Squeaky Clean: Commercial Cleaning Companies

Person polishing the floor indoors for a commercial cleaning company.

What exactly is a Commercial Cleaning Company?

Commercial Cleaning Companies are similar businesses to Janitorial Service Companies with one significant difference. Commercial Cleaning Companies focus more on deep cleaning that may occur once or twice a year. These deep cleaning services may include carpet cleaning, floor waxing, window cleaning, and pressure washing. Because of the deep cleaning nature of these companies, the risks the business faces are distinctly different than other cleaning companies and so are the insurance policies they need to secure. Here are three types of commercial cleaning companies, three risks those companies face, and five types of insurance all commercial cleaning companies should consider purchasing.

Carpet Cleaning in the hall of a hotel, done by a commercial cleaning company.

Types of Commercial Cleaning Companies

Carpet Cleaning

Carpet Cleaning includes the removal of stains, dirt, and allergens from carpets and rugs. The removal is done through two primary methods: Hot Water Extraction and Dry Cleaning. Carpet is the main floor covering in most commercial settings. With the advent of cubicles and workstations, fabric can now cover many businesses all the way from floor to ceiling. If this is the case, carpet is a big investment that needs to be protected. This is why companies will pay to have specialists come in to clean only their carpets.

Window Cleaning

A commercial window cleaner uses a wider variety of tools to accomplish window cleaning in a very efficient and thorough manner. Because of the difficulty of this task, especially on high rise buildings, many property management companies are willing to pay to have an outside company clean the windows of their property periodically.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing or power washing is the use of high-pressure water spray to remove loose paint, mold, grime, dust, mud, chewing gum and dirt from surfaces. The surfaces that need to be cleaned are often buildings, vehicles and many concrete surfaces.  Property needs to be cleaned and stained periodically and the previous paint or stain needs to be removed. Pressure washing can make sure this gets done and the new coat of paint or stain is there to protect your businesses property for years to come.

Some Commercial Cleaning Companies specialize in cleaning the exterior of windows on high rise buildings.

Risks Commercial Cleaning Companies Face

Employee Theft

Unfortunately employee theft is a realistic problem in the commercial cleaning industry. Employees are often working at a third party site and frequently they are working with little or no supervision. Insurance should be purchased to deal with this situation. Also, your business should be prepared for the day when your employee is falsely accused of theft. It is common in business for things to go missing or to be misplaced. Your business is a prime target for blame when something goes missing because it is far easier to blame a third party company than to investigate an employee you have to look in the eye on a daily basis. In many cases it is better to apologize and move on then to argue trying to prove your innocence. No matter how your business decides to deal with each situation, it is important to plan ahead for the day your business experiences employee theft.

Working at heights

Working at height is one of the largest causes of fatalities and serious injuries. Common cases of injuries include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces. In addition, many injuries involve over-reaching, over-balancing or the failure of a fragile surface. If you have employees who work at heights, it is extremely important to supply them with the proper training and equipment to do their job safely.

Working with chemicals

Chemical hazards and toxic substances pose a wide range of health hazards. Just a few of those hazards include:  irritation, sensitization, carcinogenicity, flammability, corrosion, and the likelihood of it becoming explosive. There are a number of factors that should be considered before choosing a cleaning product. The beginning of these concerns should be the ingredients, how it will be stored, whether ventilation is adequate in the storage area, and if the chemical can come in contact with am employees skin. No matter what type of commercial cleaning business you operate and what type of chemicals you decide to use, the use of chemicals should be done carefully with the health and well-being of your employees as well as clients in mind.

Some Commercial Cleaning Companies specialize in demolition and removal of debris after a home has been destroyed by fire.

Insurance Commercial Cleaning Companies should Consider

General Liability Insurance

A general Liability Policy is designed to protect a business for third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.  In most states, general liability insurance is required by law for most commercial cleaning companies. For this reason, it is typically the first insurance policy a business purchases. One thing to keep in mind when securing coverage is that general liability is not all encompassing. Taking an adequate amount of time to talk with your insurance agent about all the activities of your business will help you determine what policies your business definitely needs and what policies you can do without.

