Barbers and hairdressers provide us with a chance to smarten up and try a new look by colouring or curling our hair. Located on every high street, salons these days can also include additional services such as nail bars, skin treatment or even sunbeds.
Hairdressing is a popular profession for those who like to be creative but can also be responsive to their customers’ needs and wants. And with the world of fashion and celebrity changing constantly, trends will mean that there’s always something new to try or another ‘in’ look to try and replicate, especially after events such as film premieres and awards ceremonies.
So what road do you need to go down if you want to become a hairdresser, and what sort of training will you need before you’re qualified enough to cut hair?
What Qualifications Will I Need?
To qualify as a hairdresser or beauty therapist, you need to look into courses which will help to get you prepared for life in the profession. These will usually be available as City & Guild qualifications and can help you gain NVQ level qualifications which can be a good entry point for a trainee position.
Only after they’ve completed training in college will trainees then get the opportunity to start off doing basic hair cutting, progressing to more complex styles as their training progresses.
Hairdressers can even specialise in particular cuts or types of hair, including perms, plaits, afros or even hair extensions. Some may also specialise in the colouring of hair, and be called upon to try anything from a complete bleach to more complicated layered colouring.
Where Can I Train?
NVQs and City & Guild qualifications in subjects such as Hairdressing, Barbering, and Beauty Therapy are available at colleges and adult training centres all around the UK.
Courses can range from full-time, degree-style courses, to part-time night school courses that you can fit around your everyday work which can be particularly useful if you are considering a career change but wish to keep working while you train.
Whichever timeframe you choose to study in, remember that you’ll need a good amount of practical experience of cutting hair before being allowed to cut a customers’ hair. Many courses make use of models for trainees to practice on, which in itself can be good for earning a little extra cash (and get a haircut while you’re at it).
Can I Gain Work Experience?
Gaining some experience while you are training is important, you’ll need to eventually practice on customers, but it may be some time before your employer allows you to. It can be a long process, but once you’ve gained the experience and confidence, you can start working on your technique and start dispensing advice, in which case, you will need a professional indemnity insurance.
Apprenticeships are another option for getting your foot in the door of a salon, especially if you are combining them with studies. Apprentices will usually start off by performing tasks such as restocking supplies, greeting customers, shampooing hair, and keeping the salon clean and tidy in between cuts, eventually building up to being trusted to cut customer’s hair on a day-to-day basis.
How Far Can I Train?
Like with many professions, practice makes perfect, and as you learn along the way, you’ll find yourself improving in all aspects of the job and maybe even find a special or preferred technique and procedure that you particularly excel at.
Your course and work experience will give you the chance to train in all aspects of hairdressing, and as you get more experience, you may get the chance to diversify into other areas like barbering.
Once you become a senior hairdresser, not only will you get the chance to use more advanced techniques and take on more complicated hairstyles, but you’ll also get the opportunity to advise customers on particular styles and products that your salon may cross-sell as part of the service.
City & Guilds qualifications in hairdressing go up to Level 4, covering advanced aspects such as working with coloured hair. A large part of your experience is going to come from practical experience gained while working in a salon. So the sooner you start snipping, the sooner you can gain the skills necessary to be confident enough to cut customers’ hair unaccompanied.
What About Starting On My Own?
Once you’ve gotten some experience under your belt by working at a salon, you may want to strike out on your own and either become freelance or set up a salon of your own design.
Much like setting up any business, you’ll have costs of equipment, products, and shop rent to think about unless of course, you decide to go mobile and use a car or small van to make visits to customers’ homes.
In either case, you’ll need to make sure you have all the relevant business licences, business insurance, liability cover, and hair and beauty insurance to cover yourself and your business should something go wrong, either to your premises or to one of your customers as a result of your treatment.
SEE ALSO: What is a Business Insurance?
Whether you’re starting at a college or considering going back to school as part of a career change, hairdressing can be a good way of meeting different kinds of people with different sorts of hair, as well as a passion for delivering a good service and maybe even getting creative with style at the same time.
