Car valeting is big business, with an estimated 20,000 car wash companies operating the length and breadth of the UK*, many in disused garage forecourts, pub car parks and other public spaces.
In the motor trades industry, vehicle valeting has been an essential added value service as a final sign off before delivery or customer pickup. But maintaining quality and protecting reputation in an often unregulated marketplace means that it pays to have appropriate valeting insurance.
What was previously viewed as a wash and brush up at the conclusion of a vehicle sale has now blossomed into a full-service sector industry. No longer just a wash, vacuum and polish, services include waxing, scratch removal and paint enhancement, shampoo and steam fabric protection and even vinyl sign removal from commercial vehicles.
Vehicle valeting can be found in both permanently sited operations or a mobile service that is conducted at a person’s home or business premises. Whatever the setup, if yours is a valeting company, it must still be bound by the same workplace safety, environmental and employment legislation as anywhere else. And that’s why specific vehicle valeting insurance is so important. Correct insurance cover should be provided whether you work on a site or on a mobile basis.
Tailored Insurance for Valeting Services
Accidents can happen when you least expect them. Although not the most dangerous of industries, all it takes is a single accident to leave a valeting business in financial collapse.
Unless you have the correct insurance in place to protect you from such contingencies, you’ll end up having to pay any compensation from your own pocket. Don’t be tricked into thinking a common business insurance policy will suffice, you need tailored insurance built around your valeting trade.
Ultimately the motor trade policy will cover you to move customers’ vehicles up to a specific value whilst they’re in your control.
Valeting insurance cover could include:
Road Risks, Public and Employers' Liability and Equipment
Cover for new ventures that operate in public and private car parks as well as supermarkets, garages or sites leased a valeting company
Cover for when you move customers' vehicles
Increased Liability for Valeters
Employers’ liability has become exceptionally important with the use of hazardous materials such as hydrochloric acid and strong bleaching chemicals being used in the valeting process.
In a recent report by the BBC, Conservative MP Colin Clark asked how serious health and safety concerns were relating to corrosive chemicals, saying hospitals had seen evidence of car-wash workers developing trench foot because of soaking wet feet and hydrochloric acid burns.
Then there is the environmental impact. “You’ve got to look out for what they’re washing on,” says Dawn Frazer, managing director of the Car Wash Advisory Service (CWAS), which has started a WashMark scheme for legitimate car washes.
Because tarmac is porous, she added: "Any chemical used in the wash is going to go straight into the subsoil." Concrete prevents this, while a sludge trap or similar device should be used to stop chemicals from entering waterways or sewers.
Compliances for Valeting
The CWAS, which is funded by industry membership, is promoting its WashMark certificate of quality and compliance. Businesses that want the badge must share their company accounts and employment and environmental practices with a visiting inspector.
In another development, Cheshire East Council is to draw up clearer rules for dealing with planning applications for hand car washes – following concerns around a number of operational issues. The document will seek to give clearer guidance around a number of planning issues, including noise nuisance, unsightly canopies, standing traffic in residential areas and potential air quality issues and foul water contamination.
All of these new developments will certainly have an impact on valeters’ liability and will strengthen the need for adequate insurance in an ever-growing market. For more information on motor trade valeting insurance call Tradex on 01708 678 400.
*Source Car Wash Advisory Service