Carpentry is one of the oldest and most useful of all the trades. But, there is much more to it than hammering a nail in a piece of wood. Whether you are beginning your career, finishing an apprenticeship or are a seasoned professional, these five tips and tricks for carpentry contractors will improve the quality of your woodwork. Read more
Carpentry Contractors Insurance
Carpentry is an art and a calling as much as it is a science. Those who do this work tend to have a passion for what they do. Unfortunately, as part of the contracting industry, carpentry tends to be a dangerous profession, with thousands of accidents occurring every year. It’s vital to make sure that you keep the proper safety precautions and procedures in place so that you avoid injury on the site, and carry the right carpentry contractors insurance to reduce your liability when the unthinkable happens.
There are general safety precautions that should always be in play on the job site. Make sure your tools have proper upkeep and regular maintenance. Hand tools should be sharp, clean and only used for their intended purpose — a screwdriver is not a pry bar!
All equipment should also be kept in good working order with scheduled maintenance and be inspected thoroughly before each use. Proper personal protective equipment should be worn at all times and any loose items such as rings, watches and jewelry should be removed and kept clear of the equipment. Loose clothing and hair should be tied back.
Power tools, such as nail guns, are part and parcel of the carpentry industry. They need to be properly and safely used to avoid accidents. Make sure they are adjusted and tightened, and all blades and bits are keen and sharp. Remember, it’s easier to get cut on a dull blade than a sharp one!
Keep safety guards in place at all times, and be sure your work area is secured with a vise or clamps. Never yank on cords or hoses, and be sure that you and your workers are thoroughly educated and trained on the use of any and all power tools and heavy equipment. Education is the first line of defense against accidents and injury.
Carpentry Contractors Insurance
As a carpenter, it is vital to be sure that you carry the right kinds of insurance coverage to make sure that when accidents do happen, you are covered for the damages. The three basic elements of a strong carpentry insurance policy are as follows:
- General Liability: This kind of coverage protects you against lawsuits, damages and injuries that are inflicted by your business on others in the course of your work. It is intended to pay for damages and legal fees.
- Workers Compensation: Most states require this by law. If you have employees and they get hurt on the job, workers comp will pay for their injuries and recovery including a portion of lost wages.
- Auto and Truck Insurance: Your personal auto policy generally won’t cover your car, truck or van when you drive it in the course of your job. When you are going from site to site, or the office to the site, and you have an accident, you’ll need this to cover the damages
Why Every Flooring Contractor Should Have Insurance
Every contractor knows that insurance is required by law as part of the cost of doing business. Do you know, however, the kinds of insurance you should have as part of your business policy? It’s not always a good idea to carry the bare minimum and as a flooring contractor. Having the right insurance can not only mitigate liability issues, it can actually save your business from going under. Here’s a look at what you should carry, and why.
Required by law, general liability insurance is carried by all contractors in the flooring and carpeting industries. This kind of insurance serves to defend you against lawsuits brought by customers, vendors, clients and other third parties who claim harm, injury, property damage or reputation damage based on your actions. It covers lawyer and court fees as well as settlements and damages from claims.
License and Permit Bonds
These are required for state contractor’s licenses in most cases, or for building and construction permits in various municipal areas. They need to be renewed along with your license and the cost varies according to your local area. These bonds show that you are approved and licensed to operate in a given area.
Most contractors have a business office somewhere, and property insurance covers this office as well as your equipment, supplies, tools and general inventory. If your property is stolen, vandalized, damaged due to natural disasters like fire or other weather events, you can use this insurance to get reimbursed and recover your losses.
Business Owners Policies
A business owner’s policy (BOP) bundles several kinds of insurance into a single policy with a single discounted premium. Generally speaking, property and general liability are put together in this sort of policy and can make your policies much more affordable. The more insurance you bundle together, the more you save. Not every contractor can get this kind of policy, however. Check your local services to see if it’s possible for you.
If you have employees, you need workers comp insurance to cover costs related to injuries or illness at the job site. Accidents and illness do happen, from exposure to chemicals to cutting your hand on a box cutter. Having a workers comp policy will enable you to avoid costly lawsuits arising from these issues, and will help your workers get back on the job quickly.
Workers compensation insurance covers legal costs, lost wages, medical bills, damages from legal claims, support of dependents and even, if the unthinkable occurs, funerary costs. Most states require this kind of insurance.
Umbrella or excess liability coverage increases your protection from general liability, commercial auto insurance and workers comp in the case of damages or lawsuits that exceed your basic coverage. While not always required, it is the type of insurance that can save your flooring contractor business in the case of disasters or serious and high-cost lawsuits.
Carpentry contractors, who work on wooden structures or parts thereof, should always carry carpentry insurance. These carpenters can be primary on a job, or they can be subcontractors brought in from elsewhere. Carpenters come in all varieties and levels of skill. Some conduct engineering and design; others work from pre-submitted plans. There are rough carpenters, finish carpenters and framing carpenters. All should carry a solid insurance policy.
I used to take the bus from Buffalo to Boston quite a bit. It is a pretty long ride (11.5 to 12 hours) but there were always very interesting people with very interesting stories that made the ride a little bit more enjoyable. My most interesting conversation lasted almost the full 12 hours and involved a girl, in her mid-20’s, who was traveling to Maine to go back to carpentry school. She was a little quirky; had mismatched glasses, multi-colored hair and a demeanor that may have driven others away.