Workers Compensation for Commercial Cleaning Companies

Workers Compensation Insurance is also required by law for most commercial cleaning companies in most states throughout the United States. This policy is frequently referred to as the ‘exclusive remedy’.  It is called the ‘exclusive remedy’ because the system provides employers with the comfort of knowing they will not be sued for injuries that occur on the job and employees benefit from medical bills and wage replacement when they are injured on the job.

Employee Dishonesty Insurance

Crime exposure comes mainly from theft by employees of clients’ property. Background checks, supervision, monitoring and regular crew changes are all used to minimize the exposure. Employee dishonesty may also be covered under a commercial crime policy.

Umbrella Insurance  for Commercial Cleaning Companies

Commercial Cleaning Companies may need an Umbrella policy if the busniess is not sure the limits of their underlying policies will fulfill the liability of claims.  If you fear a claim may exceed the limits on liability coverage an umbrella policy is purchased in order to help cover your businesses liabilities in excess of the limits on the underlying policies.

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

A Business Owners Policy (BOP) combines general liability insurance with additional lines of coverage built into the policy. A BOP is often better suited for small business owners because they include targeted coverage options designed for specific types of businesses. Insurance carriers have historical claims trends on file and they know what types of accidents happen most often in any given industry. With this knowledge in mind, they know what policies commercial cleaning companies need and what types of policies the business may be able to go without. No matter what is most important to your business when purchasing insurance, it is important to partner with an insurance agency that you trust and listen to their recommendations.

Some Commercial Cleaning Companies specialize in periodically power washing the exteriors of all types of businesses.

Common Classification Codes for Commercial Cleaning and Janitorial Service Companies. 

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 7349: Building Cleaning and Maintenance Services

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 561720: Janitorial Services
  • 561210: Facilities Support Services
  • 561790: Other Services to Building and Dwellings

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 96816: Janitorial Services

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 9014: Janitorial Services by Contractors—No Window Cleaning Above Ground Floor
  • 9170: Janitorial services by contractors- Includes window cleaning above ground level. This class is similar in most aspects to class code 9014, however, it specifically includes the inside and outside cleaning of windows above ground.
  • 9008: Janitorial services by contractor- California only. This is a state special class code and applies to to similar operations indicated above.
  • 0917: Residential cleaning services. This classification is applicable to businesses that provide residential cleaning services inside of a customer’s residence.

Squeaky Clean: Janitorial Services

A lady who is the janitor of the building working for an outside Janitorial Service Company.

Common Tips about Insurance and Risk Management for Janitorial Service Companies

The differences between Janitorial Service and Commercial Cleaning Companies may be slight, but they make the risks involved in operating these businesses quite different. Janitorial Service Companies primarily deal with the daily and weekly ongoing cleaning of a facility. Commercial Cleaning Companies are regularly scheduled, but may come to a facility once or twice a year to perform specific deep cleaning. Because of these differences, the type of equipment used by the employees is drastically different and the nature of the work is different as well. Janitorial Service Companies have needs that are specific to each individual business and each individual property being cleaned. Here are five types of insurance policies every janitorial service company should have, three risks most companies face, and three additional tips for Janitorial Service Business Owners.

Cleaning Station for a Janitorial Service Company

General Liability Insurance

General Liability will cover your businesses liability to third parties for damages involving bodily injury and property damage. A common example of a need for this policy is a customer slipping and falling in a retail store after an employee of a janitorial service company has mopped the floor.  The liability of this injury is with the janitorial service company and not with the retail store. This is why it is always best to clean the facilities when the business is open to the public. In most cases it is even better to clean the facility in the evening and not right before the business opens.

