Christmas is nearly upon us and many business-owners and managers will have a busy week ahead of them before they can ‘shut up shop’ and enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation.
So, which areas do you need to focus on when closing down a business for the holidays?
Inside your premises
- Make sure all valuables are locked away safely and no cash is left on-site (deposit it at the bank).
- Till owners should leave the drawers open to show cash has been removed.
- Close and lock all external doors and windows. When leaving your premises for the last time before Christmas, have a quick look around the building’s exterior to make sure no windows have unwittingly been left open.
- Remove any vehicle and spare door keys.
- Don’t turn your heating system off, because it can cause burst pipes. Instead, save money by turning your heating system down a few degrees.
- If possible, turn electrical equipment off at the plug. Even when left on standby, it will be using power.
- Make sure any Christmas decorations are kept away from heaters, lights and electrical items that are left on during the shutdown period.
- Carry out a quick test on your alarm system a few weeks before you close down for Christmas. If in any doubt, call out a professional engineer.
- Lock internal doors (especially to rooms containing stock and valuable machinery/equipment).
- Empty your premises’ fridge and cupboards of foodstuffs likely to go off.
- Make sure bins are emptied — especially those that contain foodstuffs.
Outside your premises
- Take any uncollected bags of rubbish to the local rubbish tip. Don’t leave them outside your premises.
- Don’t leave anything outside your premises that might help a criminal to break in (eg ladders, bricks, etc).
- Inform your customers when your business will be closed at least a couple of weeks in advance.
- Cancel all deliveries in good time and let suppliers know when you’ll be open again.
- In the event that the police will need to make contact if your burglar alarm goes off, make sure your key holder list is up to date.
- Tell your employees — in writing — what days the business is closed and what days they need to take as holiday.
- When closing up for the final time, check thoroughly to ensure no one is still on-site.
- If you have any commercial vehicles, park them safely inside your premises if possible. If not, parking them outside your home could be a wiser option.
- Remove all valuables from your vehicles and leave a minimum amount of fuel in tanks.
- You and any employees should set email auto-response messages, informing customers when the business will be re-opening.
- Back up your IT systems and store the data safely off premises.