One of the most annoying and upsetting things that could happen to you as a sole trader is for some scum bag to break into and damage your van in order to steal your precious tools from inside.
Not only do you have the worry and expense of replacing everything that was taken from inside, and repairing the damage to your van, but you also have the cost of your time and the jobs you have had to delay or miss out on completely while you are without your tools and van.
It is very hard not to take a theft of this nature personally because it is all a part of you, your business and your life that you have saved for and built up yourself. But the thieves do not know or care about you or the hard work and heart and soul you have put into your business. They are not thinking about your struggle the next day when they are putting your precious things for sale online. That is why they do what they do. Because they have no conscience, are selfish and do not care.
According to 2018 statistics, a van is broken into every 23 minutes in the UK. And the methods of break in are getting more and more sophisticated so that even secure homes and vans are a target for them:
- “Peel and Steal” technique
The thief applies pressure to the bottom of the van door with their knees. They then grab and “peel” the door down from the top.
- “Relay” method
This is becoming more common as vehicle manufacturers are making more key fobs rather than old fashioned keys. They will buy a fob signal interceptor online for as little as £30 to intercept and extend the signal from your key fob inside the house in order to unlock your van.
There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from being a victim of this kind of crime.
- Prioritise security when choosing your van
When choosing your van in the first place, make sure you prioritise a van with security features such as an alarm, immobiliser and deadlocks for all your doors. You can also get added security features such as a “peel and steal” alarm which is triggered as soon as someone tries to “peel” your door before any damage is done to your van.
- Know what is in your van
Keep a note of the tools that are in your van. Take photos of the inside of your van and take more photos every time you add something to your collection. Make sure you keep receipts for your tools, especially the more expensive ones. If you need to make an insurance claim, this will make the process a lot easier.
- Select where you park carefully
Thieves are wimps and will be less likely to target your van if there is a high chance they will be disturbed or caught on camera. It is wise wherever possible to park your van in busy locations with a lot of potential witnesses and areas that are covered by CCTV cameras.
- Get tool insurance
Speak to your insurer or broker about a policy that might suit you so that you will be insured for your tools and damage to your van in the event that it is broken into. If you do go down this route, ask your insurer about being insured on a “new for old” basis. For example, if you have a lawn mower stolen from your van that will cost you £400 to replace like for like, the wrong level insurance will only pay out the value of your lawnmower that was taken which could be half that price at best, and not the cost of replacing it.
- The best solution
The best way you can prevent your tools from being stolen from your van, is to not store them in your van in the first place. But to store them somewhere more secure than your van, emptying your van at night and filling it with what you need in the morning. Yes, this is more effort, but even if you just did it with your biggest, most important and most valuable tools you would be doing a lot more to protect your livelihood.
A local, secure and reputable self storage facility is a great place to store your tools safely. You can choose one that is quick and easy to get to from your home and business locations and has high levels of security. If you choose one that is a member of the Self Storage Association, it has to pass certain quality and security criteria to become a member.
Tortoise Storage in Knowsley is just off junction 4 of the M57, so very handy for many North West and Liverpool locations. It is made up of all new shipping containers which have been specifically designed to be secure and weather proof, laid out carefully along wide concrete roadways. You can drive your van right up to your container to load it with what you need in the morning, and drop it off again at night. We provide you with a solid steel block lock padlock for your container and insurance for the items inside. You can let yourself onto the site with your own unique gate key code at any time between 6am and 11pm.
When it comes to security at the site, there isn’t much more we could possibly do to protect your tools. We have 24 hour monitored CCTV with tannoy system, floodlighting and an outdoor wireless PIR alarm system. The whole site is secured with 2.4 metre high fencing and closed off with a 6 metre wide electronic key pad entry and exit gate with pin hole security camera.
Whatever your business and however you decide to protect it, don’t let thieves put you off investing in decent tools for your business, and your future. You are in control and you have the ability to prevent them from taking it away from you.
We hope that this is helpful.
Thanks for reading!