Businesses need to make sure they are protected against claims brought against them by third parties. Say a customer has an accident such as a slip, trip or fall on your premises and sustains an injury, your business would be liable for compensation if it is proven that you were in some way to blame.
Public Liability insurance will help protect you in this regard, providing a level of protection in case of claims brought against you for injuries and damage to equipment sustained on your premises by third parties.
But what about those instances where damage has been done on an intellectual level?What about those pieces of advice you gave which led to a company suffering financial loss or damage to their reputation as a result?
That’s where Professional Indemnity Insurance comes in, providing a safety net for your business against any advice you may dispense, or helping to cover against any mistakes you might have made along the way which eventually led to damage to your client and their business.
What Does PI Insurance Cover?
Professional indemnity insurance helps cover your business against losses sustained by third parties – usually clients or customers – who may have suffered losses as a result of your advice, either on a financial level (loss of profits) or on a reputational level (downturn in business as a result of bad press).
Who Should Have PI Cover?
Almost all businesses should have some form of PI cover, especially if their work involves dispensing advice as a service. This can include areas such as:
- Finance – financial advisors, solicitors, brokers, accountants
- Property – estate agents, letting agents, mortgage advisors
- Management – management consultants, leadership advisors
- Technology – computer solutions, IT firms
- Recruitment – recruitment consultants
- Services – marketers, design consultants
- Education – teachers, private tutors
Indeed, any professional who is in the business of dispensing advice, either on a financial level, design level or even on a physical level – in the case of a fitness instructor – is potentially liable for being sued as a result of poor advice which could hurt the reputation of their client and their business.
What Kind Of Situations Can It Cover?
Professional indemnity insurance can help cover your business against situations where your advice may have led to your client or customer suffering harm or financial loss:
Say you’re a florist and you have advised a customer on which flowers would look nicest in a bouquet for their partner, and the customer is pleased with the choice and makes the purchase.
Later on, your customer comes back and you find out that their partner was, in fact, allergic to the flowers you advised them on, which led to a stay in hospital as a result said allergic reaction.
Because you advised them which flowers to buy, you could find yourself liable – even if you were not to know at the time the said allergy – the customer could bring a claim against you as it harmed them on a physical level.
PI insurance would protect you against a claim like this one, where the customer may seek compensation for a stay in hospital which led to a loss of income as a result of your advice during the transaction.
A design agency has taken on the task of rebranding a company’s branding – everything from a new colour scheme to a new mascot and slogan – advising them on the best direction going forward and taking to social media platforms with a new design and a new voice.
All seems fine to begin with, but shortly after everything goes live, the company finds itself being ridiculed on social media, and after a bit of research, it is discovered that there has been a reaction to the slogan or mascot, leading to reputation damage and dip in sales.
Because the company’s reputation and public image took a hit, they could then sue the agency on the grounds of reputational damage. The design agency would have to have some form of PI insurance in place to help cover the costs of any compensation they may have to pay out.
How Much Should I Insure For?
PI insurance policies allow you to insure your business up to a certain amount and have two levels of cover, both of which affect any payouts:
- ‘Any one claim’ – this would help cover any payments up to the full limit of your cover for each claim made against you. Say you insure for up to £100,000 a year, your PI insurer would cover the cost of more than one claim during that period, provided the amount didn’t exceed the limit.
- ‘Aggregate’ – on the other side, aggregate PI insurance would only pay up to a certain amount. Say you had a cover of up to £100,000 but you get two claims of varying amounts which take you over your set limit, you’ll have to cover the remaining amount yourself. For example, your business gets 2 claims of £75,000 each on a PI insurance limit of £100,000 would take the total to £150,000, leaving your business to cover £50,000 of this out of your own pocket.
Professional indemnity insurance is an important policy to have when it comes to businesses who are in the industry of dispensing advice. Anything can happen and some advice can be bad, so it’s always best to prepare yourself for such possibilities.
Whether you work from home as a sole trader, own a small business, or have a large company with many employees, you need to make sure that you are protected against claims brought against you by those who visit your premises.
