This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but one of the most common types of claims made against plumbers are the consequences of defective workmanship. You can reduce your chances of being hit with this type of claim by making sure that you are 100% confident in the service you provide, and turning down jobs that may require additional skills.
You can also provide an additional service that entitles customers to free repairs if they experience a fault within a certain time frame after you complete the job. While this may be more expensive for you as a business owner, it could help avoid big claims on your policy.
While it might save you money in the short term, using lower quality materials or taking short-cuts to finish jobs quickly might lead to a greater risk of future claims if your repairs or installation fails, and impacts reputation and referrals. It’s best to finish the job to the highest standard you can, even if it takes longer - it will likely save you time and money as you’ll be less likely to return for additional repairs or have a claim made against you for inadequate service.
While your customer may insist that they can help you fix a leaky pipe or hold your tools for you while you are kneeling under the sink, you should refuse their help as any accidents that may befall them while they are assisting you could result in a claim. It is best for them to stay in a separate room or at least keep their distance from you while you are working and until the job is completed.
Plumbers’ tools are expensive, and while there is no foolproof way to deter or prevent burglaries, you can minimise the risk by making sure you keep your equipment safely locked away when it is not in use. Tools are often best kept inside your business premises rather than in your vehicle.
Do not take unnecessary equipment with you if you can avoid it, as your van can be a ripe target for thieves. If possible, do not leave your tools unsupervised - if you can spare the personnel, it can help to leave someone at the van while you are unloading your tools for a job. If your tools are stolen from an unlocked van, your claim could be denied.
Another common source of claims is damage caused to customers’ property during a job - examples of this include dropping your tools and breaking porcelain tiles or sinks, or leaks created during your work which cause stains on flooring. Incidents such as these can be avoided by:
No matter how careful you are, the chances of a claim being made against your plumbing business is never zero. Whether you work on your own or run a plumbing and heating company, protect yourself and your business with cover to help meet legal defence costs and compensation awards in the event of any accidental damage or injury arising from your plumbing work. At Towergate we offer plumbers' liability insurance policies to suit your needs. Read more about our policies online or call us on 03330 604 522 to speak to a specialist adviser.
This is a marketing article by Towergate Insurance.
Alison Wild BCom (Hons), MAAT, MATT, Taxation Technician is a highly respected industry professional who has been working with and advising SMEs in areas including tax, pensions, insurance and marketing for over 25 years. She is a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) and also has over 20 years' experience as a residential landlord.
Date: November 16, 2022