea to be aware of any issues that may affect your business.
You should be checking the foundation driveways parking lot and any pavement for holes and cracks. These allow water in which further worsens the damage. These can generally be easily and quickly repaired with sealant.
The siding and roof should be in visibly good condition. Keep an eye out for any pests that may be trying to build a home. There should be no loose shingles on the roof – get these repaired as soon as possible as your roof is a primary line of defence for your business’ products.
Windows and doorways are entry points for water and pests. Make sure the caulking is free of cracks and holes; they may require re-caulking if there is damage. Properly sealed these can also prevent drafts and keep your energy bills lower.
Interior and exterior plumbing should be examined. You want to ensure all external drains are free of debris and draining at least 2 metres from the building. Inside all of your drains should also be functioning properly. If they are slow to drain you have an issue in your pipes that requires cleaning removal or a plumber.
Check for leaks visually or if you suspect a leak, leave a receptacle and check to see if any water has accumulated in 24 hours. It’s important to fix leaks as they can escalate and cause significant damage and be costly to repair.
You should also examine any backflow valves and sump pumps. These should be cleaned and tested to ensure they’re working properly. The water shut off valve should also be tested to make sure it hasn’t seized.
All internal and external outlets and cords should be checked for any signs of malfunction or wear. Outlets and cords should be cool to the touch. Outdoor cords should be rated for outdoor use and have no damage.
2. Spring Clean
If you have a yard or any outdoor spaces spring is a good time to give it a good clean. Powerwashing the exterior of your building and any outdoor spaces will help make your business look good as well as discourage pests and mould from taking up residence. Some buildings will provide this service for you so be sure to talk to your landlord first.
If you keep any materials outside make sure they’re clean and presentable. It’s time to unwrap (or nicely re-tarp) anything that was covered and make sure everything looks good.
3. Check emergency equipment.
You should test your fire and carbon monoxide alarms as well as check your fire extinguishers and any other emergency equipment. It’s important to do this regularly so you can count on it to work in the event you need it.
You can also take this opportunity to review your business’ emergency plan. Not sure what you need? We broke down emergency planning for small businesses here.
4. Company Vehicle Maintenance
If your business owns company vehicles spring is the perfect time to get them checked and carry out any needed maintenance. Switch to summer tires and ensure your business is kept on the road for a busy summer.
5. Reduce Crime
Crime rates increase during spring and summer. Check and test your security measures or consider installing additional ones if crime is a concern such as:
- Fencing and gated access
- Improved locks
- Alarm systems
- Motion-sensitive lighting
- Security guards
Insurance companies often offer discounts for some of the above measures as well.
Talk to your broker to review your coverage and ensure it is meeting the needs and risks of your business. Insurers are evolving their products and adding new ones all the time so it is important to make sure you have the best coverage for the best price.