We learn a lot of great lessons about business and life on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Some of these lessons stand out more than others. This specific lesson I felt was real important for everyone to read in order to have a head’s up about theft of lawn care equipment. The more you know about how thefts occur, the better you can protect yourself from them.
One lawn care business owner wrote us and shared how his landscape trailer, with all his mowers and other equipment was stolen. He said “I was doing great and my week was full. I had just gotten 2 new commercial lawn care clients. I updated all my equipment and had a recently purchased a new enclosed trailer. Life was good until….
Driving back home from a mowing account, my truck broke down and I pulled off on the side of the freeway. I called AAA to get my truck towed. They came out at 4:30 pm to tow the truck and said they couldn’t tow the truck and the trailer. AAA only covers towing the truck. I put the coupler lock on the trailer and left it there. Got the truck towed to repair shop and went to U-haul to rent a truck to go get the trailer. When I got back out to where the trailer was at 5:30pm and it was gone. The entire trailer with all my equipment is now gone.
I called the police to see if they may have towed it and they said they didn’t. So I filed a stolen report with them. After that I called my insurance company. They said I can get some money to replace the trailer and equipment but it will take 4 weeks before everything goes through. 4 weeks!!! I can’t wait 4 weeks.
I spent most of the next day calling clients and letting them know what was happening. Now I will have to start my business all over. I don’t have the money to go out now and get everything I need to get up and running again.
Whenever I get back going again and I get a new trailer I am going to buy one of those boots to but around the wheel and look into putting a LoJack or something like that on mny trailer, this has totally wiped me out.
What lessons did I learn from all this?
I do have insurance however I don’t have the coverage I thought I was getting. Lesson #1 if you don’t understand all the legal wording in the insurance forms get someone who does.
So basically the insurance has a loss of use coverage and they pay for all equipment under $500.00 like yours. However it is more of a reimbursement than a coverage. Basically what I found out was that my choices are to replace all my equipment out of pocket and they will reimburse me after things go through there system or wait until it goes through the system and get money to replace equipment. The clause in the policy is what is holding me up now.
I now understand if anything is stolen I have to wait a certain amount of time to give law enforcement a chance to recover stolen items. This supposedly helps in fraudulent claims so people don’t double there equipment by reporting false thefts. So I do have insurance just not the right kind or the right company.
Lesson #2 I learned was, just because your car insurance company offers business insurance it may not be the best for you. Make sure you know what they are offering and what they cover. It may be a little more expensive to go with a different company but they may have better coverage. I went with my car insurance company because they were in the middle price range. They also gave me a discount because I have my home and cars through them. The bulk discount may not be your best bet.
Make sure you know what insurance you have and don’t just go with the cheapest. My insurance company wasn’t the cheapest but they were less expensive than others and I already had my cars insured with them. However, their business insurance is lacking. I still like the coverage and service I get with my autos but I will be looking elsewhere for the business insurance once I am up and running again.
Lesson #3 don’t leave your trailer on the highway, ever. The towing company said they could have towed my trailer for an additional $55.00 hook up fee and $5.00 a mile. In total, it would have come out to around $130.00 for them to tow it. I thought I would save money by just renting and U-haul to go back and get. The rental only cost me $45.00.
I talked to another guy here in town and he said that he once had to leave his trailer on the road. So he took whatever he could fit in the back of his truck out of the trailer. He then jacked up the trailer and took one of the tires with him also. Not a bad idea since then it can’t go anywhere.
The towing company said that anytime you are pulling a trailer and need a tow, make sure you let them know so they will send a flatbed out to get it. Then they can put the truck on the flatbed and tow the trailer behind.
Keep these lessons I learned in mind the next time you are out pulling a trailer and have a break down. They just might save your business.