The 3 Stages of Small Business Financial Planning

With the shortness of jobs these days, many college graduates decide to take matters into their own hands. If you are a professional in the auto body industry, you may consider opening up your own garage – or perhaps it is already up and running.  Whatever the case is, it is important that you go through specific steps to succeed… this means small business financial planning. When it comes to small business financial planning, there are a few main stages that may describe where your business is at this very moment.

The three stages are:

  1.  Formation Stage – covering the basics for a new business
    2.    Accumulation Stage – the stage in which your business is established but still growing
    3.    Mature Stage – the stage where you may be approaching retirement

Each one of these stages is important – and of course, each one of these stages will come with its own set of responsibilities. As your “go to” garage insurance agency, we are here to discuss which types of insurance needs to consider at each stage. We believe that the following would be a good place  to start for each stage…

Formation Stage
•    Do you have a will written? If so, is it up to date?
•    Have you considered a garage insurance package from Wolpert Insurance?
•    Have you considered key-person life insurance? It can protect both you and your family.
•    Have you protected yourself against disability?
•    Do you supply stellar benefits to your employees, including group life, health, disability and more?
•    Have you thought about implementing a stock redemption agreement or a buy/sell agreement with partners or stockholders?

Accumulation Stage
•    Have you kept up with reviewing the will and business arrangements?
•    Have you considered improving benefits for your employees?
•    Have you given your employees raises?
•    Have you considered reviewing your group insurance and key-employee insurance? You may need to purchase more.

Mature Stage
•    Have you review your wills and trusts with Wolpert Insurance?
•    Have you made reorganization agreements and plans?
•    Have you improved employee salaries – especially your important ones?
•    Have you thought about making charitable bequests to save income?

These are the questions that you should be asking yourself! Of course, our agents are here to help you, too.

So, where does your business fall? If you are ready to discuss the stage of your business with one of our agents at Wolpert Insurance, please do not hesitate to call 800-299-6819. We would be more than happy to get to know your auto repair shop and introduce you to some solutions that may be implemented for your success. We look forward to speaking with you!

Why Do I Need Equipment Breakdown Coverage?

We’re back with another frequently asked question in the auto body shop and garage field. This week, we would like to discuss the need for equipment breakdown coverage.

Depending on the equipment and tools that your shop uses on a daily basis, you may be in dire need of this specialized policy. All too often, business owners will be denied coverage because he or she “assumed” that their property insurance covered ALL equipment. At times, this is not the case because property insurance may only cover external causes – not internal causes.

So, why should you consider this policy? Here are just a few reasons:

  •  New technology, such as computerized equipment, is subject to breakdowns. If your shop uses any type of new technology, you may find out how expensive it can be to repair. Having this coverage in place may aid you during such times.
  •  Do your employees travel with equipment from the shop? If a breakdown or accident occurs in a place other than onsite, it may not be insured by a traditional property policy.
  •  Equipment breakdown coverage may cover a number of assets, including: heating systems, boiler and pressure vessels, electrical systems, production machinery, air conditioning systems, and much more.

As you can see, this policy could come in handy when something unexpected happens. The last thing that you need as the owner of a shop is to experience an interruption in business – this could cost you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

At Wolpert Insurance we try to guide our clients to the insurance solutions that they feel are right for them. With that being said, we believe that many garage and auto body repair shop owners will benefit greatly by having equipment breakdown coverage in place. If you are interested in learning more about this specific garage insurance policy, do not hesitate to call us at 800-299-6819. We would be more than happy to go into further detail!

What are Antiknock Agents?

We’re back with another FAQ to answer – garage and auto body shop style! While you may be focused on the tools and machinery that pose risks to the workplace and its employees, it is a good idea to think about chemicals, too.

Whether you are an employer or employee in a garage and auto body shop, it is crucial to be aware of the chemicals that you are working with. You must have a clear understanding of its contents, the hazards and how to prevent injury/illness.  This week, we would like to zone in on antiknock agents.

What are antiknock agents?

In short, an antiknock agent is a gasoline additive. The main purpose of having antiknock agents in the shop is to reduce engine knocking and increase fuel octane rating. Sometimes, these are made up of the following:

  •  Methylpentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT)
    •    Ketone solvents (such as methyl isobutyl keton)

In plain words, these ingredients may be harmful to you and your employees, possibly causing eye irritation, breathing problems, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and more.

Being exposed to MMT on a daily basis may have harsh long-term effects, such as damaged kidneys and liver. The Manganese found in MMT is a potent neurotoxin, making it a cause for concern in the shop. Even fine particles in the air that contain manganese can be harmful. These toxins can be absorbed in an employees’ blood through the lungs and cause damage to the central nervous system.

It is also important to note that exposure to manganese may lead to a progressive neurological syndrome, called manganism. Symptoms are said to include:

  •  Impaired motor skills and coordination
    •    Hyper-irritability
    •    Nervousness
    •    Hallucinations
    •    and more…

If a mechanic in your shop is experiencing such things, he or she should see a doctor.

It is clear that antiknock agents are not worth messing around with! As an employer, it is your duty to educate employees on these gasoline additives and all chemicals that employees could be exposed to in the workplace. It’s also your job to make sure that all the necessary steps are taken to properly educate your staff on safety measures to help avoid the worst case scenarios.

At Wolpert Insurance, we understand that. We can hep! We realize that your goal may be to obtain comprehensive and affordable garage insurance solutions, so we take our services a step further. We enjoy educating garage owners in the state of Massachusetts by answering FAQs and more. Be sure to come back next week for another informative blog post!

Does OSHA Really Require Employers to Keep MSDSs for 30 Years?

We are back again with another great question! Our garage insurance agency enjoys being a guru in the auto body and garage business. We sincerely hope that you enjoy our knowledge, questions, and answers, as well.

This week’s question:

Are employers REQUIRED to hold on to material safety data sheets for 30 years?

This question is often up for debate. This week, Wolpert Insurance is here with the answer.

NO, you are not required to keep MDSDs for 30 years. HOWEVER, you ARE required to keep some record of the identity of the substance or agents to which employees are exposed to, for at least 30 years. If you choose NOT to keep the actual material safety data sheets, you will need to have the following information on the chemical:

  •  Chemical Name
    •    Info on where and when it is used

This information must be recorded and held onto for a minimum of 30 years. Of course, if you want to keep MSDSs, that is great! These sheets are accepted as a form of record. Honestly, this may be the easiest way to follow OSHA regulations. You may even want to consider purchasing a good electronic MSDS management tool. This is an easy way to make sure you are in compliance with OSHA standards. To learn more, please check out the OSHA website, here.

At Wolpert Insurance, it is our goal to provide you with information that matters. We understand that you are busy as the owner of a garage and auto body shop, which is why we take the time to  relay information to you. Be sure to come back soon – we are always updating!