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Tips to Preparing Cleaning Business from Disaster

1. Create a list of phone numbers of your key employees and customers and keep it with you. Also provide a copy of that list to key staff members.

2. Back up your computer data often and keep an updated record of that information off-site. If you keep paper records, be sure to make copies of important documents and store those in another building.

3. Make a comprehensive list of your equipment, including the price, date purchased, model number, and serial number. Keep this updated as you buy new equipment and keep a copy of this off-site. It’s also a good idea to photograph or videotape your office, equipment, and supplies so you have a visual record for insurance and replacement purposes.

4. Consult with your insurance agent and make sure you have enough coverage. Remember, most policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage. Your insurance needs to cover more than just your building. Insurance has to also cover the replacement cost of your supplies and equipment. Make sure your equipment (both cleaning and office equipment) is covered. Most insurance companies offer Inland Marine insurance. This will cover any equipment you don’t store on your property.

Keep in mind you will also be replacing more than just cleaning equipment, but also office equipment and supplies. It may be necessary to rent items temporarily until you have the insurance check. So it’s also important to have enough money on hand to rent the necessary equipment.

Some of the things you might be renting include:

* office space

* office furniture

* computers and printers

* phones and accessories

* cleaning equipment (buffers, vacuums, mop buckets, etc.)

Your policy should include some type of business interruption insurance – think of the possible situations and then decide if you need one or more months of coverage.

5. Prepare an action plan so if a disaster does happen you don’t panic. Who will call your cleaning customers to let them know you are running behind schedule? If a natural disaster hits a large area your customers will also be scrambling to get on their feet. However, if your business experiences a fire or other incident that only affects you, it is important to keep the lines of communication open with your customers. If you can’t get up and running in a hurry, they may have to find another cleaning company to take care of their buildings.

6. Make note of where you can quickly get replacement supplies and equipment. Is there a janitorial supplies distributor in your community that will have what you need to get up and running? Also, make note of office supply stores in your area so you can replace your office equipment.

7. Another necessity is having an emergency fund so you can quickly replace equipment before you get your insurance check. Think of saving 3-6 months of business income.

You’ve no doubt spent years building up a successful cleaning business. Don’t let it be destroyed in just a few minutes by an unforeseen disaster. Taking the time to prepare now before something happens can assure that your cleaning business can keep going after a tragedy.