Workers Compensation for Janitorial Service Companies

Workers Compensation Insurance is required by law for most janitorial service companies in most states. The workers compensation system is governed by the state governments in the United States. For this reason, the laws may be drastically different from state to state. Some states have exclusions that allow some businesses not to carry this coverage depending upon several factors. It is best to check with the governing body within the state or states you operate in to make sure you are within compliance of the workers compensation system within your state or states.

Inland Marine Insurance

Janitorial Service Companies have lots of specialized equipment. This equipment is typically used and stored at a third party site. If you have a bare bones package of commercial insurance, these pieces of equipment are typically not covered under a basic general liability policy. When the equipment is being transported away from the businesses physical location and when the equipment is being used by the employees at a third party site, the business is liable for any damages to the equipment while being used off site. If a business has equipment that your business depends on and the business does not have enough cash on hand to replace that equipment quickly, the business needs to secure an inland marine insurance policy.

Employee Dishonesty Coverage for Janitorial Service Companies

The nature of the janitorial service industry requires employees to work at a third party location with little to no supervision. No matter how trustworthy a group of employees are, the temptation to steal from a business is too great for many people. This can include employees stealing products from a retail store you are cleaning in the evenings, but it can also include your employee stealing a purse of a customer at a business your business is cleaning. In relation to this risk, it is important to remember that things go missing and when things go missing it is common to blame the cleaning crew. In addition to securing an employee dishonesty insurance policy it is important to be prepared for a day when you or your employees are accused of theft when it did not occur. The perception of the customer is equal to or more important than the truth. In some cases, a situation where your employees are accused of theft can have an enormous impact on your business in the form of Better Business Bureau, Google, and Facebook Reviews. Depending upon the amount of theft that takes place their may be negative press about your business. Depending upon the type of policy you decide to purchase, an employee dishonesty policy can help with the cost to hire a public relations agency to repair the damage to the businesses reputation. No matter the severity of the situation, it is more likely a janitorial service company should secure a employee dishonesty insurance policy.

Commercial Auto Insurance

If you have employees who operate vehicles as a part of their job, you need to secure some form of commercial auto insurance. If you own vehicles and the employees drive those vehicles when on the clock, than you can purchase just a standard commercial auto policy. If you have employees who operate their own vehicles or vehicles you rent for them to use, than you need to secure a Hired and Non-owned Auto Insurance Policy. This type of coverage will cover a business for the liability the business faces when the employees are using a vehicle while on the clock. Even if your employees have their own personal auto policy in place the damages caused by a wreck when they are on the clock are the liability of the business. Even if the employee is at fault or is breaking the law by speeding or breaking another law.

Insurance Quote for a Janitorial Service Company

Common Risks for Janitorial Service Companies

In the Janitorial Service Industry, it is important to not only secure proper insurance coverage, but it is equally important to take the proper precautions to not have to use those policies frequently.  There are many things that are unique to each individual business and each individual location your business operates, but there are several risks that all janitorial service companies face. Here are three risks you should prepare for in order to keep your business and your employees safe.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, Trips, and Falls are a risk that many different types of businesses face. The Janitorial Service Industry faces an elevated risk of slips, trips, and falls because of the exposure to the general public at many of the third party locations that are cleaned.  Mopping is a huge concern, especially if your employees are cleaning the facility in the morning shortly before customers have access to the building. Training your employees to be aware of this issue and to properly prepare the facility to prevent slips, trips, and falls can have an enormous impact on the amount and severity of insurance claims within you business.

Driving Risk for Janitorial Service Companies

Not all janitorial service companies have employees who operate a vehicle as part of their job duties. Anything you can do to limit or eliminate the amount of time your employees are behind the wheel will lower the amount and severity of insurance claims and lower what you pay for insurance premium. It is important to take some additional time during the quoting process to inform your insurance agent exactly how much and what types of driving your employees do while on the clock. If you rush through this process, your agent may not secure this coverage or they may secure the wrong type of coverage for your business. This can cause a claim to not be covered.

