How to Stop your Tools Being Stolen

Tools are a big part of any tradesman’s working life, not only do they represent a serious financial investment, but without them you won’t be able to earn a living. Unfortunately they also prove tempting targets for thieves. However, there are steps you can take to help stop your tools being stolen:

Empty your van at night: Lugging your tools inside might be the last thing you want to do at the end of a working day, but thieves will have a much harder time getting their hands on them if they are safely stored in your house or garage. Think of it as part of clearing up at the end of the day.

Secure your van: Security lighting and a vehicle alarm will go a long way towards deterring criminals, but don’t forget to secure your tools inside your vehicle.  Thieves tend to go for boxed tools, and you can make their lives much harder by chaining and padlocking your toolboxes (and other expensive bits of kit) to the floor of your van.

Mark your Tools: Clearly marking your tools not only helps to prevent them being stolen in the first case, but it also helps you to get them back. Making tools doesn’t need to be expensive; engraving kits are cheap and permanent markers are even cheaper. Choose a place where the makings won’t get rubbed off and include your name and phone number. It may be worth adding a direct appeal to the second-hand market (such as ‘If sold call me’) to larger ticket items.

If you want to take things one step further, consider spraying your tools a garish colour; after all a fluorescent power drill is much less likely to get stolen. It might sound a little over the top, but it’s exactly the approach suggested in a paper from the University of Birmingham, except they’re talking about hot pink diggers.

More discrete makings can be made with permanent ultra violet pens, which are available from larger high-street stationers.

Register your Tools: By registering your valuables with The National Property Register you’ll greatly increase the chances of recovering your goods.  Thefts are added to the national police database and a publically checkable database called CheckMEND. Registration won’t cost you a penny, to find out more visit

Get Insured: While tools insurance won’t stop your tools from being stolen; it will mean that you’ll be up-and-running in no time. Make sure that your policy includes provision for tools in your vehicle and on site.

As a final note of caution, if you do have your tools stolen, don’t assume that you’re safe and dry. Thieves know perfectly well that you’ll have to replace your tools with shining new ones, and frequently retarget previous victims. Unfortunately it seems that lightening does sometimes strike twice.

One Response to “How to Stop your Tools Being Stolen”

  1. Oliver Roberts says:

    We have found that many tradesmen are just Insuring for Liability covers only when they are actually needing Contractors All Risks Insurance, trying to explain to the client that they need to purchase this insurance is extremely difficult and it would help them in their quest to protect their tools and equipment and materials whilst involved in a contract.

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