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Home Tradesman Insights ‘Tis The Season To Secure Your Tools

‘Tis The Season To Secure Your Tools

The festive build-up poses all sorts of risks for tradespeople’s prized assets – their tools. As money troubles mount in the deepening cost crisis, thieves increasingly target vans and sites seeking high-value gear to fund Christmas splurges. Don’t let your livelihood get jeopardised – take every precaution to protect your valued assets.

A Surge In Yuletide Tool Theft

Statistics expose the troubling truth – tool theft has surged around 30% over the last year. The average claim value has ballooned 40% to over £10,000 as cunning criminals nab extensive inventories in each attack. Organised gangs are deploying skeleton keys and other tricks to effortlessly loot locked vans brimming with gear overnight.

Defend Your Livelihood This December

With dark evenings setting in earlier amid dropping temperatures, protecting your equipment this season is vital. Follow our comprehensive advice to protect your tools and defeat opportunistic thieves lurking this Christmas.

On-Site Tool Security, Deterrence Is Key:

Don’t let your tools vanish into thin air when left briefly unattended on bustling jobs. Use these proactive tactics to protect assets in use daily:

  • Tool Alarms: Attach loud motion-sensor alarms to cases and boxes to instantly alert to grab-and-run theft attempts. 90+ decibel sirens get noticed fast.
  • Hide Serial Codes: Etch your name/number onto all tools but consider keeping serial numbers discreet. Displayed codes aid selling stolen goods online.
  • CCTV Signage: Signpost surveillance monitoring tools stored on-site, even if cameras aren’t present! The perception of being watched deters robbers.
  • Varying Routines: Avoid leaving sites empty at the same regular break times daily. Split shifts and take lunches/tea breaks at slightly different times to outsmart watching thieves.
  • Guard Dog Signs: Warning signs for dogs patrolling worksites add highly effective psychological protection against would-be trespassers. Even just the prospect of tackling a guard dog puts most robbers off!

Lock It All Away

Take precautions to secure tools, equipment, and batteries when unattended at worksites:

  • Tool Chests: Heavy duty tool storage chests and metal job boxes with sturdy padlocks prevent casual pilfering of valuables left briefly unattended while working.
  • Battery Power Tools: Remove all lithium batteries from drills, saws and other cordless electric devices when not directly supervised. No battery = no function if stolen.
  • Secure Structures: Construct designated locked storage units like standalone sheds or shipping containers to house tools when off-site. Choose robust designs with quality locks and anchoring.

Defending Your Van

The vehicle you depend on each day to transport tools securely is prime target number one for thieves seeking to fund some festive “free shopping”. Beat them by armoring up your work van properly:

  • Tool Cages + Racks: Install heavy duty steel storage cages, racks and containers locked inside vans to protect the most valuable gear overnight when left inside.
  • Vehicle Trackers: Consider concealed tracker systems allowing live location monitoring and engine kill immobilisation by SMS command if your van gets stolen with everything inside.
  • Upgrade Alarms: Heighten sensitivity on standard vehicle alarms so the loud alert triggers with the slightest unexpected motion. Choose systems instantly notifying your mobile too.
  • Gear Barriers: Robust steel grids behind front seats prevent access to rear load areas when doors are forced. This reduces losses by blocking easy tool grabbing through small breaches.

Park Smart

CCTV Cover: Always park under operational security cameras with sightlines covering vehicle access points if leaving them loaded overnight. Recent footage aids police enquiries.
Wall It In: Where possible, park backed fully against walls or other vehicles to block opening rear doors when packed with tools. Removing escape access puts thieves off targeting your van.
Face Outward: Position vehicles so rear loading doors can’t be easily reached by passersby. Face side doors against walls and leave just inches of clearance.

Registration & Recovery

Even robust anti-theft measures sometimes fail if thieves are determined and daring enough. Make sure you’re prepared if the worst happens:

  • Photograph It: Catalogue your inventory documenting each item with detailed descriptions, photos and serial numbers. This is vital for identifying recovered goods.
  • Register High Value Items: Sign up speciality items over £150 in value to Immobilise – the national property register. This aids returning tools if investigations unfold.
  • Label It All Clearly: Use permanent etching tools, markers or UV pens to display your name and contact information prominently on every tool. Etched owner details deter selling.
  • Itemise Everything: Maintain a comprehensive asset list of all tools including approximate ages and purchase dates alongside distinguishing characteristics. This speeds replacing items accurately if claims must be made.
  • Review Insurance Regularly: Check your tool insurance cover annually as asset values fluctuate. Remember cover amounts depreciate over time from the original policy start date. Paying a little extra annually guarantees you’re not underinsured.

Tradesman Talk

How are you protecting your tool investments leading up to Christmas and through the new year ahead? Have you been personally impacted by theft before? Share any clever security tactics that have worked well for you!

Until next time, make sure it’s Tradesman Saver.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Tradesman Saver, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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