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workers compensation?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    How many of you guys supply this to your workers?

    I guess a better question would be,

    How many employees do you employee yearly, for full work weeks and are they on the books?

    Most places i know of in NJ, most guys are paid either check, cash, on or off the books but i can't think of any companies that are not huge like brickmans, or semi-large companies with 50+ employees that offer benefit packages, workers compensation, paid on the books etc.?

    I have a job to bid out for a descent size apartment complex, which needs a lot of work, and one of their requirements are workers compensation.

    Their other requirement is a 2 million liability umbrella insurance, which mine is only 1 mill general liability :cry:

    Not that i cant change or increase it, but sometimes i think the 1 mill is overkill to begin with, so many companies locally have no insurance or 100k or some # very low.

    Can i squeak by without providing "what" proof of having workers compensation for my employees? I only have two guys who work for me and probably a third this coming spring of 08. One is my brother which handles everything that i can if I am not on the job site. Both are paid cash/check, descent pay but no comp/benefits etc. Should i just not waste hours of my time and bid on this place?

    I would love the work for next year, it includes a detailed snow removal contract for 6 buildings/parking lots, weekly lawn service, hedge trimming/pruning monthly, mulching 2x yearly, fertilizer, leaf cleanup, the works.

    This would secure a good day or two for the three of us currently and for next year, i could send my brother/crew boss out with the two other employees and now have to be there 100% of the time myself.

    Keep in mind, this is the first time i've had a chance to bid on something as large as an apartment complex which isnt just open land to mow/maintain, and also has several aspects to the bid, not just mowing or not just a mulching job. Hope im in the ballpark in the end :/
  2. snomaha

    snomaha LawnSite Bronze Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 1,246

    What your doing is illegal.
    Good luck the first time someone gets injured. Your putting yourself, employees and customers at risk.
  3. 1cooltreeguy

    1cooltreeguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 630

    Do it right, get a workers comp. insurance policy - it is cheap unless you are doing trees. Start out right - your customers will appreciate that and you will benefit in the long run. We have many employees and do it right. It is a pain but the cost for doin business.
  4. snomaha

    snomaha LawnSite Bronze Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 1,246

    This is from the NJ DOL.

  5. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    if you have three or more full time employees, you MUST, by law have workers comp... it is NOT a benefit offered...

    you also are ignorant if you are running a business and do not carry workmans comp. all it takes is one of your employees getting hurt and you could loose everything you have, or ever hope to have......it happens all the time.

    second.. as for the general liability issue,
    we had a pool heater at a condo complex catch fire this year.. $15 million in damages.... their insurance company is suing every company that had anything to do with the property....
    this is why you should have a larger liability policy if you are doing commercial work.
  6. mslawn

    mslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from LA
    Messages: 483

    Until you get legal, let a legit company handle it!
  7. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    let me guess you want to play with the big dogs but your a nickel and dime operation.:hammerhead: Any one that does not have workers comp is a nickel and dime operation and i dont care who i piss off with that comment. 1 small injury you will loose everything you have if you have any thing. As far as ins. liab. what a lot of companies recquire yes it divides the men from the boys. I carry proper liab. ins., workers comp, and my employees are on the books and taxed. This is the legal and proper way of running a business and i expect the guy whom im bidding against to have the same business ethics i have.
  8. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    That sucks yardpro... Ive done several things in the last couple years to become fully 100% legal, not just a joe smoe on the side..

    -Ive outfitted ALL trailers and trucks with regulation vinyl, company name etc.
    -All registrations registered to the company
    -Switched to commercial auto insurance, which went literally from $700 on my old truck to $2200
    -Increased commercial weight ratings on commercial registrations, much higher, 12k for f150, 19k for f350.
    -Added business insurance $2k yearly and that only is for myself and my brother doing work, technically my 3rd helper i had part of this summer isnt on there or covered. Does not cover snow plowing so i just still did snow blowing and used my tractor.
    -Increased 500k to 1mil general liability coverage
    -Filed with NJ for registration for a registered contractor, since i dont only do lawns.
    -Joined NJBIA
    -Switched insurance carriers for commercial auto insurance to cover liability of trailers not just trucks which are pulling them

    ALL of this has costed a fortune. Yes my equipment looks nice compared to the joe smoes now, and im legit in what i do but it has not generated any extra business. I still am not FULL time in this work. I usually only have ~3 days per week of full work to do and that includes lawn service. Only once in a while will i eat up a week doing some big landscape job.

    I have fees for the above registrations, insurances, titles, equipment payments, etc... and this year ive lost money so far. Ive made descent money in past years being "non-legal" and just mowing lawns for "fun". Everyone says its hard, and now what im running into is all the small guys are causing me to loose accounts locally. One here one there, it does add up, and pisses me off to no end that im going into the fall/winter season soon and still no where near comming out ahead for 2007.

    So please, spare me the illegal bullshit, theres probably 80% of the members of lawnsite arnt legit in any way shape or form, I dont have "ONE" item that i should have for my legit business, and ya jump all over me?

    thanks for the NJ DOL info, i didnt realize that EVERY employer that to supply their employees with Workers compensation insurance coverage, i guess its from my past experience of working for so many companies who didnt carry it or didnt mention it. Ive already called to be supplied a form to apply for coverage from my local Insurance agency.
  9. M&SLawnCare

    M&SLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 306

    If it was easy, everyone and their brother would be doing it and succeeding (yes i know everyone and their brother has tried it lol, but how many last past their first year:hammerhead: ). First off do you have a business plan? I assume not considering your previous post. Sit down, crunch numbers, decide what you *NEED* and what you don't.

    Theirs most likely no reason for you to mess with the weight ratings on your vehicles. You don't need "regulation" vinyl signs on your truck. Sure it looks nice, but so does magnets, or nothing if money is that tight. You don't need to join NJBIA. Your insurance sounds high imo, so you probably need to consult an agent and have him set up everything for you. Workers comp is a basic element of insurance your agent should have made you aware of.

    Looking over your equipment, why on earth do you have 3 trucks (one being brand new), 3 trailers, enough equipment to outfit 2 crews, and its just you and one other guy working 3 days a week?!? I think your problem with being behind for the year has more to do with excessive spending on un-needed equipment then making things legit.

    You need to go back to the basics and think things through. Come up with some form of plan for your business and decide what equipment you *need* and what you don't. Not what equipment you *want*. Then sell off the excessive equipment. If you only have enough work for 3 days, then go solo. Wait to add help until you have enough work to justify it. As soon as you add an employee your insurance goes through the roof and you need to provide workers comp (a solo op does not need workers comp, that saves me a quoted 2400$ a year alone.)

    Sounds to me like your really serious about wanting to make this a success, but you fell into the pitfall so many make about spending too much money to fast in hopes of increasing income.
  10. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    Workers comp is not an end all for liability.
    It does not protect anyone.
    It just is a way for the employee of a company too get some sort of disability payment if they are hurt on the job.
    The only absolute protection for the customer is too have a liability waver signed by all contractors and contractors employee.

    If your employee gets hurt on the a job he can sue anyone he wants and as an employer you can be held responsible with or without workers comp.

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