It is not uncommon for small business owners to fail to have a list compiled of their assets and items that are valuable to them. This list, known as an inventory checklist, is highly beneficial for the small business owner. If you are applying for business insurance or need to file an insurance claim, having a detailed listing of your assets makes the task a whole lot easier.
Why You Need the Checklist
There are a several important reasons why you should have a full inventory checklist for your business, no matter what kind of business you run. First, when you insure your business and your property, the carrier wants to know what assets you won and approximately what they are worth. If you fail to include some pertinent item, it might not be covered. In addition, if you need to file an insurance claim for damage or loss, you can easily look at your inventory checklist and see what is missing or damaged, without omitting items.
Make a List of All Physical Assets
A great way to ensure that you are capturing all of your assets is to look through your business property, room-to-room, and write down all your physical assets. Don’t just write down “computers,” but write down how many computers you have, what type, and how old they are. It’s a great idea to include the model numbers and serial numbers as well, in addition to what you paid for the item.
This will help to determine their actual value or replacement value more easily. When going through each room of your business property, don’t forget about things like business furniture, signage and marketing materials, fixtures, and security cameras. You own these, which makes them part of your business inventory, so they should be included. You also want to include the approximate value of all your business supplies.
Once you believe you’ve completed compiling your list, and you have checked it multiple times in case you missed something, go back to your list of items and gather details. You need to have as many details about each item on your list as you can get.
Taking pictures is a great way to start. Get out your camera or smartphone and start getting pictures of all the physical items in your inventory. Then start writing descriptions for each item, including their purchase value and dates, estimated value, serial numbers, where they were purchased, and if they have a warranty.
Organize Your Lists
If you have a large office, you’re going to have a really long list of items. To make it easier for you and the insurance adjuster, organize your list. A good way to do this is by organizing it by room. For example, if you have two conference rooms, a kitchen, multiple bathrooms, lobby, and a dozen offices, each of these areas will have their own furniture, electronics, and fixtures. Keep them separate so you can easily go to the kitchen section if there was a kitchen fire that caused damaged only in that room.
Once your inventory list is complete, make copies of it and file it somewhere safe. It also helps to have a digital copy of the list. Be sure you get proper commercial insurance to protect your business.