That’s where public liability insurance comes in; this insurance is important to have for any business as it offers a level of protection against potential problems, such as trips and falls which could lead to injury or damage to equipment while on your premises.
What Is Public Liability Insurance?
Public liability insurance covers you against claims made by members of the public or clients who have suffered personal injury or property damage as a result of visiting your premises.
Public liability helps your business cover compensation costs brought against you by third parties and clients.
Example 1: Client
You have a potential client visiting your premises, and they have brought their own equipment with them. While at your office, they trip over a loose network cable and fell, and dropped their laptop in the process, the impact of which leaves the equipment broken and unusable.
If the client were then to put in a claim against you for the cost of repairing their equipment due to negligence on your part, public liability insurance would help to cover the cost of replacements or legal fees.
Example 2: Contractor
You have hired a plumber to carry out work at your premises, and because of negligence in their work – such as a loose valve – it led to your property sustaining water damage and loss of equipment. The contractor would have to have public liability insurance to cover them should you make a claim against them.
What Is Employer’s Liability Insurance?
Aside from public liability insurance, business owners are also advised to take out what is known as Employers’ Liability Insurance. While public liability insurance helps to cover customers and clients, employers’ liability helps protect you against claims made by your own employees in the event of injuries sustained while working for you.
Do I Need Public Liability Insurance By Law?
While public liability insurance is not a compulsory insurance for businesses to have, if you interact with members of the public or have clients visiting your premises daily, you will need to make sure they are covered against any unexpected circumstances.
Having public liability cover can help give your business peace of mind, for you will be covered in the event of a tragedy. Take a look at our in-depth guide on Who Needs A Public Liability Insurance for more information.
How Much Can I Cover For?
Public liability policies can range from around £1m up to £5m, and depending on the insurer you go with, you will usually have a choice as to how much cover you want to insure yourself – which will depend on your business area and the size of your company.
Can My Business Apply For PL Insurance?
Public liability insurance can be taken out by any business from a sole trader or independent, all the way up to a large corporation. PL insurance is essential for those businesses that are customer-facing or those who welcome clients into their premises to do business.
By making sure you are covered against any potential accidents or property damage sustained by your customers and visitors, you can save money and hassle in the event of a claim.
How Can I Arrange Cover?
Work out how much you can afford for some public liability insurance, then seek out and speak to a specialist broker who deals with public liability insurance. Depending on the size of your business, you can negotiate levels of excess and the level of cover you’ll need.
What Will This Cover?
Your PL insurance policy will cover aspects such as:
- Personal injury sustained by customers and clients on your premises
- Damage to property as a result of negligence on your premises
- Hospital and medical bills incurred as a result of an injury or incident at your premises
- Damage to property as a result of poor workmanship by your staff
While public liability insurance is not mandatory, it can be useful to have to cover your business against unfortunate incidents. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this case, so taking out some PL insurance can be a wise investment which can offer a level of protection for the future of your business.
Takeaways are a commonplace on every high street, serving anything from soup and sandwiches, fish and chips, to exotic meals from all corners of the world.
Takeaways can be a good way for entrepreneurs to showcase their love for certain cuisines, but how do you go about starting such an endeavour? Diving head-first into a business such as owning a takeaway can be tricky unless you’ve done your research, so here are a few handy hints of things to bear in mind when first starting out.
Research Your Market
If you have an idea of where you want to set up your business, look around the area and find out what similar businesses are operating in the area already, and ask yourself the following:
- What food do I want to serve?
- How many other similar takeaways are in the area already?
- How long have they been established in the area for?
- What kind of food do they serve?
- How much do they charge for what they serve?
- What establishments are within the area – including universities?
By taking the time to research the area, run focus groups to find out the tastes of the locals, and look into how much your competitors are charging for similar products, you can give yourself a good start in the process of owning your own takeaway.
Plan, Plan and Plan Again
You can never be too prepared when it comes to working out what needs to go into the takeaway business, and it can be expensive if you haven’t got a handle on things.
