5 Tips to Keep Your Power Tools Safe

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These days, theft isn’t necessarily a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “when”. The reality is, its completely up to you to determine whether or not you are willing to let someone walk away with your tools without a fight. Here’s five tips to help you protect your equipment, reduce your odds of being a target, and arm you with the tools you need to increase the odds of making anyone pay for messing with the equipment that is your lifeblood.

What does your tool scene look like?

Everything you do to protect your equipment reduces your odds or being a victim and increases the odds of catching any perp that helps themselves to your tools.

There’s no shortage of online articles, blogs, and forums offering sage pointers on how best to protect your tools. Most recommendations coming from someone who’s felt the pain personally, or someone who is selling a product to help combat theft.

What do these“experts” have to say?  I chose 16 articles about preventing tool theft and compared all recommendations to see which are the most commonly recommended. Here are the top 5:

The Dewalt Mobile lock costs $300 with a $20/mo subscription but is both a GPS tracker and an alarm system.

5. Add GPS trackers. This is a great tool if you have one or more trailers chock-full of tools and you are leaving a substantial amount of equipment on one or more job sites. And your tool trailers are constantly moving around. GPS trackers can usually be added with little effort and can be less expensive than a full-blown security system (or simply one component of a security system). If you want the police to do all they can to help you recover your stolen goods, having a list of equipment plus a GPS locator makes it very easy for officers to help you out. Check out the DeWalt Mobile Lock as an option.

4. Add a security system.  When selecting a security system, ask yourself what are your tools worth to you? What would it cost to replace them? How much time would that involve? Sometimes security cameras can capture the actual crime, but without the tool records, relying on a security camera alone isn’t always a fool-proof method.

Ugly is good, but engraving name and phone number is smarter.

3.  Give your tools a make-over/ engrave them with company information.  If you’ve spent any time on a construction site, you’ve seen it all. Gold tools, purple tools, burnt, cut, branded tools, and the likes.  If you find yourself on job sites with a lot of other subcontractors, spray painting a bright dot onto your tools is a great visual to help keep your tools differentiated from other trades because tools can and often do get mixed up and mistakenly taken. Again, without a good inventory, even this is not a full-proof method, so make sure you have the records to back it up!

2.  Keep a good inventory.  Good tool records need to include Brand, Model, and Serial Number. Also having photos is even better. Most builders believe that record keeping is cumbersome, time consuming, and easily get overwhelmed with creating collect all the information, and how to organize it. There is one system in particular (wink, wink) that does it all for you just from your photos. Also, its FREE. It uses your camera to take photos, and offers a cataloging service that completes the brand, model, serial number, tool type, tool description, MSRP for you. It also lets you attach receipts, and gives you everything you need to manage your tools, create theft reports, search online for stolen tools, and connect you with police and pawn shops to help them help you if you do experience theft. They also offer Warning signs to let others know they shouldn’t mess with you. Check them out at www.powertoolsafe.com

Believe it or not, the most popular recommendation is the most basic of all. You can sign up for free, and receive a $20.00 credit towards their cataloging service.

Thieves look for the path of least resistance. How quick can they get in and out? Using a lock that makes it difficult to break in removes you from that path.

1. Lock them up. Securing tools at night is the best way to keep them from growing legs. If you have dozens of tools floating around a jobsite, it may make sense for you to invest in a heavy-duty job box. When possible, keep it inside, and, at the very least, use good a lock. The harder you make it to grab your tools, the less likely you are to have your tools stolen. This lock does that. LOCKITT is a great way to secure your trailers.

BUT the one recommendation that NO ONE is telling you is to add WARNING signs to your job boxes, work trucks and job trailers. Think about it:
How often do you see signs for home security systems in front yards? Why is that? Why not do the same for your work trucks and job trailers?

It sure is an easy way to let others know you are NOT an easy target, and you are ready to fight back. They can be seen by anyone doing a drive by, casing your site for an easy hit, and a little warning can go a long way.

So, lock your tools up, warn others you are prepared, and keep good records is my ultimate solution to success. After all, the true goal is to save time, save money and cut your losses. 

From my own experience, I can tell you the amount of energy you spend on prevention is directly proportionate to the amount of pain you can minimize when it comes time to filing reports, searching pawnshops and replacing lost tools. As a general contractor, I made the mistake of doing nothing. In the end it cost me more time and money than just the tools I lost. I hope your fate is different than mine. That’s why I built PowerTool Safe. Better options lead to better outcomes.

Paul Bierman, Founder

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The Easiest way to make it hard on thieves.

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