Whether you are an equipment or wedding rental dealer, your tools and equipment are integral pieces of your business. However, these pieces of equipment are often targets for thieves due to their high value and how quickly the items can be sold. Studies have shown that the value of equipment stolen each year across Canada is somewhere between $300 million and $1 billion. With construction season upon us, it is important that all rental dealers review and update their theft prevention strategies and policies.


Equipment Storage Security

Equipment theft is a crime of opportunity, with most incidents occurring due to poor security on job sites or storage yards. Upgrades to your storage yards or buildings can deter criminals and reduce the chance of theft. The following are examples of security updates that can help reduce the opportunity for theft on your storage yard.


1. Heavy Gauge Chain Link Fencing

At least 7 feet high, topped with barbed wire or razor wire (check with local authorities for restrictions).


2. Drive Through Barriers

Concrete barriers (2 – 3 ft. high, lane dividers or large blocks) installed along the inside of the fence will prevent equipment from being removed through, or over the fence. Move concrete blocks inside the gate at night.


3. High-Security Locks on All Gates

Install at least two high-security padlocks with protected shackles or enclosed steel boxes, which cannot be cut off with bolt cutters or hacksaws.


4. Siren and Strobe Light

An outside siren and a strobe light connected to the alarm system and mounted on top of the building or yard pole attracts quick attention and will scare off thieves.


5. Burglar Alarms

Should be installed in the yard or on the fence with contacts mounted on the gates. Some dealers are using exterior motion detectors in the yard. However, these units can be susceptible to false alarms if they are not set to compensate for small objects such as flying paper (debris etc.).


6. Alarming Equipment in the Yard

Using alarmed cables (extension cord type) which are run through the units at night and plugged into alarm outlets on the building. (These outlets are wired to the building alarm system.) Cutting the cables or pulling out the plug will set off the alarms. These are also very useful to alarm equipment on display outside the store during business hours to reduce the risk of grab-and-run thefts.


7. Yard Lighting

Should be tamper/vandal proof, activated by motion detectors.


Conversion Prevention

The second most common source of theft for Canadian rental dealers is through conversion. Theft by conversion is a fraudulent act where a person uses false information or identification to defraud another person of his/her property for the purposes of obtaining and/or disposing of this property. Conversion results in the immediate loss of inventory and can have effects on your ongoing booking schedule. Fortunately there are steps that can be taken to reduce the incidence of theft by conversion at your rental dealership.


1. Always request to see photo ID
Check that renter matches the photo on the ID. Check that signature on rental contract matches the one on the ID.


2. Ask for for a second piece of ID from first-time renters


3. Record vehicle information for walk-in renters
Make, model, colour, license plate number and company name/logos if applicable


4. Double check phone orders by calling back prior to delivering the equipment.
Confirm orders with a known contact person. Get name of person that will receive at job site.


5. Do NOT leave equipment unattended at a job site
Deliver it to an employee of the renter and get his / her signature and ID. If not sure – double check with office or do not leave equipment.


6. Pick up equipment as soon as possible after renter is finished.


7. Make sure renters know they are responsible for equipment until it is returned or picked up


For more information on how to manage the risks of theft at your rental dealership, please contact one of our risk management professionals. While risk management strategies can reduce your chances for loss, in the event of a loss it is important to ensure your business has the right level of insurance coverage. Visit our CRA Commercial Insurance page to learn how we can help protect your business.

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