As an independent tradesman, your business is your financial stability, which means if something happens to any part of your business, you put your livelihood on the line. When it comes to securing your business, you should be prepared for every eventuality from accidents to crime.
Firstly you must keep your health in good order. For the most part, this will involve taking the proper health and safety precautions to ensure that you, and any staff under your employ, are safe when at work.
For yourself, the easiest way to achieve this is to invest in a health insurance package that will cover you in the event of accident or injury on the site of a job. If you have people you employ, then consider a business-wide health insurance policy that will cover you and your employees.
You will also need to ensure that you have equipment that meets health and safety standards. For contractors, especially Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential, particularly for high-risk jobs. This equipment is designed to protect you against health and safety risks at work and can encompass anything from safety helmets and eye protection to high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and harnesses.
Due to the nature of the services provided by contractors, you will likely have to process the personal data of your clients. This means you will need to consider GDPR going forward. Although the majority of your work will take place offline, the contact and payment details you collect from your clients are likely to be stored online, which means GDP compliance is compulsory.
This means you must have the correct processes and procedures in place to ensure the confidentiality and safekeeping of all client data - make sure your clients are also aware of how you will store and process their data.
Your transport plays a big part in your business; it’s how not only you but your tools and materials get from A to B. So, you must look after it. Not only are breakdowns and crashes a factor for your business with van drivers being 142% more likely to crash when reversing than other drivers, but there is also the issue of theft to be wary of.
78% of van thefts happen at night which means that not only will you need to ensure that your van is insured on the roads in the daylight, but also that it is locked up safe and secure with working alarms at night. Consider investing in a car or van insurance policy to make sure that you are covered even if the worse does happen.
On a similar note, you won’t be able to carry out any contracted jobs if you lose your tools – or more likely, if they get stolen. Tool theft is something you’ll need to watch out for, though you can take actionable steps to reduce the risk of theft.
One of the best ways to ensure you always notice when something of yours has gone missing is to know exactly what - and how many of - each item you have. To do this, it would be wise to create an inventory and keeps this updated. That way you can easily see if something is missing and when you last had it.
Take things a step further and engrave your or your company’s name on your tools. Engraving is easily done with the help of a Dremel tool. This way there will be no doubt that a lost or stolen item is yours should it resurface, and appropriate action can be taken. For things that can’t be engraved with a name, try putting some form of identifiable mark on in its place.
Transport Vs. Store
Whenever possible, take your tools and equipment offsite overnight. Try to avoid storing them overnight in your work vans, too. Consider instead storing them in padlocked storage spaces inside a locked garage.
It would also be wise to ensure that whether it is in your van or in your garage or workspace that you install CCTV in the area so that if someone does break-in and theft occurs, you have incriminating evidence should they be caught.