Summer season is when bike shops thrive. Longer days and warmer weather bring increased traffic and sales to your shop, but it can bring increased risks, as well. Here’s how to risk proof your bike shop this summer.
Beat the Heat
Summer temperatures can soar up to triple digits and that means a greater chance for heat-related illnesses and heat stroke. Your employees are outside leading skill shops, giving lessons, and hosting bike camps which means they’re out in the elements. A heat-related employee illness can lead to a workers’ comp claim. And if your employee needs time off to recover you could also be short handed during this crucial season.
Your customers are also at risk for heat-related illnesses if you are providing camps and/or lessons. A customer who becomes ill or gets injured while participating in your mountain biking skills camp could bring a general liability claim against your business.
To beat the heat, make sure employees and/or customers who will be out in the heat are staying hydrated. Water is best; provide ample amounts and encourage employees to choose it over caffeinated beverages and sports drinks.
Avoid Outdoor Exposure
The heat isn’t the only risk your employees or customers face when they’re outside during the summertime. Other outdoor risks include:
- Insect bites or bee stings
- Snakes, bears, and other animals
Encourage your employees or customers to wear protective clothing, hats, and sunscreen to avoid sunburns. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are best. To get the most protection, sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every two hours.
Insect repellents and appropriate clothing can help deter insect bites. Some people are highly allergic to bee stings, so you may want to have an Epipen or antihistamine on hand in case of an emergency. Be sure your employees are trained to recognize the signs of a severe bee sting allergy, as well.
If your customers will be taking lessons or classes in areas with known predators be sure they know the dangers and how to avoid them. Bear spray and bear bells for bikes can help in the event a rider or employee unexpectedly comes across a bear during a lesson.
New Hires and Seasonal Employees
During peak season you may have a lot of new faces around the shop to help keep up with demand. But new hires and seasonal employees can bring some increased risks to your shop, too.
New hires are less experienced and more likely to make a mistake that could lead to a liability claim, for example.
- A frazzled new employee forgets to pick up some inventory that was left on the floor and a customer trips and falls.
- An inexperienced seasonal hire offers to load a newly purchased bike onto a customer’s car and damages an expensive bike rack in the process.
Take the time to properly train your new hires and seasonals to help reduce these risks. A mentorship program can also help; partner new hires with an experienced, year-round shop employee who knows the ropes, routines, and rules.
Protect Property on the Move
Trade shows and exhibitions mean your inventory is on the move during peak season. If you take bikes, paddleboards, kayaks, helmets, and other inventory out of your shop, there’s a chance that something could go wrong.
- The truck carrying your inventory could be involved in a car accident on the way to a show.
- A fire at an exhibition center could destroy your display of bikes and boards.
- Your demo bikes could end up stolen from a loading dock.
Talk to your insurance professional about the best ways to cover your inventory against loss in transit and while stored off-site if you plan on participating in any trade shows or exhibits this summer. Be sure your bike shop insurance coverage protects your inventory no matter where you take it.
Avoid Increasing Road Risks
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a period that AAA calls the 100 Deadliest Days because of the increased risk of fatal crashes on the road. During summer months more people are on the roads, more teen drivers are out, and more DUIs occur than any other time of the year.
What does this mean for your business?
It means your employees are at greater risk if they’re using your business autos. Whether it’s your assistant shop manager going for a lunch run to grab sandwiches for the crew, the skills camp instructor driving a van full of customers and bikes to the camp location, or the repair shop employee who is out picking up some new tools and a part, the risks of the road intensify during summer months.
Be sure your commercial auto insurance is up to date. Talk to employees about the increased risks of auto accidents during summer time. Check driving records of employees that will use your vehicles, and have a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use by anyone who may operate your company vehicles.
Protect Against Burglaries, Break Ins, and Cyber Crime
Crime rates tend to rise with the temperatures. While most instances of summer burglaries happen at residential properties, businesses can also be targets. Seasonal businesses like bike shops may have more cash on hand in the summer months which may make you a target for savvy criminals.
Don’t just rely on door locks to keep your bike shop, cash, and inventory secure against break ins. Commercial security alarms are one of the most effective responses to a forced entry. Before you leave at night be sure all cash registers are emptied and secured, with other valuables, in a safe or other secure location.
Cyber crime happens all year round and is an increasing threat for businesses of all types and sizes. Retailers who accept payments through a point-of-sale (POS) system are vulnerable to hacks that can put customer credit cards and bank account information at risk.
Make sure your POS system is up to date and running on a supported, updated operating system that supports data encryption. Bank cards are being updated with EMV (chip) technology. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to migrate your POS system from a swipe model to equipment that’s EMV compliant to help protect your customer’s payment information.
Talk to your insurance professional about adding cyber protection to your commercial coverage to protect you in the event that hackers find another way into your systems.
Put Your Fire Plan in Place
Between wildfires that spread rapidly through dry hillsides to fires caused by fireworks, summer brings an increased risk for fire and smoke damage to residential and commercial properties. Here are three ways you can protect your people in the event of a fire:
- Fire Prevention Plan: Have a written fire prevention plan and make sure your employees know what to do if there is a fire. Be sure to have fire drills at least once a year. Keep fire extinguishers on hand and maintained.
- Emergency Evacuation Plan: Even if you have a small shop, be sure your employees and customers know how to safely exit your building in the event of a fire.
- First Aid: Keep a well-stocked first aid kit on hand and be sure all employees know where to find it.
Summer season is great for bike shop owners who see business pick up in the warm months. Being aware of the business risks that increase along with temperatures can help you keep your summer profits, inventory, customers, and employees safe this summer.