Employee Theft

Unfortunately employee theft is a reality of the janitorial service industry. Some of the accusations are founded, but many are not. Your business is an easy target for blame when something shows up missing at a business. It is important for your business to take theft seriously, but it is equally important to be prepared for the day when your employees are falsely accused of stealing. There are insurance policies to help with the damage caused by this risk, but a small amount of prevention can help stop this from becoming a problem in the first place.

Wet floor with wet floor warning sign for safety is common at most Janitorial Service Companies.

Additional Tips for Janitorial Service Business Owners

Know Your Risks in the Janitorial Service Industry

Every business has risks that are unique to that business. When you add in the fact that your business more than likely operates at multiple third party locations, there are many risks that are unique to you and your business. Having a plan in place for these issues is important.

In the Janitorial Service Industry, risks include injuries to you or your employees from slips, trips, and falls; as well as exposure to dangerous chemicals. You may face , damage to your client’s property, and accidents occurring while traveling to and from work locations. Even a minor injury can turn into costly lawsuits.

Buy Insurance Based on Value, Not on Price

When an accident occurs, no business ever wants to be under insured. In insurance, like many things in life, you get what you pay for. The cheapest coverage is rarely the best policy to have when an accident occurs. At the same time, the most expensive policies may cause you to over pay for coverage you more than likely do not need. This will tie up cash flow that may be need for other business purposes. Take some additional time to speak with your agent about what is important to you when insuring your business. The more honest you are with your agent, the more likely they are to pair your business with the ideal policy.

Classify Your Business Properly for Janitorial Service

In the Janitorial Service Industry, there are numerous classification codes depending upon the scope of your business. Making sure your business is in the right code will clear up many situations that may be come headaches either when an accident occurs or during the end of term audit.

Partner with an Independent Agent who Knows Your Business

Like many aspects of your business, it is important to work with someone that knows your industry. An independent agent is ideal because they are not tied to one or a select few carriers. An independent agent can shop around your policy and make carriers compete for your business. This is where a company like Janisure is ideal because not only our we an independent agency, but our agents specialize in insurance for Janitorial Service Companies. These agents know what issues businesses in this industry face, and how to find the best package of insurance policies to meet your businesses unique needs.


Squeaky Clean: Inland Marine Insurance

Squeaky Clean | Male Workers using heavy duty cleaning equipment shows the need for Inland Marine Insurance. | Janisure

What is Inland Marine Insurance and how does it impact the cleaning industry?

According to the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI), Inland Marine Insurance Coverage is for specialized property that is frequently in transit over land, certain types of movable property, and property that is stored at a third party location. For Janitorial Services and Commercial Cleaning Companies this coverage is necessary because of the remote nature of the work and the specialized nature of the equipment employees work with. For this reason, it is important to partner with an experienced independent insurance agent and speak with them long and honestly about the equipment your business has and the value of that equipment.

Commercial Cleaning Companies need Inland Marine Insurance to cover specialized equipment.

Any business that uses specialized equipment, especially equipment that is transported to or stored at a third party location, needs to consider purchasing an inland marine insurance policy. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking their general liability policy is all encompassing. For most businesses, general liability and workers’ compensation insurance are required by law. Many business owners only secure these policies when they are a start-up because of funding.

Many owners of Janitorial Services and Commercial Cleaning Companies assume all the equipment being hauled on a trailer, in a van, or being stored at their clients location is covered by their general liability or commercial auto insurance policy. In most cases, that assumption is incorrect.  The vehicle is covered by a commercial auto policy, but the trailer and anything carried on the trailer are not a covered peril unless you have an additional inland marine policy. The same goes for property, like an expensive vacuum, stored at the third party location. Assuming all of your equipment is covered by a basic insurance package may be a devastating mistake when your business has an accident. This is why it is important to periodically track all the equipment your business owns and talk about that equipment with your insurance agent.

