The reality of insurance and the start up lawn care business.

We all know the importance of having insurance, whether it be for your auto, theft, fire, medical, or liability. The reality of insurance though is it costs money to purchase and many start up businesses simply don’t have enough cash to go to all the things they would like to get. All too often insurance is put on the back burner. Sometimes those lawn care business owners get through that start up phase unscathed while other times they don’t and without insurance, get wiped out. In this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we get some insight as to what a group of entrepreneurs do for insurance.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I’m just getting started. How did you guys all start? With or without insurance for yourself? What about medical coverage and what if you have children? Did you get you children eventually covered? How long did it take you to get to that point. I’m pretty much gonna start with  basic lawn care equipment in April and wanted to get advice on direction and start off with a good plan or idea. At first I was thinking of just going door to door hustling people for quick jobs and saving money money money!”

A second business owner said “when I first started last year I just got the basic insurance for my company, myself, and employees. So basically I got general liability with 1 to 2 million in coverage, workman’s comp for me and my one guy who works for me, then lastly I got commercial auto for my truck and that’s it. Start small then get more coverage as you need it, that is my philosophy at least.”

A third shared “some clients ask me if I have insurance, I say YES, because I do have medical insurance, if their not going to ask what type, I’m not going to give details. Isn’t insurance just for their protection? I have been in business for 5 years and never had business liability insurance. I don’t know why I need it so don’t take my opinion!

I do have commercial auto and do have theft insurance on my mower. I’m paying $350 per mower for insurance a year. A 1 million liability policy around here costs around $1,200 a yr.”

A fourth said “liability insurance is not just for your client, it’s for you to. God forbid anything should happen while you are out working and you don’t have any coverage, who ever gets hurt can go after not only the business but things in your personal life, like the vehicle you drive to jobs and if that is in your personal name and not the business then the person going after you can start obtaining anything in that name. So it is smart to have insurance even though you don’t use it very much. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you are just starting fresh this year then you start with the lowest coverage that protects everything you use. My best advice to you and all new lawn care operators would be to start with baby steps and grow every year without risking the profits of the company to the point of bankruptcy.”

A fifth shared “when I got started I did not have insurance or commercial tags. I was lucky in the beginning but now I have $5 million in insurance and $500 thousand in workers comp per occurrence. I have used the hell out of it. I had twelve grand in claims last year not to count the four blowers I had stolen and workers getting hurt, so I would get it.”

A sixth added “Buy the insurance! If you don’t want to spend a lot, call around. I found a commercial liability policy of $1 mil. that was $167 a year. That’s a freaking YEAR. I ultimately decided to go with a more costly plan, but the point is, it’s out there if you look.

Go ahead and cause some high ticket damage to a client’s property or smack someone in the eye with a piece of debris, then come back and say that it’s not worth having. I don’t have health care coverage yet. When I actually start making some money, I’ll get it - until then, I’m going to have to be extra careful. Not sure about everywhere, but worker’s comp insurance is only mandatory if you have an employee.”

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