All along the East Coast, small businesses are trying to get back up and running after superstorm Sandy. But for those faced with physical damage and lost profit, the road back to normal may be long and bumpy.
Here's what to know if your business has been hurt by Sandy:
Q: What's the first thing to do to get my business open again?
For most small businesses, it is the employees who are the most important assets and who can most help get things back to normal. So if you haven't done so already, call them and find out what they, personally, are up against, and offer any assistance you can. The quicker they can get their affairs settled, the quicker they can get back to work.
Q: I have physical damage to my building. Should I try to repair it myself or hold out for my insurance company?
Do what is possible to make the business safe, sanitary and secure, even if you are planning to file an insurance claim. But make sure to document anything that you throw away or repair. Take photographs and hold on to receipts from service companies that are helping you repair the damage. So, for instance, if your restaurant's freezers died, don't let the food go moldy. If your basement flooded, pump it out.
Q: I have damage that isn't covered by my insurance policy. What do I do?
In many cases, business and homeowners may find that certain occurrences, a flood or sewage backup for instance, aren't included in their business or home-insurance policy. Also, some owners don't have business-interruption insurance.
For those in a declared disaster area, certain government programs can step in to help. The best way for business owners and residents to get the attention of the appropriate government agency is to register through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, by visiting disasterassistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-3362. Once your information is recorded there, it will also be automatically recorded at other agencies, such as the Small Business Administration, or SBA, which provide additional disaster-help services.
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