Years ago, a pool pro told me he did not need general liability insurance because he was nice to small animals. In the 16 years of my career, I am pretty sure being nice to small animals will not save you from a claim due to you overfilling a pool and flooding your customer’s basement.
Having liability insurance for your business is extremely important: not just being insured but being properly insured. As a pool professional, your policy should cover claims within the scope of your work. For example: If you are a service and repair professional and you drain pools to perform acid washes, make sure your policy covers pool pop-ups. Other things like chemical spills and pool overflows should also be included in your policy. What is a policy that doesn’t cover your scope of work? A waste of money.
Other things to look out for:
— Is the policy A-rated?
— Do you have your own policy limits, or do you share your limits with a group?
— Are you charged for specific endorsements like waiver, subrogation or primary wording?
— Are your employees covered?
— How is the customer service?
— Are your certificates issued in a timely manner?
All of this matters because, as a business owner, you have pride in your company. You either built up your own route one pool at a time, bought your pool company or maybe inherited your family business. Whatever the case may be, it is yours — and it is in your best interest to make sure you are properly covered.
Let’s just say you have excellent liability insurance. Great. You have a policy in place at a competitive price that covers you properly for your scope of work.
I’ve seen so many things happen in my career, from pool poles going through the kitchen window to dogs getting out of an unlatched gate and biting a neighbor on a walk. Or even the worst: drownings. Be cautious and put measures and procedures in place while at a customer’s property, as well as a checklist before you leave. This could save you from potential claims and lawsuits. Here are the five things to check before you leave your customer’s property:
1: Turn the water off if you fill a pool. Leave your keys on the spicket or set an alarm on your phone.
2: Close the gate behind you and make sure it’s latched. If you notice the gate is not latching securely, contact the customer immediately via phone and email.
3: Notify and block off the pool or spa for a recommended number of hours right after adding chemicals.
4: Double and triple check that all your chemicals, hoses, nets and brushes have been picked up before leaving.
5: Check the weather before draining a pool. It could be sunny one moment and a torrential downpour the next. A drained pool during this type of weather could potentially cause the water tables to rise, causing a pool pop up.
In addition to these, have a signed contract with your customer, take pictures and keep logs. If you don’t have a CSR program, a phone with a camera, and a good ole note pad and paper will do. If you have a strong policy in place, good protocols and procedures — and you are nice to small animals — you have the knowledge, power and protection to be a very successful business owner.