Founders: Behind the Hustle is a video series highlighting small business owners as they share their unique stories and tell us why they’re driven to run their own businesses. Each episode provides a personal perspective on the hard work that goes into running a business, as well as the rewards that come with it.
In this episode of Founders: Behind the Hustle, we’re taking a closer look at Sekanskin, a Toronto-based vinyl vehicle wrap shop that has worked with notable celebrity figures including Drake and Deadmau5. Tiago, owner at Sekanskin, always knew he wanted to own a small business.
“I had an idea I wanted to paint my car rooftop black,” Tiago said, “I found out it was a ridiculous thing to think, so I learned about vinyl and it became one of those things that really interested me. I jumped into it because I knew it was going to be a big thing. I haven’t looked back since.”Tiago stresses the importance of being properly equipped to ensure he and his team won’t make any mistakes when applying vinyl wrap to vehicles. “One mistake on one of these vehicles is not just a couple of hundred bucks, it’s well over thousands of dollars of damage that could happen,” Tiago explains.
“I jumped into it because I knew it was going to be a big thing. I haven’t looked back since.”
Running your own business can be stressful, especially when one small mistake can lead to costly damage to your business and your reputation. If you run a specialized business like Sekanskin, here are three situations you might come across, along with tips on how to handle them.
What if you’re late for a very important date?
Typically, before you start any work for your clients, realistic timelines will be discussed and agreed upon. Various factors are considered when determining these timelines, including other current projects you may be working on, and the estimated amount of time required for the specific project. In most cases, you probably have enough previous experience with similar projects to provide a realistic deadline. But, as we all know, mistakes can happen, and everything may not always go according to plan.
No matter how careful and meticulous you are with your planning, unexpected events may pop up, mistakes happen, and oversights can be made. And while you may be able to ask for project extensions, sometimes a missed deadline could lead to financial ramifications for your client. If your client suffers a loss due to an error or omission in your work, it could expose your business to costly lawsuits.
Imagine you’re a freelance graphic designer and an editor from a local fashion magazine has asked for your help to edit several sponsorship images on their upcoming issue. A contract has been signed, specifying the deadline for work to be delivered by. The day before your work is due, you accidentally drop your hard drive down several flights of stairs, irreparably destroying your hard drive. As a result, you’ve lost all of your work that is due the next day. Because of your accident, the sponsorship images won’t be published in the magazine, which means the sponsorship companies aren’t going to pay your client, the magazine, their fee. The next thing you know, you receive a lengthy email from the magazine saying they’re suing you for their financial loss. Could your bank account handle this?
This is where professional liability insurance can help. This type of coverage is designed to help small business owners who provide a professional or creative service to clients in exchange for a fee. It can often act as protection from unexpected mistakes. It can even help cover legal costs in the event that your business does face a lawsuit. We trust that you’re careful with your work, but sometimes things are out of your control. And while the right insurance policy can be a strong safety net, here are a few other tips to help avoid errors or omissions in your work.
- Organize deadlines, and make sure both you and the client sign-off on the timeline for any project.
- Triple-check all your project requirements before, during and after work has been done.
- Update your clients on a project’s progress along the way. This will help keep expectations as realistic as possible.
- If your work is stored electronically, always back it up to an external hard drive or the cloud.
For more information, check out this infographic on professional liability coverage for small businesses.
Could you finish a project without your equipment?
If you run a specialized business, you know how valuable your equipment is to your operations. Sekanskin is no different—their business relies heavily on state-of-the-art equipment including their industrial printers that print the vinyl wraps and the heaters that help install their designs on vehicles. Without this equipment, it would be challenging, if not impossible, for their business to continue operating.
And this isn’t just a concern for businesses like Tiago’s, many other small business types rely on their equipment for their day-to-day operations. Imagine a baker trying to function without his or her electric stove. Or a contractor trying to complete a project without his or her electric saw. Industrial equipment and machinery are expensive to repair or replace. And if your bank account doesn’t have enough to cover those costs when an unexpected breakdown occurs, your business may need to shut down temporarily, which would lead to a loss of income. It will also interrupt your customers’ experiences with your business, which can be bad for publicity.
That’s where equipment breakdown insurance comes in. While this coverage is typically only seen as necessary for large manufacturers, it’s actually important for businesses of all shapes and sizes. If your business’ day-to-day operations are dependent on equipment, then you may want to consider getting equipment breakdown insurance.
Many small business owners feel equipment breakdown insurance is unnecessary because they believe they’re protected by warranties—this may not always be the case.
We know expensive equipment typically comes with a warranty. We hear it all the time from small business owners when they’re shopping for insurance options, and we’re here to debunk the myth of warranties. It’s very important to read what is and what isn’t covered under your warranty when purchasing equipment. There are a number of things that aren’t covered under most equipment warranties, including operator error. Operator error means that the cause of the breakdown was the operator using the tool improperly. For example, if you have an expensive electric saw for your contracting business, and you pull on the cord to unplug it one day and cause the cord to break—your warranty likely wouldn’t cover the cost of repairs.
Having their vinyl printer breakdown suddenly and without warning just before they finish an install is the last thing a business like Sekanskin wants to deal with. If you rely on your business equipment to get the job done, then you need to consider equipment breakdown insurance.
Slips, trips and falls—oh my!
There is no business too small for insurance. Every business faces risks from the minute they start operating. If your business has a physical business space like Sekanskin does, chances are you will have clients walking in and out of your property on a regular basis, which puts you at risk for third party liability claims. If someone slips, trips or falls at your business and suffers an injury, they could sue your business for any resulting damages. Even if you operate your business from home and don’t necessarily see your clients or customers on a regular basis, this is still a concern. Delivery persons or maintenance workers could injure themselves while visiting your home-based business, which could also lead to a lawsuit in the end.
Some small business owners don’t know they need liability insurance, or they think it’s too expensive, and some think they can mitigate the risk on their own. But the truth is every business faces liability risks, and insurance could be the safety net you need to protect your bottom line. Mitigating risk is great, but you should always be prepared in case the worst happens.
There is no business too small for insurance.
The good news is a TruShield commercial general liability insurance (CGL insurance) can help! In the event that your business is found legally liable for an injury to a third party, a CGL policy can help protect you by mitigating some of the costs associated with these types of lawsuits.
Thinking about getting insurance? Don’t Sekan guess it
It’s important to understand the risks that go hand-in-hand with operating your small business and have proper insurance coverage in case things go awry. For a business like Sekanskin, working with tight deadlines, operating state-of-the-art equipment, and keeping their business environment safe for anyone who visits it are just a few of the risks they face daily.Running a small business is not always easy, but knowing the risks that come with it and having the right insurance coverage can help make things easier.
We want to thank Sekanskin for participating in our series Founders: Behind the Hustle! Be sure to visit their website, check out their shop, and follow them on Instagram and Twitter to see the projects they are working on. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Founders: Behind the Hustle series. Stay hustlin’!
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This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to coverage. See policy for details.