Protect Your Livelihood

Equipment monitoring systems cost money, but the return on investment can be priceless.

With equipment as your livelihood, you'd like to say you would guard it with your life, but we all know that isn't practical. Being in the rental game means saying goodbye to your most pricey assets on a daily basis. All you can do is hope that your equipment is well taken care of while it's out of your hands, right? Maybe there's more you can do.

According to LoJack Corp., which published its fourth annual Construction Equipment Theft Report last fall, equipment theft costs construction companies up to $1 billion each year in lost assets. But thanks to systems such as LoJack's, such assets can often be recovered. In fact, LoJack's system assisted in the recovery of $12,800,000 in stolen construction equipment in 2004 alone. That's up 42 percent from the year before.

In her article, "Do you know where your skid steer really is?" on page 22, Rebecca Kanable takes a look at equipment monitoring systems and how smaller rental businesses can justify the investment. This is important because, as we all know, technology costs money. The question is, can you afford not to make the investment? When equipment is your bread and butter, losing it to theft not only means you have to spend money to replace the missing item, it also means you lose valuable income until the unit is replaced. And if you're a small business with only a few pieces of equipment to begin with, losing even one to theft can take a big bite out of your bottom line.

To that end, take heed of what Ms. Kanable has to say in her article.

In the meantime, consider the following tidbits from LoJack:

  • Newer equipment is the most common theft target because of higher resale value. More than 72 percent of the equipment stolen and recovered is five years old or less.
  • The types of equipment most frequently stolen are (in order): loaders, skid steers, generators, air compressors, dump trucks, welders and untethered trailers, light utility/work trucks and forklifts. These equipment types represented 81 percent of all construction equipment recoveries documented by LoJack last year.
  • California was the most active state in terms of equipment theft, followed by Florida and Texas.

According to the Construction Equipment Theft Report, rapid recovery of stolen equipment is key. The longer a piece of equipment is missing, the greater the likelihood that it won't be found. Equipment monitoring systems help ensure the speedy recovery of stolen equipment and therefore, can go a long way toward protecting your livelihood. So even though you can't exactly guard your precious equipment with your life, you can at least keep track of it so that while it's out of your hands, it's not in the hands of a thief.