Drawing up a mock balance sheet including rental rates, the cost of equipment and supplies, as well as essential extras such as takeaway insurance, staff wages, and employers’ liability cover to help protect you against claims brought against you by staff who suffer an injury while working for you.
When drawing up your business plan, keep the following in mind:
- How much can you afford right now? – whether you’ve got savings or require a bank loan, work out how much you’ve got in the pot.
- Finance options such as grants or even franchising opportunities can be a useful way of getting onto the ladder, or you could also consider starting with a food stall to test your products in small quantities to test the market and figure out your customers’ tastes.
- What can you offer your customers – in regards to product, why is yours going to be better than your competitors?
- Where do you want to base yourself? – location is key when it comes to setting up a takeaway; you want to pitch yourself as close to a catchment area as you can to ensure frequent footfall into your premises.
- How much will rent be? – research several vacant pitches and shops and make a note of monthly rental rates, including them as part of your predicted balance sheet.
- How much do you intend to spend on equipment? – be sure to price up cooking equipment such as fryers and grill tops, refrigeration units for keeping food fresh and safe in between orders, as well as the utilities for powering your equipment.
What Do I Want To Cook?
Deciding on a cuisine can depend entirely on not only your taste but those of your audience as well, for what might be delicious for you might not sell well due to lack of interest, so doing some taste testing and focus groups can help you to determine this and help you going forward.
Also, look into local suppliers and where you might source the ingredients for your menu from. Local producers will always be looking for opportunities to get their product to market, including farms and vegetable growers.
By striking a rapport with local suppliers, you can help to promote local produce and give customers confidence in the quality of your product.
Make Sure You’re Safe
Hygiene is vital when it comes to any food establishment, so making sure your premises are clean can help to keep your food fresh and keep your customers safe. Be wary of allergies and make sure that certain food groups are kept separate to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and the risk of allergic reactions.
You’ll have to apply for and display a Food Hygiene Rating certificate on your premises following a visit from a health inspector from the Food Standards Agency. Ensuring that you put in the correct steps to keep food fresh, store your ingredients safely, dispose of waste and keep your new premises free of vermin can earn you a top rating and lead to an excellent local rapport.
Whether you want to serve baked potatoes or baltis, ensuring you have the relevant insurance before you start out is a crucial part of the process. Specialist takeaway insurance is available and helps to cover your premises, your equipment and your stock from damage from the elements and fire.
You can also apply for a business insurance so that if anything goes wrong, you know you’re in good hands – this is especially useful if you are a franchisor.
Staffing Your Shop
Your staff are essential in running the shop, so take your time to recruit the right people – from your chefs to your front-of-house staff – ensure they are thoroughly trained and have the relevant food hygiene qualifications needed.
If you’re looking to employ staff to help out your new venture, ensure you are covered in the event of an incident causing them injury while at work.
Employers’ liability insurance will help to cover these costs, and it can also be worth taking out some public liability insurance as well to cover you should a customer sustain a personal injury on your premises or bring a claim of illness caused by food poisoning against you.
Start Small, Think Big
For a flagship store, sometimes less can be more, so try focusing on a certain number of products – maybe you have a speciality you wish to try out first – and gradually introduce new foods over time.
Testing out recipes in small amounts can help you to gauge interest in particular foods and give you an indication of your customer’s preferred tastes, so don’t be afraid to try new ideas now and then.
Starting a takeaway business can be a daunting prospect, but by putting in plenty of research, getting your balance sheet right and making sure you’ve everything in place before you open can stand you in good stead and help your business to flourish.
With more and more of us breaking away from the rat race and choosing to start our own companies, many people want to become their own bosses and dictate the pace of their working lives.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur with a fresh idea you want to progress, or a professional who fancies going solo in your line of work, there are a few things you will need to make sure of when you’re beginning your new venture:
- Draw up your business plan
You’ve got the idea; now it’s time to plan it out! Work out the potential costs of your materials, premises rent, manufacturing costs and of any equipment and technology you may need to do the job itself.
