Independent retailers have a responsibility to ensure that their premises, stock, staff, customers and those in their immediate local community are kept safe and secure at all times. Just one incident can cause irreparable financial damage, and with increasing competition, even minor reputational damage can leave a small business fighting to survive. Preparing in advance and minimising your risk rather than dealing with problems after the fact will help protect your business and those around you. So what steps can you take?
Your staff and customers
As a business owner you are liable for staff or customers who injure themselves on your premises. Make sure your access paths are kept safe and clear in the event of ice and snow. Keep the inside of your shop free from trip hazards and train your staff to clean up any spillages immediately. Don’t forget to display warning signs where relevant.
Simple maintenance inside and out can save you time and money and will also minimise your exposure to public or employee liability claims. Keep drains and gutters clear, insulate your pipes and maintain your roof to prevent water damage in colder weather.
Mitigate against fire damage by using dry risers, sprinklers and smoke detectors as appropriate. Carry out regular electrical inspections and avoid the temptation to use portable heaters close to flammable stock and materials when temperatures drop.
Installing shutters can prevent damage to your shopfront and may help to reduce your business cover costs too.
Make sure display shelving is securely fixed and try to avoid overstocking with heavy bottles and cans. This can cause collapse, resulting in damage and loss to stock as well as carrying a risk to staff and customers. Take adequate precautions when transporting stock to and from the premises, and where possible try to lock away any high-value stock such as tobacco out of hours to mitigate against theft. Always empty the till and leave it open to show that there is nothing inside to steal.
Have you got it covered?
If you employ any staff, even on a part-time or casual basis, you are required by law to take out Employer’s Liability cover. If you own your own business premises, you will also need Building cover and should ensure your stock and contents are adequately covered too.
Public liability cover will protect you in the event that a member of the public suffers an accident – or claims to have done so – on your premises. Additional covers such as accidental damage or fixed glass can be a godsend in the event of an incident. Many cover providers charge an additional premium for these, however some specialist providers, such as The Retail Mutual, include it with their business cover as standard.
It is always important to check your business and liability cover wordings to satisfy yourself that they are adequate for your needs, and check that your cover limits are sufficient. If you are in any doubt, speak to your cover provider before the expected occurs.
The Retail Mutual is dedicated to the independent retail community and has been protecting Scottish convenience store owners for almost 20 years.
For an immediate quote call 0333 2121007 or visit TheRetailMutual.Com for more information about our business, home and residential landlord cover for independent retailers.