Best Practices for Protecting Your Tools Against Theft
Amid supply chain disruptions and shortages, the cost of tool and material theft is higher than ever. We are seeing not only an increase in the price of replacing tools, but also an uptick in construction site theft itself. If you haven’t already, now is the time to ask yourself “how can I make my job sites secure?”
How to Protect Your Tools and Equipment
- Take Your Tools Home: An estimated 90% of work truck break-ins and power tool thefts take place between 6 p.m. on Friday and 6 a.m. on Monday. The best thing you can do is take your tools off of the job site every day, or on weekends at a minimum. It can be frustrating to load and unload each day, but this way there is nothing left on site for thieves to steal. Store your things somewhere secure, like a garage.
- Paint or Engrave Your Tools: One of the most basic and widely used methods for protecting tools is branding them with paint or engraving. This will make it stand out if someone tries to walk off the job site with it, and can help you identify your property in the event of theft. Further, roughing up your tools lowers the perceived value to used tool buyers, and thus your crook.
- Lock Everything Up!: If, during lunch and overnight, you must leave tools unattended, then make sure they are locked in a cabinet, box, trailer, or vehicle that is securely locked itself — note that certain types of locks and doors are more secure than others. Tool trailers are an expensive, but potentially convenient, option for storing all your tools in a central and secure place. Truck bed toolboxes and heavy-duty job boxes are some more affordable alternatives.
- Embrace Technology: The newest power tools can be controlled with a smartphone app, so consider investing in these new lockable tools. Security cameras, or even decoy security cameras, are another good way to deter thieves. Further, GPS tracking devices may be a helpful addition to your more valuable tools, though you must be sure to use epoxy or screws to make sure they are securely attached. You may also want to consider adding or upgrading alarm systems in vehicles and toolboxes.
- Scary Signage: Whether you have cameras and alarm systems or not, purchase warning signs and stickers to scare thieves off. If they think your tools are a risky target, they will likely try to find a less secure job site where they don’t need to spend time dodging cameras and disabling alarms and trackers.
Unfortunately, prevention is not always perfect and theft may still happen. There is no foolproof way to stop a thief from stealing, which is where insurance comes in. Insurance can provide you with financial support in the event of an unforeseen disaster. Importantly, however, tool theft is not covered under a typical general liability policy and requires specialized coverage(s) — which our experts can help you find. Theft does not necessarily need to spell catastrophe.