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Tradespeople: How to Keep Your Tools Safe

In the UK, 83% of builders have had the tools of their trade stolen; 1 in 10 of those builders reported that the tools stolen were valued at £10,000 or more, with 2% stating a value of at least £20,000

For any tradesperson, losing the tools of their trade can be catastrophic. Apart from the fact that they are often expensive to replace, even if they are insured, it also impacts their ability to work. Without tools, it's very hard for tradespeople to keep their businesses running.

Tools - how to keep them safe

However, there are ways to keep your tools safe from theft. Just by taking a few precautionary actions, your tools are likely to be much safer. So, let's share them with you.

Make sure your tools are marked

Getting your tools engraved with your name/business name, telephone number or a distinctive mark like your business logo, not only deters thieves because it makes them difficult to sell, it also helps in having them returned to you. Making them easy to identify will help the police to return any tools they've recovered.

There are also solutions that can be used to mark your tools, like DataTag, SelectaDNA and SmartWater.

As well as marking your tools, you can also register them online via a valuables and property register, such as immobolise.com or thenmpr.com. They might not prevent theft but it does mean that if they do get stolen, there is a much better chance they will be found and returned to you.

Up the security on your van(s)

The majority of thefts are from tradespeople's vans. Therefore, increasing the security of your van is paramount to preventing the loss of your tools. Whilst many of today's vans come with a variety of alarms and security options, they won't deter the most determined of criminals.

However, there are added precautions you can take:

  • Get an immobiliser installed with the alarm
  • Fit deadlocks on all the doors/access points
  • Invest in slam locks - these are unique locking systems that can be fitted to doors, and they will activate immediate locking as soon as the door has been shut
  • Fit lockable tool safes or tool vaults into the van
  • Have a mesh grille or solid bulkhead installed between the cab and the van's load/storage area
  • Avoid glazed rear or sliding doors

Get insurance!

Whilst insurance isn't always cheap; it is much cheaper than having to replace all your tools! As well as investing in tradesperson insurance, it is always worth paying the extra premiums to select an all-risks policy and listing any tools that are above a certain value, such as £5,000.

However, it's a good idea to keep a list of the tools you buy, along with receipts to support any claim. Photos are also a welcome addition for an insurer and can speed up the claim process.

Keep a log and make a note of any serial numbers

Sometimes, if you've been a tradesperson for many years, you build up a wide selection of tools, some of which you may not use very often and some you may forget you had. Make a list of all the tools you have and get into the habit of keeping a log of your tools movement, i.e. which tools are being used on which jobs.

Vehicle security dash cam

In addition, make a note of any serial numbers your tools may have - not all of them will have a serial number, so make sure you have a detailed description of the make and model.

As well as installing surveillance cameras at your storage facilities, add a camera or two to your van. Some of today's vehicle dash cams have been designed to monitor activity 24/7 or are activated when sensors pick up any movement.

Take advantage of modern technology

Smart technology is all the rage these days, even down to padlocks! Today's smart padlocks are opened using fingerprint scanning or via a Bluetooth connection. They can also be connected to an app on your smartphone, which records all activity. The added advantage is that smart padlocks are tamperproof.

Some of the latest, more modern tools include a GPS tracking device that can be enabled remotely by police or via an app on a smartphone.

Double your storage facilities

A large proportion of tool theft is from storage units or other facilities. Therefore, it's important to make sure that the place where you store your tools when they are not in use must be as secure as possible.

As well as using cameras, smart padlocks and slam locks, it's a good idea to invest in heavy duty key security cabinets, tool storage vaults and chests, and dedicated storage cabinets.

Wherever you are, if you have to leave your van unattended, think about where and how you park it. For example, when working on-site, make sure access doors are up against a wall, trees or thick bushes. This makes it much harder for thieves to get into your van.

Plan ahead; if you don't need all of your tools to paint or repair a front door, don't take them. Only take the tools you need with you; that way, you are not putting other tools at risk of being stolen. When transporting them, think about using a solid steel lockable security trolley to move your tools from the van to your place of work. That way, not only are you reducing the number of trips to just one, but you are also keeping them secure at the same time. Always be aware of your surroundings and note down anything that seems suspicious.

At ESE Direct, we have a variety of lockable storage units and storage vaults to keep your tools safe, whether they are in the van, at the yard or place of work, or at home.

ESE Direct is a leading supplier of products for business, schools, colleges and universities, workshops and warehouses. With a wide and diverse range of products, more than 40 years of knowledge and experience in the industry, a bespoke design and installation service and exceptional customer service, you can trust ESE Direct.

Photograph of Debs

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Digital marketer, social media, content writer, musician, sloth-lover, tea-drinker.