In the unfortunate event of a job site theft complaint from a client, janitorial bonds can help ensure that you and your business are financially protected, whatever the outcome.

Facility theft complaints occur with more frequency than anyone would like in the cleaning business. Clients are sometimes quick to point the finger at custodial services mainly because cleaning crews often have access to facilities after-hours. However, that is in no way enough information to come to a conclusion. Still, janitorial bonds keep your business safe if something goes wrong, no matter whose fault it was.

What, exactly, are janitorial bonds, and why do you need them? What can they do for your business profits and success?

Janitorial bonds, also called janitorial service bonds or cleaning bonds, reimburse a client for a claimed loss amount due to improper behavior on the part of your or your employees. In most cases, this refers to alleged employee theft from a job site. If a client comes to work and finds something missing from the day before, they may accuse your cleaning team first. Janitorial bonds—a type of insurance—will ensure that your client is compensated for their losses if one of your employees is held liable, which significantly reduces the likelihood of legal action against your business.

Because the commercial cleaning industry suffers from a higher frequency of employee misconduct allegations—though often not substantiated—clients often expect janitorial bonds, even though they are not necessarily required. (Some states may require some surety bonding, though, so be sure to check with officials in your area.) Fortunately, they’re relatively inexpensive; somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 a year can cover you for $100,000 of losses, and premiums usually don’t increase the way they do for other insurance policies. (These numbers are hypotheticals. For actual quotes, contact an insurance provider in your area who deals with janitorial bonds.)

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Janitorial Bonds

6 Important benefits that come along with janitorial bonds

1. Financial protection

The primary purpose of the bond is to cover any losses a client sustains due to inappropriate activity from one of your employees on their job site. If it turns out that your employee did commit a theft, the bond will pay the client for the loss amount up to the bond limit. Since petty theft usually only adds up to hundreds or maybe a few thousand dollars in most cases, you may opt for the smallest amount of coverage (usually around $10,000-20,000) to save money. However, there are reasons to consider higher coverage amounts.

2. Securing better jobs

Even in the few places where janitorial bonds aren’t required to start a business, almost any job you bid on will want to see that you have bonding protection. For small jobs or familiar clients, the amount of your bond may not matter so much, but if you’re going to bid on cleaning, say, offices of a financial institution or other business with expensive assets, a small bond amount may be a deterrent for them in hiring you.

This piece is a delicate balance and depends a lot on what kinds of clients you want and ultimately what type of cleaning business you’re running. If you plan to keep to small, local places, a higher bond probably isn’t worth the money. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to expand and grow, taking on clients that will bring you more revenue, higher bond limits will be attractive to such clients.

3. Making amends with clients

Client retention is a critical component of a successful and profitable cleaning business. If one of your team members is responsible for illegal activity, a client will likely consider taking their business elsewhere. However, since janitorial bonds should cover their losses, there’s a good chance you can retain the client even after a mishap. You’ll probably need to take other corrective action, such as removing the employee from that job site or ending their employment altogether, but making things right financially through the bond sets the stage for a continued relationship.

4. Protection no matter the outcome

Even if no one on your team is actually responsible for the client’s losses, janitorial bonds will kick in to rectify the situation without lengthy insurance or legal process. If it seems there aren’t enough facts to decide, or you simply want to make the problem go away, you can encourage a client to make a claim against your bond. The claim will almost surely be paid out—unlike insurance, which can take some time and may not pay out as much as the client wants—allowing both you and your clients to move on.

5. Helps manage other insurance premiums

Since janitorial bonds are separate from the other kinds of insurance your business carries, a claim against a bond will not affect your insurance premiums. Keep in mind, however, that janitorial bonds only protect against theft or dishonest activity. They do not protect against property damage, physical harm, or other such incidents. Still, if the issue is simply one of petty theft, the bond will quickly reimburse the client without putting you at risk for a hefty hike on your other business insurance. (Your bond premium may increase slightly, but since they aren’t costly, to begin with, this is still preferable to insurance claims in most cases.)

6. Demonstrates empathy for clients

Finally, when a client sees that you carry a janitorial bond, they’ll be more likely to trust you from the beginning and through your relationship because they’ll know that you’re prepared to help them if something goes wrong. Since client relationships are one of the essential parts of your business, establishing as much trust as possible is highly encouraged. A substantial bond will let clients rest easy that if something bad happens, you’ll have their back even if your business isn’t to blame.

In the end, the minimal cost of janitorial bonds in relation to the trust and business you could gain makes buying them an easy decision.

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