Inland Marine Insurance Coverage

As any business grows, the business more than likely acquires more equipment and may be taking on additional risk. If this is your business, it may be a good time to sit down and make a list of all the equipment your business uses on a daily basis. Once you have made this list it is important to consult with the decision makers within your organization and determine if you have the ability to replace that equipment without an insurance policy. If you can, you may not need to secure an inland marine insurance policy. If your business cannot afford to replace the equipment out of pocket and the equipment is necessary for your employees to do their job, than you may need to expand the amount of insurance coverage you purchase.

This is the type of decision that could use the help of an experienced independent insurance agent. Speaking with an independent insurance agent is best because the independent agent is not tied to one or a select few insurance carriers. An independent agent is truly a middle man working between the insurance carrier and you the business owner to get the most comprehensive coverage at a value you as a business owner can live with. A captive agent does not truly have the businesses best interests at heart because at the end of the day, the insurance carrier is the entity writing their check.

In short, the role of an independent insurance agent is to get you the business owner the type of insurance coverage that best meets you and your businesses needs. In order to get the best coverage for your unique business is to take an adequate amount of time to speak with an independent agent about all of the tasks your employee do on a daily basis and what you value in an insurance policy. If you do this, an independent agent will be able to quote a policy with several different carriers and make them compete for your business.  This will ultimately get your business better coverage and lower rates on premium.

Common types of equipment covered under an inland marine insurance policy.

  • Vaccums
  • Carpet cleaning machines
  • Truck Mounts
  • Carpet extractors
  • Tile and grout cleaners
  • Rotary extractors



Squeaky Clean: Return to Work Program

Squeaky Clean | Return To Work | Janisure.com

What are the benefits of having a well developed Return to Work Program?

Safety programs are an integral part of any small business.  By incorporating a return to work plan into a safety program a business can make an enormous impact on employee morale and limit the losses related to employee injuries.  Limiting the amount of time an injured employee is away from work can help your business in many ways. First and foremost, it will help the injured employee regain their normal routine and give them a feeling of self worth. This is crucial to getting them back to work and contributing to the organization again.  Humans are creatures of habit and the longer an injured worker stays off the job, the more time they have to create new habits.  When injured employees create new habits, they are less likely to return to full time employment. This is when an insurance claim can really get out of hand and have extremely negative impacts on your business. Here are several tips to help your small business prepare for and execute an effective return to work program.

Squeaky Clean | An effective Return to Work Program can benefit a small business in many ways. | Janisure.com

Before an injury takes place

Develop a formal return to work program

Most businesses have formal safety programs. When a business develops or revises their safety program, it is a great opportunity to incorporate plans for returning injured employees to the job in the unfortunate event they are injured. People are creatures of habit and the longer an injured worker stays off the job, the longer they have to develop new habits away from their work life. This is when insurance claims can get out of hand when an injured worker stays off the job long term or completely. This can have negative impacts on your businesses experience modification rating, which is the main factor insurance carriers use to determine what to charge businesses for premium.

Identify potential temporary light-duty assignments 

The more light duty tasks you have in place for injured workers, the more likely they are to return to permanent work. For your business, the most important aspect when you have an injured employee is to get the injured employee healthy and to get them back on the job in any capacity as soon as possible. This will limit the damage to your experience modification rating, which is the number one factor insurance carriers use when deciding what to charge your business for premium each year.

slips trips falls infographic page-promo about return to work.

When an injury occurs

Start the plan immediately upon injury/illness

Most workers compensation policies require a first report of injury form to be filled out quickly. This will help the nurses and doctors provide the best medical care to your employer, it will help the insurance carrier process the claim in a timely manner, and it will help your employee get back on the job sooner and in better health.

Take care of your employee

Healthy employees are happy and productive employees. Saying you care about an employee means far less than showing them you care when the time comes to help an injured worker. Taking care of the employees will give your business the opportunity to show the injured worker and other employees that you care about their health and well-being. This can help your business with retention of all employees and it will help the injured employee to recover from their injury as fast as possible. Most importantly taking care of your employees is the right thing for any business owner to do.

