This post was created for and sponsored by SERVPRO.
Winter is a time of loss. Trees lose their leaves, most of North America loses daylight, and shoppers across the country lose their minds trying to find the best Black Friday deals and Christmas specials. And with those wintertime losses come cold temperatures, frost, ice, and snowfall. It can be a beautiful time of year, but also a scary one — especially if you’re a business owner.
Winter weather, for businesses, can cause losses of other kinds. Productivity can wither, logistics can become a nightmare, and severe winter weather can mean the potential for lost or damaged goods and assets. Many business owners don’t realize how much is at stake, as a winter freeze can literally put your business operations on ice if you enter the season unprepared.
Needless to say, there’s a lot at stake for businesses during a winter storm. For that reason, preparation is of the utmost importance. Here are a handful of things that can and will be lost — at an enormous expense — to businesses during a winter freeze.
Though your business doesn’t necessarily “own” utilities like electricity and water, you are paying for it — and in the event of a severe winter storm, there’s a high probability that you could lose your water service or power. Ice and snow can take down power lines, or cause issues with sewer and plumbing systems. That can leave you in the dark, and high and dry during times when you need your utilities the most.
Be prepared for unexpected losses of power and water, and make sure your business won’t suffer any catastrophic losses as a result of outages.
As a business owner, can you guess what might happen to your inventory when power and water service go out? In some cases, thousands, if not millions of dollars worth of inventory can be destroyed. Inventory can be destroyed for because of a lack of refrigeration, heat, or water – all of which can be lost during a winter storm. But cold temperatures can zap your inventory just as easily, and if your building sustains damage from a winter storm, flooding and mold can also become an issue. Be sure your inventory is protected — or at the very least, that you’re able to respond to a potential threat fast.
Many people don’t realize it, but cold temperatures and freezes can and will impact electronics. For business owners, this can mean potential threats to the electronic devices used to actually conduct business operations — say the computers and electronic components around your store or building — as well as your inventory, depending on what sector you’re in. Cold temperatures can also suck up battery life, so you’ll want to make sure any important electronics systems are insulated or protected.
Unprotected plumbing in cold weather can lead to a host of issues. If your plumbing and pipes in and around your business are not insulated or completely unprotected from the cold, they can freeze and potentially burst. Then, you’re not only looking at replacement costs for the plumbing itself but the cleanup costs as well. Burst pipes can cause floods within your business structures, and mold issues if left untreated. Don’t assume your pipes will make it through the winter unscathed, as a miscalculation could end up being costly.
It’s not just the systems and inventory within your business that are at risk from a winter storm, the building or structure that houses your business can be damaged as well. Winter storms and blizzards often boast high winds and precipitation, which can break windows, lead to falling trees or branches, and cause flooding issues when temperatures do warm up. Water can seep into cracks in roofs and foundations, leading to unforeseen mold problems, and more. On top of that, cold weather can drive pests, like mice or rats, into your business structures. That means additional health and safety issues for you to deal with.
If winter weather and cold snaps aren’t taken as serious potential problems, they can cost business owners tens of thousands in additional costs. Making the effort to prepare and plan for cold weather emergencies can not only save you money in the future, but give you peace of mind as you know that you’ll be able to quickly and effectively serve your community when its in need.