How to Protect Your Compact Equipment From Theft

Posted By On 05 Jan 2023
Bobcat wheel loader moving dirt

If you work in the construction industry, you know that investing in quality heavy equipment can be a large expense. However, it is often necessary, as it is impossible to maintain a construction operation without an adequate fleet of machinery. After forking over all of that money to purchase the equipment you need, the last thing you want to deal with is having it stolen. 

Yet, roughly $46 million in construction equipment is stolen annually in Canada, with $15 to $20 million of those losses occurring in Ontario alone. A survey of 100 construction companies found they experienced an average of two thefts per year, with losses averaging $25,900 for licensed vehicles and $1,600 for tools. These kinds of thefts often occur on job sites with inadequate or no security.

Despite ongoing efforts by law enforcement to thwart this kind of crime, the number of equipment theft reports continues to grow. If you want to minimize your risk of experiencing significant losses due to theft, it is important to have a proper theft-prevention plan in place. 

Here are a few steps that you may want to consider to protect your business from thieving criminals:

Secure Your Job Sites

Before beginning a new project, it is vital to check the job site to understand its current level of security. Is the site well-lit in all areas and easily seen from the road? Is it equipped with security devices, such as an alarm system or video surveillance, that monitor it at all times and from different angles? If not, you should consider setting up such security measures to deter thieves.

Although some security measures may seem like they involve more common sense than others, they still deserve an equal amount of attention if you want to avoid compromising the security of your site. For instance, ensure that you always lock the cabin door and close any windows when your operators are done working for the day. In addition, make sure that you do not leave the keys in any machines.

There are other proactive steps you can take to secure your job site, including:

  • Getting to know other companies or contractors working on the site.
  • Adding a chain-link fence or gate.
  • Posting warning and no trespassing signs.
  • Limiting the number of individuals with access.
  • Installing security lighting or using a light tower to illuminate the job site.
  • Consider hiring a security guard service for larger job sites that contain high-value equipment.

If you are unable to secure a job site or are concerned about the security of your equipment, look for a safer area within driving or hauling distance to your site. It may be more work upfront, but it can be worth the extra costs to prevent theft.

Know Your Equipment

How well do you really know the equipment you and your team operate on every project? Familiarizing yourself with the makes, model numbers, serial numbers, and purchase dates of your equipment and keeping that information on file is another way to reduce your chance of experiencing theft. 

Take a picture of every machine, even something as simple as a smartphone picture, and save it with the machine details. This information should be stored in a secure location, away from the job site. If you don’t know the serial number locations on your machines, ask your equipment sales specialist for help.

Wirelessly Monitor Your Bobcat Equipment

Bobcat offers a standard wireless communication system that comes in most new machines called Machine IQ Wireless Communications. The Basic package is a free 3-year wireless platform that connects you to your machine, allowing you to see real-time information, including the machine’s operational hours, fuel level, maintenance interval tracking and equipment location. This is a critical tool when it comes to theft prevention and can be accessed on any device by the machine owner, fleet manager and even the dealership.

Bobcat also has the option to upgrade to the Machine IQ Health and Security Package, giving you even more insight and security for your machine. That includes job site geofencing creation with breach alerts, operational hours curfew creation with breach alerts and fault code notifications with troubleshooting. This system is exclusive to Bobcat equipment–no other compact construction equipment offers this level of connection and security.   

Report Theft

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, delayed reports of stolen equipment are the number one reason why equipment is often not recovered. Therefore, you should not hesitate to report equipment missing as soon as you notice it is gone. The quicker you or your operators report a theft, the more likely your machines will be recovered.

If you are a victim of equipment theft, it is crucial that you follow these actions:

  • Notify the authorities and relay all details related to the missing machine, such as its size, colour, model and serial number. The more information you can provide, the better, as law enforcement can use these details during their search for your equipment. 
  • Inform your insurance company about the theft as soon as possible to get started on your claim.
  • Inform your dealership and any other local dealerships about the theft so they can flag the serial number if it ever gets brought in for sale. Plus, they can attempt to locate the machine using Machine IQ.

Equipment theft can be a frustrating and costly issue. By developing a comprehensive theft-prevention plan and promoting constant vigilance, you can minimize theft and vandalism. In the end, being prepared to deal with such threats to your business’s bottom line pays off.

How Oaken Equipment Can Help You Replace Stolen Machinery

If you have already dealt with problems related to stolen equipment, following the guidelines above will help you prevent that from reoccurring.

However, if you cannot get your stolen equipment back, you’ll need to replace it to keep your jobs moving forward. If you are seeking compact construction equipment in Ontario, we have a massive inventory for you to choose from, including both new and certified pre-owned equipment options. Most new equipment now comes standard with our Machine IQ monitoring system, adding another tool to your theft prevention toolbox.  

All of our Bobcat equipment is industry-leading and ready to get to work. Our extensive lineup of machines includes skid-steer loaders, track loaders, large and compact excavators, wheel loaders, UTV’s and more. Our team of equipment experts is also more than happy to answer any questions. Want to replace a stolen unit but are thinking about upgrading the size? Book a demo to try it out before you buy. 

If you’re still waiting to recover your stolen unit or are standing by while the insurance paperwork goes through, we suggest renting equipment in the meantime to keep your projects running on schedule. All of our Bobcat rental equipment has low hours and has been serviced by our factory-trained technicians. We can put together a rental agreement that perfectly matches your needs while keeping things as streamlined as possible. 

For more information about our high-quality heavy equipment or to book a demo appointment, call Oaken Equipment at 1-888-OAKEN-11 or contact us here.

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