Then set yourself some short-term and long-term goals for the business going forward. By having an idea of where you want to be and how long it could take you to get there through careful planning you can help prepare yourself for any pitfalls you may encounter along the way.
- Set a budget
Work out roughly how much you want to spend on your new business venture, and make sure you split this into several areas, including amounts for rent, equipment, technology and even stationary.
Speak with your bank about the possibility of opening a business account to help you along. These will come with helpful advice for startup businesses and may even offer additional perks that can help your business in its early days.
SEE ALSO: The Basics of Business Deposit Accounts
- Get registered
When setting up a new business you must register your company with Companies House – a government department for the regulation of businesses – and decide what kind of business you wish to trade as:
- Sole trader
- Private limited company
- Limited liability partnership
- Limited partnership
- ‘Ordinary’ business partnership
When you’ve decided on a name for your business and registered it with Companies House for a small fee, it’s time to get your URL registered, research into hosting companies and secure your URL quickly before someone steals in there before you!
- Establish a location
Establishing your base of operations is an essential part of the process, for not only is it where you operate from but it can, in some cases, be close to your customer base.
Sole traders will usually begin working from home, and this can be useful depending on the type of business you are looking to establish. Whether your business is purely on a digital level or you require equipment and materials for manufacturing your products on a small scale – including crafts – starting off from your home base can be a good start as you already have aspects such as computer equipment and an internet connection already.
Look into rental prices of a number of locations before deciding on your eventual destination, then look into the costs of the utilities involved – including electricity and water, for a large part of what you’ll have to pay will go to the landlord or letting company.
- Get insured
After you’ve found your new location, sorted out the rental rates, and worked out any overheads, it’s time to insure yourself against anything that goes wrong. Office insurance helps to protect your business from damage caused as a result of factors such as flood or fire damage, covering both your premises and the contents contained within.
Basic office insurance will usually come with add-ons to cover against various factors and possibilities, including window insurance or computer system cover, allowing you to get back on your feet as soon as possible – whether through relocation or from replacing equipment.
Remember, when you’re starting small it can be worth keeping your insurance costs small too, look into some office insurance policies before deciding on which one is right for you and your business.
We recommend you read: What is a Business Insurance?
- Get equipped
After you’ve found your new premises, it’s time to fill it with things to enable you to trade, including amongst other things:
- Office furniture
- Storage space
- Computer workstations
- Telephone line
- Peripherals (including printers and photocopiers)
- Fire extinguisher
There are many more items you will also need to get, but that’s dependant on what kind of business you want to have, and how much you’d want to start with. As your customer base grows and more money keeps flowing in you’ll have the opportunity to buy more things to help the business.
Check out our handy Office Supply Checklist for more information on what your business will need to run and flourish.
- Get comfortable
So you’ve moved into your new premises, and the groundwork for your communications is being sorted, including your phone line and internet connection, now it’s time to make the place feel a little more homely and personalised for your business.
When considering layout, allow yourself both a work and rest area, as well as seating for potential clients to sit while they wait for appointments. It can be worth starting off in an office block with a communal kitchen and dining area to save on space. Allow yourself and any staff you may recruit in the future an area where they can have periods of rest during work and lunch breaks, and if there’s free coffee available, then all the better!
And finally, when you’ve set your roots into the ground of your new premises, it’s time to…
- Get trading!
Make sure you’ve everything you need to be able to do business – from computer equipment to machines that manufacture – and then it’s time to get your name out there.
Budget for some merchandise and get your name out there, either on social media or in person at events such as trade fairs. Make sure you establish a good website for your business as well. Some companies allow businesses to build websites to start using an online template system, but if you can make your own and get it live soon after establishing your business, you can start drawing in customer intrigue and interest in your product or service.
Keeping an eye on your finances is also important, so review your situation regularly and always look into alternatives when it comes to location so you can give your business an opportunity to get a foothold in the market.
In recent years there has been a bit of a revolution when it comes to street food. Entrepreneurs are pitching up in town centres and using local ingredients to create delicious meals and snacks we can grab on the go, and have a bit of fun doing what they enjoy while they’re at it.
