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As a small business owner, you want to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row. If the unexpected should happen, (and it’s only a matter of time before it does), you’ll want to be prepared. Operating your own vehicle fleet will require that you conduct a thorough background check of your employees, train your drivers and invest in commercial vehicle insurance.

Getting Down to Business
If your business is not properly insured, you stand to lose it. According to Forbes, 8 out of ten small businesses close their doors after their first 18 months of business. A prominent reason cited for this is the lack of planning on behalf of the business’s founder. Don’t let this happen to you. Here are some tips to get your business started on the right track.

Hire the Right People
When you’re starting a business you want to hit the ground running, and that means getting people in fast. Or does it? Fleet Financials, a magazine that specializes in offering advice to companies in the business of transport, advises that you need to conduct a thorough reading into the background of your potential employees, particularly into their driving records. If you have found candidates you are deeply considering, ask them to sign a disclosure statement that would allow you to view their private driving records. Because of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, driving records are not made available to the public. Once you have learned their driving history and have checked with their references, it’s time to make the final call.

Driver Class Enrollment
Before your associates hit the road for deliveries or transportation, require that they (and you by example) attend a driver’s training class. Because most people have not been in a driver’s education program since high school, it is imperative that everyone enroll in a training course to correct any bad driving habits. Not only is this an excellent teaching moment, it’s also a great group bonding experience. You will want your employees to feel comfortable (but still professional) with you and their colleagues. This will create positive working relationship and make the work environment a positive one.

Invest in Commercial Vehicle Insurance
If you or one of your employees should cause a vehicle accident and your fleet is uninsured, you face fines, penalties, the risk of being sued and losing your business in an effort to pay for the damages. Commercial vehicle insurance includes:

− Collision coverage
− Comprehensive coverage
− Bodily injury liability
− Property damage liability
− Towing and labor
− Medical payments
− Substitution transportation

As you have likely noticed, commercial vehicle insurance is very similar to the private car insurance you already have. Only unlike your private car insurance, commercial vehicle insurance covers your business and all of your listed employees. You can choose from one of the policies above or bundle them all together for a discounted premium. Just keep in mind that you are required by state law to carry commercial business insurance for your company’s fleet, so make sure you are obeying your state’s laws.

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