Your work van doubles as your office, your workshop and your transportation. It houses your tools, important documents and keeps your business moving both on and off the road. It's like another member of your team, but it's also an attractive target for thieves looking to make a quick buck. That's why you need to make sure you're keeping your work van as secure as possible.
You work hard to keep your business moving, so don't let thieves set you back. Opportunistic thieves often target commercial vans just like yours. So, how can you keep your work van secure? Let's go over some helpful tips for work van security to keep the thieves at bay and your business operating at full speed.
13 Work Van Security Tips
Keeping your work van secure should be a top priority. Thieves are constantly looking for opportunities to steal your tools, equipment, important documents and even your van itself. Maintain a secure work van and keep the thieves sidelined with these 13 helpful tips.
1. Invest in an Alarm System
This might sound like the obvious choice for work van security, but many companies do not invest in alarm systems for their vans and other vehicles in their fleets. You can save yourself a lot of unnecessary worrying and stress by installing a quality alarm system for your work van. In most cases, you can purchase and have a simple alarm system installed for less than $1,000.
You likely have several tools or pieces of equipment worth more than the cost of purchasing and installing an alarm system for your work van. This makes installing an alarm system a logical first choice for securing your work van, tools and equipment.
2. Always Lock Your Doors
This might seem like common sense, but thieves target unlocked vehicles first. Locking your doors is one of the first work van security measures you should take to prevent theft. Regardless of where you are or where your van is parked, always remember to lock the doors. It only takes a few seconds for an opportunistic thief to open an unlocked door and walk off with thousands of dollars worth of valuable tools and other supplies.
You can equip your work van with slam lock doors that automatically lock themselves once the door is shut. These locks mean you don't need to remember to lock your doors and ensure you keep your valuable items locked. Be careful with slam lock doors, though. However, slam lock doors also make it easier to accidentally lock your keys inside. If you go with slam lock doors, be sure to keep an extra set of keys with you at all times.
You can also install external locking handles on your work van or service vehicle. External locking door handles require a key to unlock and open the cargo door. Consider installing one of these that uses a separate key from the ignition key to unlock the door. This is an extra security measure that enhances your security to prevent thieves from entering your work van.
3. Keep Internal Storage Locked
Locking your doors is a wise initial step in securing your work van, but you'll also want to keep any internal storage locked up when it's not in use as well. If a thief does get into your van, you'll want to make it hard for them to access your expensive tools and other materials or supplies by locking them up in an internal storage or toolbox inside your work van. Securing your tools and other equipment also helps keep you safe while you're working and traveling to and from job sites.
4. Protect Your Catalytic Converter
Catalytic converter theft is quickly becoming one of the most prevalent vehicle theft crimes in the country. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), there were approximately 1,200 catalytic converter thefts per month in 2020. It only takes a few minutes for a knowledgeable thief to crawl under your work van and remove your catalytic converter.
Work vans provide an easy target for catalytic converter thieves as they are easily accessed. Work vans sit up higher and have more room to maneuver underneath the front end. Thieves can get anywhere from $50 to $250 for a catalytic converter while it costs you and your business thousands to replace a stolen converter. Here are a couple of helpful tips to protect your catalytic converter:
- Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device: These large plates go over your catalytic converter, making it more difficult to access. Thieves will have to cut off the protective plate before being able to access the converter, thus deterring them from attempting to steal your catalytic converter to start with.
- Engrave your catalytic converter: Thieves sell your catalytic converter to scrap or junkyards for easy cash. To combat this, engrave your catalytic converter with your vehicle identification number (VIN) as well as your business's name, address and phone number. You can even get creative and engrave messages to would-be thieves.
5. Don't Let Keys Out of Your Sight
One of the easiest ways for thieves to gain access to your work van is by stealing your keys. Always keep your keys on your person and don't let them out of your sight. Only entrust keys to verified people around the job site. If you have a spare set of keys, try not to keep them in your work van or in an easily accessible place around the shop or your house. Thieves look for easy opportunities to gain access to your work van, so don't make it easy for them and keep your keys on you at all times.
