How to Prevent Tool Theft


prevent tool theftHaving your tools stolen is a serious inconvenience. Not only do you have to deal with police reports and getting replacement tools but you also have to deal with explaining to your clients why there will be a delay in getting work done and also deal with the cost involved with refilling your tool box.

Sometimes tool theft can bring your business to a halt, as you can’t function without your gear. You risk losing clients, jobs, and money if this happens. This is why we have some tips below for you so you can help prevent tool theft and also increase the chance that your tools can be recovered.

The facts

A 2002 study found that the risk of theft is highest in the final stages of building completion, and CBD areas were more likely to be targeted. When it came to tools, electrical cables and hand held tools were most commonly stolen, mostly off open-site locations, with forced entry recorded in one-third of cases.

Our tips

Our rules for theft prevention include: Watch, store, label, and insure your tools.


Don’t leave your tools out lying around unattended. Anyone can run past your work site and grab and go. If you go the bathroom, lunch or off-site pop them away and lock them up. Watch out for your tools and keep them within sight or away from prying eyes. Don’t leave them on site overnight, always take them with you.


Store your tools in a lockable heavy box. This might be in your ute, van, or work car, or even in your shed at home. Make sure wherever you store them there is a secure lock to protect them. Storing them in a box means they will be out of sight of thieves and will make it difficult for them. If you don’t have a box, put them in your locked boot, or get a sturdy tray cover on your ute. Make sure to lock your car and it can also help to install a grille to prevent windows being smashed. Better still, park your car in a secure garage if you can.


Get your tools engraved as soon as you get them. This will help with recovery should they be stolen and an attempt made to on-sell them. Keep your receipts and serial numbers also, and take photos of your tool kit. This ensures the tools are identifiable and helps with your insurance claim. It will also help to make sure that your labelled tools don’t get accidentally mixed up with other tradies tools on site.


At the end of the day, if someone wants your stuff they will try their best to get it. If your tools are stolen, your best bet is to make sure you have put insurance in place. Then you’ll be able to replace your tools and not worry about your own back pocket so much.

The Future:

Hopefully an end to tool theft is coming, as digital technology such as DEWALT’s Tool Connect improves and enables better tracking of tools. Hopefully, as tool brands implement this technology, anti-theft properties such as TrackR – also in its infancy – will be employed.

See also: Nine ways to protect yourself from tool theft.


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All Trades Cover

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