Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Janitorial Services

Janitorial worker washing floor
By: 
Mordechai Kamenetsky
Last Updated: 
May 22, 2023
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Like all industries, workers’ compensation for janitorial services provides coverage for lost wages and medical expenses related to illnesses or injuries sustained while on the job.

Almost every state in the country has its own laws for this coverage, which can vary, but the basics of coverage are the same. And before you can get into buying the right policy, you have to know how to classify your workers and maintain compliance with all the laws. 

Workers’ Compensation Protects Employees and Businesses

Workers’ Compensation Protects Employees and Businesses 

If a cleaning person slips on a freshly buffed floor and hurts their ankle, that’s going to cost your janitorial or cleaning business a lot of money unless you’re properly insured.

It’s also going to cause that worker to need medical care, time off work, and perhaps even rehabilitative therapy to get back to 100%. This coverage is designed to protect both employees and the companies that employ them. 

Workers’ compensation insurance can cover medical bills and expenses, as well as lost wages (partial) during time off work related to injury or illness recovery. There are three main areas of coverage involved:

Medical expenses

Medical expenses:

Immediate and ongoing medical costs related to the incident, including medications, surgery, doctors’ visits, specialist referrals, etc., and death benefits for fatal incidents. 

Lawsuit costs

Lawsuit costs:

Court costs, lawyer fees, witness fees, and settlement costs are all covered by this area of workers’ comp insurance. 

Compliance

Compliance:

This is simply about maintaining coverage that is compliant with the law in your state, as fines can be imposed for those who do not comply. 

Within this coverage, there are also two main categories to consider. 

Types of Janitorial Services 

Janitorial Services Classification Codes and Considerations

Janitorial Services Classification Codes and Considerations

The classification of a janitorial services business can be a bit tricky. That’s because even though some companies are divided into residential and commercial services, there are also plenty that do both. Therefore, it’s best to understand the classifications before you dive in. 

  • 0917 – This is the general code for residential cleaning services. It’s also used by businesses that do both types of cleaning, but more than 50% is residential. 
  • 9014 – This is the most common classification in janitorial services and it covers general services, commercial services, post-construction cleaning, vacation rental cleaning, pet waste removal, ground-level window cleaning and pressure washing, and other services. 
  • 9170 – This code is specifically for window cleaning done above ground level. We’ll talk more about that below. 
  • 9403 – This is the junk or waste removal code used by any cleaning contractor that specializes in junk removal. With the increase in junk hauling services, a separate code ensures classifications are accurate. 
  • 5610 – If you are doing post-construction cleaning and major debris removal, employees need to be classified in this category. 

In addition to these classifications, there are some special considerations to keep in mind with janitorial workers’ compensation coverage

Combination Services

Combination Services 

If you do both residential and commercial cleaning, you should separate your payroll and make sure that you classify employees accordingly. If the majority of your business is commercial, underwriters may be okay using code 9014 to classify employees. However, you should also have the 0917 code for residential on your policy as an “if any basis” so that it gets paid, even if you are listed primarily as commercial. 

Hood and Vent Cleaning

Hood and Vent Cleaning 

Although hood and vent cleaning is considered part of the 9014 classification, most underwriters don’t like it there. Issues like roof and height exposure are factors that the underwriter doesn’t want to see. Therefore, you should talk to your insurance provider about classifying these services accurately so that you’re covered and claims get paid if anything happens. 

Construction Debris Removal

Construction Debris Removal

While construction cleaning, such as final cleaning or move-in and move-out cleaning, is covered under code 9014, the removal of construction debris is not. If employees are hauling and cleaning up sheet metal, bricks and cinder blocks, etc., it’s going to be under code 5610 instead. Otherwise, you may not get claims paid accurately with your workers’ compensation insurance for janitorial services. 

If you’re only doing 5610 cleanouts once or twice per year, the underwriter may allow you to list as 9014 primarily. You’ll still want to include the other code as an “if any” addition, though. 