Many who enter the world of street food will have a story to tell about why they do it, from those who chose to leave busy kitchens to ply their trade in a more public setting, to young and enthusiastic chefs with a passion for what they’re cooking and serving
If you have a passion for food and fancy trying your hand in the world of mobile catering, well there’s a lot to think about:
- What do you want to serve?
- How are you going to cook it?
- Where are you going to source your ingredients from?
- What are you going to serve it from?
- How much can you afford to charge?
The street food scene may be bustling, but it’s also very competitive. Budding entrepreneurs are always looking for more exciting flavours and quirky pitches – anything from bizarre fusion foods that somehow come together, to food being served out of pitches ranging from simple gazebos to converted vehicles that catch the eye and draw you in.
What is the best way to start if you want to take the plunge into the world of street food?
Caterers’ courses can be a great resource for those wanting to start out in the world of mobile catering. Whether you want to open a pop-up shop or street food stall for your wares, you’ll find everything you need to know through organisations such as the Nationwide Caterers’ Association (NCASS). They can help provide advice on all aspects of your business – everything from health and safety to tips on establishing a pitch.
Just like a mechanic is no good without his tools, a chef is nothing without his oven, and so finding out about what you’ll need to prepare your delicious creations is kind of important.
There is a multitude of options to choose from when deciding where to serve your food from, whether you’re looking to hit a festival or just set up a pitch in your local town centre:
- Pop-up stall
These are just the basic options, but there have been all kinds of quirky vendors selling from converted VW Beetles and campervans. Consider your options depending on what you want to sell.
You’ll also need to shell out for the cooking equipment itself; this can be anything from a gas-powered oven, electric hot plate, barbeque or even a pizza oven crafted from an old oil drum.
Utensils are essential too, so you’ll need to price those up as well, so when you’ve got your tools it’s now time to…
Because what good is going to market if you have nothing to sell? Look into where you want to source your ingredients and try and negotiate the best deal you can. Speak with local farmers to see about sourcing good quality produce, for local produce can be an appealing draw for consumers.
Also look into where to source your packaging from – whether you want to serve your food in paper cartons or simple clamshells – catering and retail warehouses can be good resources for items like these.
After this stage, it’s time to establish your pricing, work out your overheads and the cost of ingredients once you’ve found them to determine how much you want to sell a portion for.
Remember that the world of street food can be quite competitive, so do your research into how much similar vendors are charging, as well as those around them.
And keep your audience in mind as well, think of how much you’d be likely to pay for what you are offering, keep it competitive but be careful not to sell your wares short!
Insurance And Safety
Once you’ve decided on your choice of pitch and have the equipment to cook it with, it’s time to protect it against accidental damage. Mobile catering insurance policies are available to help cover your vehicle, any equipment you use, your stock (Product Liability), and most importantly your customers (Public Liability) against any claims you might have brought against you. If you employ anyone to assist, you’ll also need to protect them against injury during work (Employers’ Liability).
You’ll also have to go through rigorous health & safety checks to make sure what you are selling is safe for consumption, so keep an eye on things like the cleanliness of your cooking area and any refrigeration units you may have to keep ingredients chilled.
RELATED: What is a Business Insurance?
Get Your Name Out There
So you have the pitch, the know-how and the kickass recipe, so you should be all set to go, right? But, no-one knows who you are yet, so…
It’s time to make some noise! Marketing is an integral part of the process when setting up a new business, so look into ways you can get yourself out there with flyers and business cards.
If you want to create a buzz for free to start with, establish a presence on social media and get yourself a website to show off your products – don’t be afraid to be quirky when coming up with a name and pitch!
Don’t be afraid to network either, by getting out there to trade shows, street food festivals and by speaking to and befriending vendors just like you on social media; you can pick up useful tips as to how to start out, what makes a good pitch and even find new and exciting taste inspirations.
