Theft of Landscaping Tools: The Warm-Weather Crime Wave
Summer is here, and your landscaping business is in its peak season. That also means that your inventory of landscaping tools is most at risk of being stolen. Not only are your mowers, tractors and weed trimmers more vulnerable on job sites, but thieves know that this is their best time to sell your stolen tools, too.
Equipment theft is a huge problem in the landscaping business
Landscaping tools are a hot item for thieves because they’re easy to steal and easy to sell. Everyone needs them, everyone owns them, and lots of people buy mowing and gardening equipment secondhand – making them easy to offload for a quick profit. Plus, landscaping tools are simple to steal because most are small enough to be carried and concealed. Even mowers generally use universal keys and can be quickly pushed or pulled onto a trailer in just seconds.
Minimizing your risk of loss
You can minimize the risk of loss — both in terms of equipment and downtime — and help secure your livelihood with a proactive approach to security. It’s so much more effective to prevent a crime than it is to try to recover after! To help prevent criminals from helping themselves to your tools, follow these tips:
- Lock up all trailers and trucks when not in use. Criminals are always looking for the path of least resistance. Don’t make it easy for them to steal your landscaping tools by leaving your trucks and trailers unlocked. This one simple trick can save you loads of headaches and heartaches, and it costs nothing.
- Install wheel locks on tractors and mowers. Universal keys make it too easy to steal powered machinery. Install wheel locks so they can’t be rolled or driven away.
- Secure your parking/storage. So many landscaping companies leave the security of thousands of dollars worth of equipment to a chain link fence and a padlock. Please don’t make the same mistake! Either can be breached in seconds with a bolt cutter. Instead, lock your tools and equipment in a secured building with a layered security system including commercial fencing, lighting, and video surveillance at the bare minimum. Motion detectors and alarms are a great additional step, especially if your warehouse is located in a desolate or high-crime area.
- Engrave your tools. Distinctive markings or engravings, such as “Property of XYZ Landscaping,” make tools harder to sell on the black market.
- Use hitch locks. Make sure that any time your trailers are stored, use hitch locks to prevent someone from hooking your trailer to their truck and driving away.
- Install GPS trackers on large equipment. GPS trackers can help you recover stolen equipment and assist local authorities in catching the perpetrators. These can be mounted in visible or hidden areas.
- Don’t depend on your insurance company to cover a loss. As a landscaping business owner, you probably have commercial property insurance to protect yourself in the event of theft. But depending on your commercial property insurance is a risky proposition. Yes, insurance is necessary and helpful! But dealing with insurance companies is notoriously difficult and time-consuming, and coverage limits and policy exclusions may prevent you from getting the reimbursement you need to replace your equipment. The most convenient, most affordable way to deal with theft is to prevent it in the first place with proper security
Downtime hits landscaping businesses hard
In the landscaping industry, even a few hours of downtime can throw a whole week of scheduled service off kilter. If your day-to-day equipment is stolen, it could take weeks to deal with your insurance company and get reimbursed so you can buy new equipment, unless you want to pay out of pocket. While you’re trying to catch up, the weather could go south, planting time could expire, and customers who expect their lawns to look pristine could get frustrated and take their business elsewhere. Lost time almost always equates to lost revenue and potential damage to customer relationships and reputation. Don’t risk it.
Is your security plan enough to keep thieves out?
Schedule your complimentary Threat Assessment from AMAROK to find out. We’ve worked with hundreds of landscaping businesses to create integrated perimeter security that works to keep thieves out and profits in. Schedule yours now!