What good would you be without your tools and equipment? Like a dentist, surgeon, or chef, a contractor needs a special set of tools to get a job done.
As a contractor, you probably put a lot of thought into selecting the right tools for the job. But how much thought have you given to protecting your tools, outside of picking out a box for your truck?
Here are 7 hidden dangers that can put your tools at risk, slowing your progress and sinking your profits.
1. Unmarked tools
Marking your tools and equipment with a permanent identification, such as your name, business name, and business phone number, will make it harder for stolen items to be pawned or sold online, and easier for them to make their way back to you.
A permanent marker will get the job, but engraving your information on a high-value tool will be far more effective.
2. Unsecured tools
Leaving tools unsecured, even for a second, is asking for trouble.
Maybe it is a couple of items you’ve tossed in the bed of your truck while you drive a few blocks down the road. You’ve done it a hundred times and nothing bad has ever happened.
Except this time, something falls out of the bed of the truck. This time, something falls off of the trailer. Or maybe someone grabs your new saw while you run into the gas station for a Red Bull.
It just takes a bump in the road, or a dishonest citizen to ruin your day. Lock it down, either in the cab, in the shell, or in a box.
3. Placing too much trust in your Toolbox
Sure, you invested a good chunk of change into your saddlebox. It’s mounted well onto your truck. It’s made from stainless steel. You feel good about its ability to protect your equipment.
But even a drill resistant lock won’t deter someone who really, really wants to get at what’s inside.
Toolbox locks can be busted, the box itself can be hacked to pieces, or in an extreme circumstance, cut from the truck itself.
Don’t fall into a false sense of security that your toolbox is foolproof. It may be a very strong deterrent to theft, but where there is a will… there is usually a way.
Covering your tools and equipment with your contractor insurance will provide you with the ultimate safety net in this worst-case scenario. If your most valuable business assets are stolen, you won’t have to pay out of pocket to replace them yourself.
4. Not tracking Tools
Who’s got what? On a busy project with a few extra employees, do you know who has your stuff?
Tracking your tools is the easiest way to make sure that nothing accidentally goes home with one of your guys, or gets left behind on the site at the end of the day.
Try embracing new technology and using a digital, cloud-based tracking system that you access from your smartphone. Super easy, and accessible to everyone.
5. Well-meaning Employees
Sure, they mean well. But when an employee is not financially invested in the tools and equipment they are using, they may be a little less attentive and careful as you would be.
Your best guy could show up at work and swear that he had your new cordless with him when he left his house, but has absolutely no idea where it is right now at this moment. He only made one stop at Johanna’s Deli on the way to work...
Lost or stolen, it doesn’t matter. It’s gonna cost you either way.
6. Drivers on the Road
Teens texting. Moms with DVDs playing and kids yelling in the back seat. Distracted commuters with a coffee in one hand and the car radio dial in the other.
You are rarely more vulnerable in life than when you are on the road.
If you are transporting your tools and equipment to a project in your truck, van, or trailer, an unintended accident could seriously damage important equipment. Broken equipment won’t do you any good, and the cost of replacement and repairs could be huge.
7. Unsecure Jobsites
Your project site is an alluring place to the neighborhood kids and teens after dark. And you know it, because you’ve seen the evidence for yourself: garbage left behind, graffiti, or worse…
Don’t leave a jobsite vulnerable when you leave at night. Secure tools and equipment in a lock box or container to protect it from troublemakers that can’t seem to stay away from your project after hours.
The Best Way to Protect Your Tools and Equipment
No matter what you do, your most valuable assets are at risk on the project site and off. Since your job requires you to transport your tools to and from projects at different locations, they are even more vulnerable to loss, theft, and damage.
When locked boxes and careful accounting of equipment fail, the right contractor insurance will still have your back.
Inland marine is a special form of insurance that will cover your tools and equipment as they are in transit to your projects. It also covers blueprints, plans, and other essential documents, too. Since you spend so much time transporting your tools from one site to the next, inland marine is a must-have policy that protects you from theft, loss, and damage that can occur along the way.