Perfecting Your Recipe
With so many vendors out there vying for business, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd with something that’ll draw customers in and tantalize their taste buds! Experiment with recipes, tweak things and put your own spin on familiar combinations, even make these the basis of your business with eye-catching names on the menu.
By doing your research thoroughly beforehand and ensuring you have everything in place before you set up, you can then pitch up and start dishing up delicious dishes to punters, wherever you choose to set up.
If you are a business owner with a lot of vehicles in your fleet, one of the important aspects of ownership is ensuring that each of your vehicles is adequately insured against damage and theft, much like with your regular car insurance policy.
But how best to insure your fleet? Insuring each vehicle individually is not only going to be expensive but also generate a lot of additional paperwork, which could not only lead to clutter but also to confusion when it comes to sorting out an insurance claim against one of your vehicles.
What Is Fleet Insurance?
Fleet insurance essentially allows you to insure all of your vehicles under a single policy, so whether your fleet involves cars, vans, trucks or a mixture of all three, putting all of your vehicles on one policy could work out cheaper for you in the long run.
How Does Fleet Insurance Work?
Fleet insurance insures multiple vehicles at one time, usually over five, although some brokers may allow you to insure three or fewer vehicles under them, this can vary so be sure to ask in order to be sure.
By taking the time to put all your vehicles onto one collective policy, not only can you save you on administrative tasks, but you may also save yourself some money in the process, especially if your drivers have good driving records.
What Level Of Cover Can I Get?
Fleet insurance can involve different levels of cover, including:
- Third Party Only
- Third Party Fire and Theft
- Fully Comprehensive
Much like with a regular car insurance policy, the higher the level of cover the higher the price, so bear this in mind when choosing a policy. Fleet insurance will allow you the opportunity to place the same level of cover onto all of your vehicles, ensuring that all are covered against the same dangers.
What About No Claims Discount?
No Claims Bonus (NCB) can be built upon your fleet insurance policy, and each driver will have an individual NCB which will count towards the policy. So provided of course your drivers have good, clean records you could find yourself saving on your fleet insurance.
By accumulating a combined NCB for all your vehicles, and by keeping track of your drivers driving habits individually you can help to lower your premiums in future.
Any Additional Extras?
Depending on the nature of your business, there are a few additional extras that you may wish to add to your policy in order to add some extra protection for your fleet, including:
- Goods In Transit cover – helps to cover your cargo against loss or damage en route to the customer site.
- Breakdown cover – helps to get you back on the road in the event of your vehicle breaking down, either by repairing it by the side of the road or by towing you to a nearby garage for repairs.
- Courtesy vehicle – helps to get you back on the road quickly if one of your vehicles break down on the road by providing a like-for-like replacement to allow you to continue on your journey.
- European cover – if your orders take you across the Channel and into Europe, you’ll want to make sure you are covered while over in the EU, helping to cover against breakdowns and accidents caused by third parties.
- Personal belongings cover – helps to protect a drivers’ possessions in the cab of his truck against damage or theft.
- Windscreen cover – helps to cover damage to windscreens as a result of dangerous chipping, impacting wildlife or as a result of an accident.
- Equipment cover – helps to cover any equipment that is used during the delivery, including tarpaulin, strapping and security ties.
As well as extras which cover the equipment and goods, you’ll also need to ensure that your driver is also covered, and the following extras are essential to ensure safety for them and your business:
- Public liability cover – helps to protect you against claims made by third parties for injuries caused by your vehicle or equipment.
- Employers’ liability cover – helps to ensure that you are covered should one of your employees is injured on your premises (eg. One of your drivers sustaining an injury while loading their van because of a faulty piece of equipment).
Check with your broker as to what comes as standard on your policy, and which of these extras may need to be added to your policy in order to cover your vehicles.
What Documents Do I Need To Insure?
Insuring a fleet may seem like a lot of work to set up at first, you’ll have to find the documents for each of your vehicles and register each one on the policy, which could take a good amount of time depending on your fleet size.
However, when it comes to renewal time, this process can be shortened if your fleet has not changed, and a new premium can be worked out from this previous detail.