Carpet Cleaning

Carpet Cleaning 

Although it’s technically a janitorial service, carpet cleaning is classified as laundry and coded 2581. If you only clean carpets once in a while, you may not need this code. However, if your entire business (or a segment of it) is for carpet cleaning, you need to classify employees under the 2581 code. 

a janitor cleaning the carpet

Off-Ground Window Cleaning

Off-Ground Window Cleaning 

Cleaning exterior windows on tall buildings is not considered general janitorial services. The 9014 code will only cover ground-level cleaning or residential window cleaning. You need to have employees classified under 9710 if they are cleaning windows above the ground. This informs the insurance company of the additional risk involved. 

Pest Control 

Pest Control 

Although it’s under the same class code as janitorial, pest control is fumigation. Therefore, many underwriters won’t write workers’ comp for it even though it’s in the same class. Make sure that you’re being transparent about your business and its operations so that you can properly classify employees and get the protection that your business needs. 

Lawn Care and Maintenance

Lawn Care and Maintenance 

Workers’ compensation insurance for landscapers and lawn maintenance professionals falls under its own classification, not part of janitorial or cleaning services. There are multiple codes, with 0042 being the most common (landscaping or gardening contractor). Other codes include:

  • 9102 – Lawn maintenance, mowing services, and park maintenance (no tree removal or planting)
  • 6217 – Landscaping with tree removal and/or excavation
  • 0042 – Sod or turf installation, general landscape contractor 

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when you’re buying janitorial services insurance, including workers’ comp for janitorial and cleaning businesses. By taking the time to explore your options and better understand the workers’ comp process, you’ll be more prepared to make the right decisions.

You can also enlist the help of the experts to get the perfect workers’ compensation insurance for janitorial services, no matter what kind of cleaning company you run. 

Tips for Saving Money on Janitorial Services Insurance

Tips for Saving Money on Janitorial Services Insurance 

Business insurance can get expensive and when you need different types of coverage, it adds up quickly. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to get the protection that your business needs. If you are in the market for workers’ comp insurance for landscaping businesses, for example, you’ll want to make sure that you stick to that classification in your search. 

  • Looking at cleaning company codes isn’t going to help you because you’re in the wrong class entirely. Other tips for saving include:
  • Make sure payroll is accurate. If you don’t estimate your payroll properly, you’ll have to pay the difference when the policy is up. 
  • Report all incidents. Even things that seem small may become big issues down the road, so you want to report everything right away. Otherwise, you could risk claims being denied because of a lack of prior knowledge or proper procedure. 
  • Have a process in place for filing workers’ comp claims in your janitorial business. This will make things easier for both you and your employees. 
  • Be prepared for an audit at all times. You never know when the request will arise, so make sure that your payroll and insurance records are neat and organized. 
  • Shop around and make sure that you’re getting the best coverage. There are a lot of companies out there claiming to have great prices, but they often skimp on essential coverage—avoid them at all costs. 

When you do it right, you can find the perfect janitorial insurance for your workers’ comp needs, no matter what those might be. Part of that comes in choosing the right company to work with. 

How to Choose Your Insurance Partner 

How to Choose Your Insurance Partner 

Workers’ compensation insurance is based on risk, just like all insurance products. Therefore, some industries and businesses will find that they are considered to be a higher risk and thus pay higher premiums for insurance coverage. The good news is that if you choose a reputable insurance provider, they should be able to get you covered, even if you have a few things working against you

In addition to finding someone that has the coverage that you need, you’ll want to look for an insurance company that has:

  • Experience in business insurance policies and products 
  • Dedicated expertise in workers’ comp for janitorial services, as well as other related coverage
  • A reputation for high-quality service and support 
  • Tools and resources to help you better understand insurance
  • The insurance coverage that you need

If you do it right, you’ll have the perfect coverage for your business in no time. 

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

Workers’ comp insurance for janitors is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Protect your people and protect your investment at the same time by choosing better business coverage that includes premium workers’ compensation insurance for janitorial and cleaning businesses. Partner with the experts at Kickstand Insurance to get your business covered and more.

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Note: The information provided in this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal or insurance advice. Laws and regulations regarding workers' compensation insurance are complex and vary by state and by specific circumstances. Therefore, readers are encouraged to consult with a qualified legal or insurance professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem they might have.

Mordechai Kamenetsky

Mordechai Kamenetsky, co-founder and lead agent of Kickstand, is recognized as an expert in workers' compensation. He is passionate about helping small businesses manage risks and lower their workers' comp costs. In his articles, he educates readers and clients on the intricacies of workers' comp insurance.

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