The holidays may be over, but we still have plenty of cold weather weeks ahead. Left unchecked, winter weather can wreak havoc on small businesses – incurring costs, reducing revenues, and potentially putting your staff in harm’s way. Thriving during this season is more than taking care of your physical office business. Here is our CPI checklist to help you winterize your small business.
20+ Ways to Winterize Your Small Business
Outdoor/ Exterior Winter Maintenance Tasks:
When it comes to winterizing your small business, one of the most important things to focus on is outdoor and exterior maintenance tasks.
- Start with preparing the surrounding terrain. Begin with pre-salting parking lots, walkways, and sidewalks. Make sure to keep extra on hand, just in case.
- Don’t forget to remove outside hoses and turn off spigots or other external water sources. Severe weather and freezing cause trapped water in the fixtures to expand, causing ruptures and damage to structures.
- Keep your property clear of debris that could hurt you later. A half-fallen tree or a couple of branches might not seem like a big deal, but a little ice can turn those arbors into big problems.
- Make lighting a priority. Good lighting is needed to keep people safe around your property. Replace lightbulbs, fix malfunctioning fixtures, install powerful flood lights and make sure you have backups!
- Winterproof your windows, doors, or other entryways. We all know the costs associated with wasting precious air conditioning or heat. Prevent heat loss by winterizing your property.
- Get your property inspected by professionals. Looking for cracks in your structures or leaky pipes is essential to fixing your problems. Diagnose your issues with experts before fixing them.
- Keep your roof clear. A routine roof cleaning is something we tend to neglect. Extra weight from a weather mix might be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
- Don’t procrastinate with regular maintenance. Don’t push repairs back another season. Make sure you’re prepared for the worst weather conditions and keep your business healthy and ready.
- Keep work vehicles maintained and inspected. If there’s a chance of snowstorms, be sure to keep an emergency kit in the vehicle with blankets, a shovel, flares, water and snacks, and other supplies.
- Double-check that your business has adequate insurance coverage, including liability coverage in the event someone slips or falls and is injured on your premises.
Indoor Winter Maintenance Tasks/Upkeep:
Keeping your exterior safe is just the first step. Winterizing the interior of your business will make your business last for the long haul.
- Insulate and maintain your pipes. The winter temperatures can cause catastrophic damage to your property. Keep water trickling down your pipes and get them temperature insulated before it’s too late
- Insulate/seal your attics/ storage spaces. These areas are normally ignored when it comes to preventing incoming drafts. Empty attics, crawlspaces, and unfinished basements are the main culprits.
- Clean your chimney (If your business has one.) If too much debris is stuck within, there is a high chance of indoor fire and smoke inhalation. Get this soot out of the way!
- Maintain your heat sources. Ensure your heat source(s) are ready to sustain your property throughout the months. You don’t want to be caught without it.
- HVAC systems need constant maintenance. Winter seasons are no exception.
- Keep your detectors up to standard. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors will keep you safe if something happens.
- Start stocking up on emergency supplies. Even when we take all these precautions, the worst could happen. You should always keep back up food, water, batteries, blankets, etc. If you can, a generator would be ideal.
- Along with having a large backup of supplies, you should also have enough stock to get you through an extended period of time. You can start back ordering supplies just to make sure you have enough for a few months of dangerous conditions
- Get seasonal staff hired, trained and ready. After you’ve finished insulating and troubleshooting, get a great staff to make your season as smooth as possible. For some businesses, the winter season is the most lucrative.
- Create and implement an emergency plan. You should always be ready for any obstacles that come your way. The winter weather is just the same. This could be as simple as safety precautions, procedures, or complex plans to keep you and others safe.
- Take advantage of remote work. Let employees stay home if the weather is dangerous. We can avoid unnecessary auto accidents by utilizing remote-work technology like Zoom and Teams.
- Have a weather alert/ announcement system for your team. Proactively communicate with employees about the latest weather conditions and expectations for their work day.
- Invest in security cameras to help keep your business and employees safe during the winter months. Be sure to use a mix of outdoor and indoor cameras that can function properly in the colder weather.
As you prepare for winter, remember to take a proactive approach to protect your business inside and out. With the right planning, and partner, you can keep your business running smoothly and safely all season long. CPI is proud to offer small businesses a variety of business security systems to help them keep their businesses safe and operational during the winter months and the warmer months to come.