RESEARCH by property maintenance solution provider Help me Fix has revealed that on average, 81 tradesmen per day will have tools stolen, incurring a cost of £1,705 – that’s a total cost of £137,438 per day.
Over the past two years, almost 59,000 offences involving the theft of tools were reported across the UK, with the value of the items stolen totalling a huge £100.3m.
That means each and every day, 81 cases are reported and with each theft seeing the average tradesmen some £1,705 in the red when replacing their tools. That’s a total daily loss of £137,438.
So what can you do to prevent it? Help me Fix have put together six top tips.
Storing tools correctly
Of course, the most obvious is to take your tools home with you and most thefts will be down to tools being left in less secure workplaces or vehicles overnight. However, it’s not always feasible to bring larger items home from your place of work, or to clear your van at the end of a long working day. But at the very least, it pays to store the most valuable items you own in the safest place possible. Displaying a sign that states no tools are left in your vehicle overnight can also be a smart move. You may use it to call a thief’s bluff but it can also prevent expensive damage from attempted break ins even if no tools are stolen.
This not only applies to how you park, but also where. Parking with rear or side doors tight to a sturdy fence or wall can make it much harder for thieves to operate successfully.
However, parking in busy public areas during the day, or well-lit locations at night can also be a deterrent, as can parking in an area with visible CCTV cameras.
Making your mark
If the worst does happen, it’s vital to have some sort of identifying mark on your tools in the event that they are recovered. This can be in the form of a unique code or company name and can be written or painted on. Using a UV pen is a good way to ensure your personal markings aren’t removed by said thief, but the most concrete method is to have your details etched into your tools.
You should also join a register such as Immobilise or SelectDNA which could help return your tools wherever they end up across the UK.
Make a record
Record all the serial numbers of the tools you purchase. It may seem a little time consuming but it could save you a considerable sum of money further down the line.
Track high value items
Big ticket items such as construction vehicles in particular are popular targets for criminals and as they cost thousands of pounds to replace, they often come with GPS tracking systems built into them. However, you can replicate this safety measure with your smaller items by fitting smaller portable GPS trackers, such as Air Tags, which you can then track using your Smartphone.
It may seem like a straightforward tip, but should the worst happen and you can’t retrieve your stolen tools, you can at least replace them at a minimal cost. Always keep receipts and photos of each tool as this will massively streamline the process of an insurance claim.
Ettan Bazil, ceo and founder of Help me Fix said: ‘It’s always heartbreaking when a tradesperson wakes up to their tools being stolen and their van broken into. More than the cost of the items, it’s the fact that they can’t work while they have no tools. Luckily there are some fantastic schemes out there that can help tradespeople in their time of need, such as the ‘Tool Angel’ service by Williams & Co.’