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Tradesman's Liability Insurance: Investing In Your Career

Bookmark and Share Maybe it's never happened to you, maybe you're just too careful to ever let it happen, but it's something we all worry about, isn't it? You're carrying some drywall into your client's home to patch up their wall, and you knock over a two hundred dollar trophy case, or you track something all over their beautiful Persian rug, or you slip and the drywall goes crashing through their sliding glass door.

Even if you're not working in homes where people live, you worry about a stray 2x4 breaking a neighbor's window, or maybe someone pops a tire on a busted hurricane tie one of your guys left laying around in a driveway or something.

Being a self-employed tradesman means that if something goes wrong, you eat the costs. You don't have an employer whose insurance will cover anything that happens, you have clients, and if something goes wrong, they're probably going to be the ones asking for a payout.

Having a solid tradesman's liability policy in place can not only ensure that you are covered in case something goes wrong, it can also take the edge off, bringing you peace of mind so that you can be at ease while you work, knowing that everything is taken care of, and nothing short of extreme negligence is going to put you on the hook for repairs and replacements that you cannot afford.

The only question is when to buy your policy. The answer to that is simple: If you're waiting until you have a job to go to before you buy your insurance, then you're waiting too long.

When putting in a bid for a gig, the tradesman charging twice as much will always win the job over the tradesman who doesn't have a good tradesman's liability policy in place. If you don't currently have any work lined up, it may feel like you're spending money on a "maybe," but it's better to think of it as an investment into your next job. Even if you're not in the least concerned over any damages you might do while on the job site, your client might not have the same level of confidence in your abilities. You don't want to pay for damages out of pocket, and your clients don't want to risk choosing between suing a self-employed contractor or eating the costs themselves. You might never need to cash in on your liability policy, but you'll secure a lot more work if you have it.

Differneces Between Installation Floater and Builders Risk

Bookmark and Share Construction projects involve significant financial risk for the contractors and subcontractors who must pay workers and purchase materials. To help protect themselves against these financial losses, builders have a number of insurance options. Two of the most widely used coverages are Builders Risk and Installation Floaters. The choice you make depends on the nature of each job.

Builders Risk insurance pays for damage to materials or partially completed work due to accidents, fires, weather damage, material defects, and incorrect installation or workmanship. This coverage ensures that the time and money that the builder has invested in the project aren't lost when the costs of repairing, repurchasing or reconstructing add up and diminish profits.

Installation Floaters cover specific items that a contractor is planning to install. For example, a roofer might buy a policy to pay for the cost of roofing supplies, both during transit and while stored at the work site. An Installation Floater covers either all risks or specific sources of losses for moveable property (materials or equipment) specifically named in the policy.

Because of its more narrow coverage, an Installation Floater generally costs less than a Builders Risk policy. However, it leaves the builder more vulnerable to losses that aren't covered. This coverage would be appropriate for a contractor performing a specific installation task, or a subcontractor who takes on limited risk to perform a specific duty for a contractor as part of a larger project.

As Construction insurance professionals, we'd be happy to recommend the type of coverage best suited to protect you against losses on each job. Just give us a call at any time.

Transporting Your Crew

Bookmark and Share Sometimes it's better to get everyone to the job site in a van or bus rather than leave everyone to their own transport. Heck, for some laborers, the ride to work is the deal-breaking benefit that keeps them on your site instead of somebody else's. By sharing a ride to work, you can make sure everyone's there on time, at the same time, and you don't have to worry about limited parking spots. It's simply one less headache to deal with when you start your day.

There are essentially two reasonable arrangements you can make in order to get everyone on the job site via bus or van, both with their own upsides and downsides. It's basically the choice between buying a vehicle, or paying a third party to do the driving for you.
  • Buying a van or bus
Buying your own van or bus can be a major expense. Even if you buy used, you're looking at repair and registration costs, and you're going to need to look into private hire insurance in order to legally use the vehicle for certain business expenses. That being said, this may ultimately be the most cost-effective option if it's in your budget. If this is a major project that's going to take up to a year or longer, then having your own transport will almost certainly be cheaper than paying a third party to make the trip every single day, and it will definitely be cheaper than renting a vehicle for that long.
  • Hiring a driving service
Hiring a driving service can be much cheaper in the short term, but whereas owning a vehicle starts expensive and becomes cheaper every day, hiring a driving service starts cheap and then the costs add up. This is ideal if you are handling a major project that will be completed in a short length of time, or if you're not going to be taking a lot of large jobs in the future.

It essentially comes down to whether or not owning a vehicle is going to pay for itself in the long run. If transporting large crews to and from the job site is going to be an everyday task for you, then certainly, owning a van or bus is going to more than pay for itself within a year or two. If you tend to work with smaller crews on most jobs, then you need to make sure that your budget includes transportation costs.

811 - Call BEFORE You Dig

Bookmark and Share Across the nation, utility lines, tunnels, and structures run under our feet, Each year, excavators strike approximately 700,000 of these underground lines, often triggering potentially fatal accident (from steam, gas, propane, or electricity). A single strike might easily cost a contractor hundreds of thousands, or millions, if the accident leads to an interruption of service that shuts down a factory, hospital, telecommunication lines– even a missile silo.

In most cases, insurance will not cover these losses. To deal with this threat, the Common Ground Alliance coordinates 811 --Call before You Dig, a nationwide phone and online system that contractors can use to notify local utilities so they can "mark out" their facilities before excavation of anything from to a sewer to a subway. These markouts are required under state law.
When you use the call 811.com system, bear in mind that:
  • It doesn't matter where you are - downtown, in the middle of a suburban street, or building a private home.

  • Call even if you're confident that you know where something is buried (for example, if you installed the line); many contractors dig up lines that have just put in.

  • Instead of marking the area with wooden stakes - which are all too easy to drive through gas lines - use white paint or "feathers;" even the most shallow excavation can be hazardous.
Remember, failing to contact 811.com before every excavation violates the law - and leaves you wide open to huge liability losses. Don't take a chance your odds of losing in the Underground Damage Casino! To learn more, just get in touch with the Construction Insurance Specialists at our agency.