Post injury

Report the injury promptly

The quicker you report the injury, the quicker your insurance carrier can process the claim and get your employee the help they need and deserve. It is important to notify both your agent and the carrier, but do not be alarmed if your agent tells you to call the carrier. Processing the claim is the job of the carrier, not the agency. Your agent should be able to put you in touch with the proper person or department at the carrier to get the process expedited. It is also important to keep the agency in the loop in case the carrier does not live up to their obligations.

Develop a process for Communication throughout the process

When an injury occurs, it is important to communicate with everyone involved what is going on. It is important for the business owner and key employees to know exactly what the workers compensation process is and what they should or should not say to employees. It is equally important to communicate with your employee, the hospital, the insurance agency, and the insurance carrier. The more communication the better when it comes to getting an injured worker the care they need and the insurance claim processed in a timely fashion.



Squeaky Clean: Why a Safety Program?

Squeaky Clean | Safety Program | Janisure.com

Why should a commercial cleaning company be concerned about implementing a safety program?

A well-documented safety program can help your cleaning business in many ways. First and foremost, it is the right thing to do for the health of your employees. Healthy employees are happy and productive employees. Implementing a safety program will help keep your employees feeling positive and keep those employees with your company for many years, but your employees are not the only ones who should play active role in the creation and implementation of safety initiatives. The small business owner, senior management, and supervisors all need to participate. This is the only way to foster a safety-minded culture throughout your cleaning business. Here are several reasons why you should implement a safety program into your commercial cleaning company and what it should include.

safety program

Why should you want to implement a Safety Program?

Employee Morale

Healthy workers are productive workers.  Taking time out of the businesses work day to direct all employees attention to a safety program is the best way to foster a safe environment throughout your company. Including everyone within the business in these meetings is the best way to foster a staff that takes the safety program to heart. It is also a great way to make sure your business is compliant with OSHA guidelines. Complying with OSHA Guidelines is the law no matter what state or industry you operate in.

Less Frequent and Less Severe Insurance Claims

When less insurance claims occur within a business, it has a positive impact on the experience modification rating of that business. This rating is the main factor insurance carriers use to determine what to charge a business for insurance premium. Less frequent and less severe claims will positively impact this rating.

Damage to a client’s property and the businesses equipment 

Keeping your employees safe will ultimately lead to those same employees being careful in general. When employees knows to take their own personal safety, they will be equally careful to not damage the equipment of the business or the property of a client you are working with.

A Safety Program is an important way to keep all employees healthy and productive.

What should be a part of the Safety Program?

Driver Safety

If your employees spend any time behind the wheel, they should have training with specific instructions how you want them to drive will on-the-clock. It is important to never assume your employees are safe drivers or that they have the same opinion of what is and is not safe. Pulling their driving records periodically is an important part of any driver safety program.

Heavy Lifting

Not all employees will need to do heavy lifting.  It is important to let all employees know that they should not over do it when it comes to heavy lifting. This is not an easy thing to do with many employees. Smaller employees frequently want to show they can do equal worker, but when it comes to heavy lifting employees need to know their limitations.

Ladder Safety

Not all commercial cleaning companies have a need to use ladders as part of their daily operations, but those that do need to make sure the employees know how to use them properly. It is equally important to let those employees know why they should use the ladders properly and that it is more important to work safely than to rush through their daily tasks.

Return To Work

A Return to Work Program is one aspect of a safety program that frequently is left to the end or even left out altogether. This is a mistake, because even the safest companies eventually have an injured employee. How you treat the employee and transition them back in to the organization will have a huge impact on how long they stay away from work, or if they will return to work at all.  Getting employees back on the job, even on a limited basis, is extremely important to control claims and limit what you pay for insurance premium.