05 Oct How Small Businesses can Prepare for the Winter
Even though the fall has only just begun, we want to help prepare our commercial clients for the upcoming winter well in advance, because it’s looking like a frigid one. After taking a look at the Farmer’s Almanac 2016-17, we can decipher that winter will be cold starting in November and the freezing temperatures won’t end until late February. When it comes to snow, we are expecting above-normal levels of precipitation in the northeast, including here in Connecticut. It’s important that we keep our small and local businesses prepared well in advance of the upcoming winter months, this way we don’t have to face any liabilities, claims, or damage that could have been avoided further down the line.
The last time we had a rough winter back in 2015, there were 160 roof collapses in Boston alone, and that’s not far from where we are here in Connecticut. That should be a wake up call for us if we are expecting another rough winter. Before the snow hits us, it’s important to have some regular checkups done on your business to make sure everything is sturdy and fully functional. Not to mention, many people also experienced frozen pipes here in Connecticut due to extreme temperatures. If you are worried about these sorts of issues, we’d suggest calling a professional to help you out. Also, when a storm does hit, be sure to clean and remove (or hire someone to do so for you) any snow that lands on your roof before it is there long enough to cause some damage. Not to mention, if you’re concerned about your pipes in sub-zero temperatures, you can always leave a faucet at a slight drip within your business to avoid the pipes freezing over.
If you are expecting inclement weather in the near future, the first thing that you need to be aware of is that there will be days when your business simply cannot open shop. It could be dangerous for your staff and/or customers to try to make it to your business, so in order to avoid risk, it’s best to close up if the weather gets too serious. If this is the case, you should have one of your staff members dedicated to calling into the news stations to broadcast that your business is closed, as well as encourage your staff to subscribe to email or text alerts on news stations that pertain specifically to your business. If doors do have to close for the day, at least this way everyone will be informed.
Speaking of closings, if you do have to close up shop, try to have an alternate way of servicing your customers available. This is unique to each industry, so we won’t go into too much detail here. Just be sure to try to communicate with your customers on their terms, or at least reasonably explain to them that your business has to be closed for the day and let them know when you’ll be back around to take care of their needs. This can be done with an email blast if you prepare a sendout in advanced, or could just be a simple phone call between your employees and customers. Whatever you decide to do, just don’t leave your customers hanging, because they will remember that.
If the weather isn’t terrible, but there’s still a little snow falling, you can certainly keep your business open for the day. Just be sure to have snow removal planned well in advance, whether it’s between your team or outsourced, this way you can avoid having any of your customers slip on your property (which could be a terrible claim for your business!). We’d also suggest keeping some salt for the walkways around your business close by so that if there is some snow or precipitation, you can reduce the risk of a slip.
While we hope that you embrace our tips to the best of your ability, it’s pretty safe to say that no business is free from worry unless they have the right Connecticut business insurance policy in place. According to the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 25 percent of all businesses affected by a major disaster never reopen, and that includes inclement weather disasters. Get the protection you need from an agency you can trust, and if you have any questions or concerns about your commercial policy, you can call us anytime at 860-684-5270. Good luck through the winter everyone!