For many retail businesses the run-up to Christmas is one of the busiest periods of the year. While your focus will most definitely be on business sales, ensuring your shop is well stocked, looking its best and staying open as much as possible, take a moment to consider some of the other implications this season brings and prepare your business. Make sure you stay protected this winter.
Winter is here along with the inclement weather that accompanies it. Get set for high winds, heavy rain and even sleet, snow and ice – I’m feeling cold just writing this blog. This time of year can have an impact on your business, so take steps now to protect it in the hope you won’t have to claim on your shop insurance.
Here are seven key areas to focus on this winter to ensure you don’t fall foul of the winter weather:
1. Inspect your roof
When was the last time you looked at your roof? Look out for any cracked or broken tiles as well as any hairline cracks or loose sides on your felt flat roof. If you notice any damage, get it repaired or replaced as soon as you can. Acting now can avoid water ingress which will prevent more serious damage in the future.
2. Clean out gutters, gullies and drains
Make sure you keep your gutters and drains clear of fallen leaves and debris. If it’s particularly cold, snow can also cause a blockage. If your gutters are blocked water can build up and run down the side of your building. Left untreated this could result in serious damage later on.
Speak to the firm that clean your windows, sometimes they can offer additional gutter cleaning services for a small additional charge, that could save you thousands in the long run.
3. Clear away pathways
It’s really important your shop front is inviting, so if we have heavy snow or ice you’ll be keen to clear a way for your customers. However, heed caution as the last thing you want to do is have to claim on your public liability insurance because a customer has fallen over outside the front of your store.
Keep the pathways outside your shops clear of fallen leaves, snow and ice wherever possible and in cold weather make sure you grit paths to prevent customers from slipping over.
However, don’t use boiled water to melt ice – this can actually freeze faster and make the area slippier. Also, avoid laying items down in an attempt to cover ice, such as flatten cardboard boxes.
If you’re unsure about the methods you’re employing for clearing away debris from outside your shop and want some advice to ensure you’re not likely to fall victim to a liability claim, why not speak to a local insurance broker like Coversure Insurance Services.
4. Keep the inside of your store clean and tidy
It is just as important to pay attention to the inside of your shop as it is the outside. Some of these may seem obvious, but worth noting all the same:
- Keep the inside of your entrance free of fallen leaves, snow and rain. Make sure any mats are flush with the door so not to cause anyone to trip and fall
- Clear up any merchandise that has fallen on the floor around the store – with higher footfall this time of year, customers are more likely to knock items on the floor. Clear them away to prevent damage or causing trip hazards
- Clear up any pools of water – as people come in from the cold (possibly trapesing in snow), it’s possible that pools of water may form. Don’t forget to display the relevant warning signs to warn customers
5. Protect pipes
One of the most destructive things that can occur at this time of year is to have a burst pipe or leaks – the devastation of having water gushing through your ceiling is unthinkable. The damage caused could cause untold damage to the building and your stock. You might be unable to trade for a long period of time. Not all insurance comes with business interruption, so make sure you speak to a local insurance broker like Coversure Insurance Services to ensure you have suitable insurance and all the right extras to protect you and your business in this event.
However, like most things, prevention is key. Make sure you know where the stopcock is so you can isolate your water supply in the event of an emergency and check the lagging on your pipes to make sure frost doesn’t form. This is important as when loft spaces are insulated this can actually make lofts colder places and pipes freezing can be a more regular occurrence in cold weather.
6. Protect your stock
Finally, the bane of every shopkeeper’s life, theft. Unfortunately, Christmas is not the season of goodwill for all and this time of year can be financially hard for some making them more likely to turn to crime. Protect your stock and your businesss with the following tips:
- Do thorough and regular stock takes to easily identify when stock has gone missing
- Identify common shoplifting methods and traits
- Optimise your store’s design and layout for theft prevention, there are companies that can help you design and optimise your store layout
- Use signage and visual cues to ward off potential shoplifters – this can be incredibly effective and cost-effective
- Install appropriate alarm systems – some can be connected up directly to the police
- Install rolling shutters to protect windows from vandalism
- Employ whistleblowing procedures to prevent theft from staff
Some discounts can be obtained on insurance for having good security measures so it is well worth investing in a suitable system.
7. Make sure you have adequate insurance
After all the preventive measures you put in place, sometimes things do go wrong and your final recourse is to claim on your insurance. Therefore it is imperative you have a good quality insurance cover in place that doesn’t put your business at risk. Don’t shop online and buy the cheapest deal you can find. Speak to a qualified and experienced insurance broker like Coversure Insurance Services to find the right retail insurance policy that meets the needs of you and your business.