Be sure to let your insurer know if you add vehicles to your fleet, replace vehicles and drivers or make any modifications to any of your vehicles, as this could affect the price of your premium going forward.
What is a business deposit account?
Business Deposit accounts are also known as investment accounts. These are a type of savings account that allows your business to earn interest on lump sums or regular amounts of money that are paid into the account. There may be a notice period that you need to provide to make withdrawals. If you do not give the required notice, you could be penalised, typically by a loss of interest.
Notice periods are usually seven, 30, 60 or 90 days, even though some accounts designate other periods. As a general rule, the longer the notice period is, the higher the interest rate you will receive.
Who are they suitable for?
No notice deposit accounts or those that are also known as instant or easy access accounts are right for you if you want to dodge being penalised for making withdrawals that are unscheduled. However, higher interest rates can be received from notice accounts, so if you will take a longer-term view of withdrawals, this may better for your business.
What to look out for
Make sure that you understand exactly what the notice period is and what the withdrawal penalty is for early access to your funds.
Penalties normally come in the form of loss of interest. This will typically be for the same amount of time as the required notice period, but could also be longer. So, if the penalty on the account is equivalent to 60 days’ loss of interest and you want to withdraw £1,000 from your account, then the interest you would have earned on the £1,000 for the 60 days before the withdrawal will be discounted, maybe even more.
Interest rates may have a bonus element for a designated time. If this is the case, you will need to keep an eye on the account to make sure that you are getting a competitive interest rate when the bonus period ends. It is wise to set up a calendar reminder to ensure that you shop around when you get to that point.
A business insurance is necessary if you run a company of your own, and you could be violating the law without it. Here is a guide on how business insurance works.
How does it work?
If you experience financial loss while carrying out your business activities, it can pay out a cover for:
|Professional indemnity||Property damage|
|Public liability||Tools and machinery|
It decreases uncertainty since your business can continue to operate if something goes wrong.
You can avail basic policies that are designed for self-employed tradesmen or professionals; or more comprehensive cover for bigger companies and franchises.
Think about what your business requires and try to look for a package policy that can cover everything. You can look for a policy by:
- Going directly to an insurer
- Using an online comparison
- Discussing your needs with a broker
What types are there?
The different types of insurance that safeguard your liability as a business include:
- Employers’ liability: Pays out if you need to compensate your employees, if they die or if they are injured as a consequence of working for you.
- Public and product liability: Pays out if a third party or their property is damaged or injured because of your business activities.
- Professional indemnity: Pays out if a client accuses you of damages that result from your professional advice (e.g. if you are an accountant or a solicitor).
- Legal expenses: Covers legal fees for court proceedings including tax disputes with HMRC, or employment tribunals.
The types of insurance that safeguard your commercial premises and its contents include:
- Business interruption: Covers any financial losses that you experience as a result of not being able to trade, due to property damage. For example, if your store is flooded.
- Commercial property cover: Covers damage to your building, contents and any stock that your business owns.
- Goods in transit: Covers damage, theft, or loss of your business property while it is being transferred from one place to another.
You can avail package policies that allow you to combine various types of business insurance, and you can choose to cover more than one business on a policy.
Do you need it?
According to the law, you need to have certain types of business insurance. For example, if you employ voluntary or paid staff, you must have an employers’ liability insurance policy.
There are also some professions where it is mandatory for you to have a professional indemnity insurance, like insurance brokers and financial advisers.
Other types of business insurance are voluntary, but you should examine property cover if you have a mortgage or long-term lease on commercial premises.
How much does it cost?
The price you pay for business insurance will depend on:
- Your annual turnover
- The type of business you run
- The size of your premises
- How many employees you have
- The level of cover you need
Once you have determined what cover your business demands, shop around and compare quotes to discover the most competitive policy.
How to make a claim
If you wish to claim on your business insurance, immediately contact your insurer and give them as much information as possible.
Most business insurers run a 24-hour claims helpline. However, they may wish to visit you before they settle your claim to discuss the matter in detail.