Perhaps one of your greatest assets as a contractor, aside from your many years of experience in the field, are your tools. You rely on your tools every day to help you get the job done and without, them some jobs might need to be put on hold, costing your business money.
As tools become more sophisticated, they become more expensive and difficult to replace. According to the National Equipment Register, roughly $1 billion dollars of tools are stolen off of job sites in the construction industry every year.
We’ve gathered some of the best practices to not only protect your tools, but help recover them if they are stolen:
1. Lock it Up
One of the easiest ways to safeguard your tools from theft is by locking them up. There are a variety of truck bed toolboxes that come in varied styles and price ranges. These toolboxes are heavy duty and offer a more secure latch system opposed to a traditional, portable toolbox. If you do use a portable toolbox, at a minimum you should keep it locked. However, if it is easy to lug around, the chances of the entire box being stolen is certainly a possibility. You could also hide a small GPS tracker within the tool box or on a large tool.
Employees & Tools
Depending on the size of your operation, you might have employees who have access to company tools on the job. You did your best to hire responsible and trustworthy employees, but things might come up missing.
Ensure that your crew is trained on security procedures for locking and securing items. You may want to consider enforcing a tool log for certain items, where employees have to check-out and check-in items when they are finished using them. This will help you track who is using what tools and which employees are accountable for missing items, if a theft were to take place.
2. Remove Tools from Your Vehicle
Never forget the tools in your vehicle after a long day of hard work. According to the FBI, thefts from motor vehicles accounted for 26.2% of all larceny thefts in 2016, which is a stunning 1,277,275 thefts nationwide! Try setting a reminder on your phone every evening to reduce the chances of you forgetting any equipment in your vehicle.
3. Get an Artisans Contractors Insurance Policy
Obtaining the proper insurance coverage can help you manage the risk of paying to replace your stolen tools. An Artisans Contractors insurance policy is tailored specifically for contractors and includes special provisions to help protect your tools, as well as your employees tools.
Auto, Homeowners, Farmowners, Renters and even basic Commercial policies generally do not include coverage for contractor’s tools and equipment.
4. Identify Equipment and Tools
Consider engraving your tools and equipment with an identifier that is unique to your business. You could use something as simple as your companies name, or a unique code. These identifiers will help to recover your property if it is stolen and placed in a pawn or resale shop.
5. Keep an Updated Inventory List
Compiling an inventory list of all your tools and equipment is one of the best ways to ensure a speedy recovery following a claim. This list can be written in or digital form, whichever you prefer. Your inventory list should include a photo of the item, as well as the serial number, year, make and model.
Theft will always be a threat to contractors, but taking the simple precautionary measures above will help to safeguard your investments.
*Photo by Russ Hendricks