For those who decide to go into self-employment, once you become a plumber, you’re going to have to do more than set yourself up as a sole proprietor or a limited company. As you’ll be working with the public, there’s damages you’re going to have to be insured for.
You’re responsible for any damage caused by negligent work, and you’re also responsible for any damages caused, during the time you’re working in a customer’s home. That’s not limited to the work you do, as you may stop for a cup of tea, on your break, sit it down on your toolbox, and next thing it’s knocked over, and spilled into an electrical socket.
Electrics are out and there’s an electrician needing called out. The expense is on you, so you need the right insurance cover, or that sort of accident could see your rates wiped out, and the job costing you a fortune, instead of earning you a living. That’s the sort of things that although you may never think are going to happen… Can.
Accidents happen all the time, and that’s the reason you need to have cover in place, to financially protect yourself, and your customers from any damages incurred, during or as a result of the work you carry out.
That’s the first insurance policy you need to have in place, prior to consulting on your first job. You need the protection in place, should the worst happen. Power tools with cables trailing the span of the room, can be considered an accident waiting to happen, but in your line of work, it’s a hazard of the job.
Whilst you know the cables are there, and to walk around them, there’s going to be residents around, who aren’t aware of health and safety precautions, and all you can do is advise them that you’re working with power tools, cables, sharp blades etc, and minimize the foot traffic in the area you’re working. You’re in people’s homes though, and if they’ve something in a cupboard they need, they’ll walk in to the room to get it. You can’t really stop that, so you need to be aware of your safety and the safety of those around you.
Should the worst happen, touchwood it never does, you’re the person liable for a personal injuries claim. For small independent traders, public liability insurance cover that protects up the value of £1 million will be considered standard.
Considering the legal costs, and the expense of payouts for damages, that’s actually a small figure, in comparison to the public liability insurance that will be required for larger plumbing franchise firms.
As a plumber, you’ll need to have your own transport, and since you’ll have a lot of tools to take around with you, a van is one of your essentials to keep all your tools with you, and have them to hand whenever you need them. I
t’s not as if you can use public transport as a tradesperson, carrying around ladders, power tools, saws, and all the other tools you’ll need as a plumber.
1) Business vehicle and contents insurance
With this type of policy, you’ll be able to insure your van and the contents in your van, should you have a break in, and your tools are stolen. You’d be insured for the value you insure your tools for, so you can get back to work as soon as possible.
2) Van insurance only
With this type of policy, you can insure your van only, but you wouldn’t have the cost of your tools included in your policy. It can work out cheaper for you, but it can also be expensive if you were to lose your tools, and have to cover the replacement costs yourself. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the importance of having the right insurance policies in place. Public liability insurance is a necessity.
The van insurance needs to be in place, but to be sure you’re fully protected for any work, try to get a policy that gives you a courtesy vehicle, so that you aren’t losing work, should your van breakdown. As a plumber, your van insurance could be considered similar to an income protection policy. Without your vehicle, you’re going to have to cancel jobs and turn down callouts, which could see you losing a chunk out your salary. Insurance is an area that any business needs to have, but for plumbers, it’s even more essential, as the cost of the tools can run into the thousands itself.
Top that with the cost of your vehicle, and you’ll be looking at some pretty expensive costs to replace everything.
The insurance premiums can be high, so it’s definitely worth shopping around to find the best deal that’s right for you, so you can keep more of the wages you earn, rather than pay out unnecessarily on expenses that you could find cheaper elsewhere.