Be Smart! Prevent Equipment Theft

In General Contractor Tips by kevinLeave a Comment

Imagine showing up to a job site to discover that your main piece of equipment has disappeared overnight. You may have to file a police report, fill out stacks of other paperwork, and go out-of-pocket to replace it immediately. Otherwise, you may have to turn to rental equipment, which can also take a considerable dig into your profits. Most of the time, the police won’t be able to get your original equipment back. No matter which way you look at it, you’re at a loss.

portable generator on ground

Common Equipment Construction Stolen

Equipment theft is a severe problem in the construction industry. Just like the theft of supplies, it happens both on city and rural projects. Thieves target specific equipment that’s worth a lot of money but isn’t too difficult to move. They want to be able to steal and get it away quickly. Backhoe lighters, light towers, air compressors, generators, and others are often taken from a job site.

Theft is Expensive

The 2015 National Equipment Register (NER) Theft Report estimated that $300 million to a billion dollars’ worth of construction equipment is stolen every year, but only 23% of that is ever recovered. Businesses that lose expensive equipment often have to contend with insurers, rental companies, loan officers, and others to get back to work quickly. Getting law enforcement involved also adds stress as you wait to see if it can be recovered.

Theft is hard on everybody on your crew. It may make you suspicious of your workers while trust is crucial when you’re working on a big project. It also can cause delays that cost you or your work crew pay.

Finding Solutions to Equipment Theft

Preventing theft is much better than waiting for it to happen to you. Nowadays, many companies are looking at innovative ways to prevent or recover from construction thefts. GPS is a smart way to track where equipment is at all times. It’s not quite like the spy equipment you’ll see in the movies used on cars, but it can set up alerts when equipment is moving, offer you real-time tracking, and give you a pinpoint location so that police can track down the equipment quickly.

Other solutions for equipment theft are a bit more labor intensive, less high-tech, but easily done. Locking the equipment up in a trailer or taking it back to a locked or gated area can be an option for small equipment. Have your employees sign equipment out from home base when they take it out and make them responsible for signing it back in when they get to the next job site. Make sure that your equipment is labeled and that each piece of equipment has its own ID number. Place the label in a place that isn’t obvious, so thieves can’t tear it off.

Make sure that everything is always locked on-site and that the keys are secure. If you keep any equipment in a work trailer, put them far out of sight of any windows. Invest in a few security cameras to point at entry points. Additionally, your work site should be well-lit and visible at night. 

Good recordkeeping and equipment tracking will help everyone feel responsible for doing their part to keep the work site safe and secure. There are many apps for contractors that can make it easier to manage your site and property. Here at Planhub, you can keep track of your workers and track your projects more thoroughly. Having things be more streamlined is always a best practice in job site planning. Want to learn more about how we can help you plan your projects, track them more effectively, and help you better keep projects and personnel in line to reduce theft? Contact us to learn more about our plan room and management software today.

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