Inside the Mind of a Small Business Owner
thoughts & comments are encouraged
This one is FOR THE CONSUMER. When is the last time you hired a contractor to come to your home & asked them for proof of insurance? Always, always, always ask for proof of insurance. If something happens at your home & you are dealing w/ an irresponsible business owner, who do you think the liability will fall on? Do not feel bad about asking either. You want to hire the best businesses & I would take a guess and say 90% or more of the top companies carry a quality insurance. Ever wonder why some companies are so cheap? They are most likely cutting corners somewhere.
Let me be the first to say the insurance industry could use a makeover (IMHO). I was thrown into the “general population” of insurance pools because there was no specific insurance to cover some of my services (making it more expensive). My last article was about what its really like to be a business owner & insurance is one of those things that make it very difficult. Between liability & worker’s compensation + automobile it adds up quickly, BUT IT IS NECESSARY to verify as a homeowner.
In my experience of 13 years in business, I was always amazed about how little people asked for insurance. Maybe it was their trust in me, but it was astonishing how small the # actually was. If I had to guess, less than 100 people asked me over a 13 year period. I was happy to show any client my insurance certificate too, almost a feeling of pride. I was completely covered & every year I would meet with my insurance company to make sure we were keeping up with changes, but not all companies are like that. Also, I would like to add, at the beginning I did not know all of this, so sometimes a person just doesn’t know. You could actually be helping the business owner learn by asking. After all we “should” learn from experience, right?
So as I was saying above & previously, It’s tough being in business, but even more difficult to compete with businesses who don’t carry all the necessary coverage. In general, you get what you pay for. If you receive multiple quotes from different companies, I wouldn’t automatically take the lowest quote. Conduct your own, simple due diligence & make sure they are “G2G”. Many times people asked if I could work w/ my price, but was very difficult to do so once I had all this coverage. I would always do my best based on circumstance, but understand that a business has a budget same as you do.
Now I am not trying to put anyone out of business here, but anyone who doesn’t carry the proper coverage (whether intentional or not), is putting a lot of people at risk. In today’s world you can’t be too careful. Is saving a small percentage really worth risking a major lawsuit because the business didn’t cover the workers? PEOPLE: mistakes happen! They are often avoidable, but w/ so many variables involved, they do happen. Just make sure you are on the right side of the fence if it does.
The following is kind of an abstract metaphor but asking for proof of insurance is in a way business conservation. I tend to think from an outside the box perspective, so please bare w/ me. A hunter considers him/herself a conservationist because they help control the animal population (not an argument about hunting here). So in turn if you ask for proof of insurance, you can control the amount of unqualified businesses that are out there. You are protecting yourself, but at the same time paying it forward to everyone else by forcing businesses to operate properly or not operate at all. The result should be better businesses, less “undercutting” & more quality choices for the consumer (IMO).
To wrap it all up, just use common sense & do a little due diligence. You can learn a lot about someone by asking a few simple questions. Not everyone will always get along, but would you really want someone working in/on your home if they get offended because you asked about insurance? The good businesses will always be happy you asked them & it should weed out the companies that do not want to take the necessary steps in the first place. Remember, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!
Until next time …
Thanks for Reading - PRW
Next week I will be opening up a Q & A blog session. Start thinking of any questions you may have about anything small business related. I will try and answer every question to the best of my ability, based on my experience(s) over the years!