6. Store Your Tools Elsewhere Overnight
One of the easiest ways to prevent work van theft is to take your valuable tools, equipment, materials and other supplies out of your work van overnight and store them in a safe location. You can even go as far as posting signage on the side and back windows that clearly states your van does not have tools and equipment inside overnight or when it's not in use. A sign like this can help deter opportunistic thieves.
If thieves don't think they can get anything of value by breaking into your work van, then they're far less likely to attempt it in the first place. Storing your tools and equipment in a separate location overnight ensures that if there is a break-in, thieves can't take anything of value.
7. Tone Down Flashy Advertising
If you have advertising on your work van, keep in mind that flashy, bold advertising can make your vehicle a more attractive target for thieves. To stop a thief, you need to think like a thief. They want easy access to high-value items and tools. The nicer the advertising and messaging on your work van, the nicer the goods, tools and equipment stored inside must be.
You don't want to strip your work van of all advertising or branding, but do consider toning it down to keep from making it an attractive target for thieves. Consider simple lettering and basic color schemes for your work van.
8. Organize Your Work Van
Keeping your work van organized has many benefits. Your work van is like your mobile office and workshop combined into one, so organization is important to getting the job done right. An organized work van can increase your productivity and help you track your tools, parts, supplies and other equipment needed on job sites. Being well-organized can also help keep you safe by securing all of your essential tools and equipment and preventing them from becoming a dangerous projectile in an accident.
9. Consider Where You Are Parking Overnight
Thieves typically try to gain easy access to your work van at night when business hours have long been over. One of the best ways to improve your work van or contractor vehicle security is to park in a well-lit conspicuous location. This will deter opportunistic thieves who want to stay in the shadows and out of the light. You may also want to consider parking your work van in a secure location such as inside a locked gate or fenced area if possible.
Deny thieves access to your work van altogether by securing it behind a gate or fenced area that is lit at night. Thieves look for easy targets, so your goal in securing your work van is to make it difficult to access in the first place.
10. Update and Read Your Insurance Policy
You could still experience theft despite your best efforts to secure your commercial van, so you'll want to be certain your insurance covers any theft. Many thieves target smaller, more transportable items, like your catalytic converter, tools and equipment, rather than your work van itself. They want to take high-priced items to turn around and sell them for quick, easy money.
Your business insurance policy should be a safety net if you experience a loss, so be sure you carefully read over your policy to understand what's covered and what's not. Some business policies cover theft, but others don't. Contact your insurance provider if you have any questions about what's covered by your policy. Ask if theft is covered, and be sure your tools and equipment are part of that coverage.
You'll also want to take inventory of your equipment and tools and document all serial numbers. Consider engraving your equipment or tools with your business's name, address and a "property of" message just to be safe. Discussing this with your insurance provider is a proactive approach to covering any losses incurred from theft of property.
11. Install a Dashcam
Dashcams are an excellent option for commercial vehicles such as work vans or contractor vehicles for several reasons including security. Dashcams that capture footage can help you in the event of an accident, and they can deter thieves looking to steal your tools and equipment.
Several dashcams on the market today have motion detection features that trigger them to start recording when they detect any movement within a certain radius of your vehicle. This makes them a sensible choice for contractor vehicle security as thieves examine your van, looking for an opportunity to steal tools and other equipment. If you experience tool theft, your dashcam can help police recover your stolen items and identify the thief.
You can install several cameras to monitor your tools and equipment, too. Large work vans with multiple points of entry may need more than one camera to adequately monitor all the equipment, tools and supplies. Consider more than one camera if you feel like your work van is vulnerable at more than one entry point.
12. Secure Your Windows
Windows are an easy access point for thieves looking to walk off with your valuable tools and other equipment. Secure your windows using metal grills for reinforcement. Metal grills are installed on the inside of your windows so that if a thief breaks a window in an attempt to enter your work van, the grill prevents them from entering the vehicle.
You can also have the windows in your work van tinted. Tinting the windows prevents thieves from being able to see the contents inside your work van. If they can't see what's inside, then they can't be enticed by the contents. When combined with metal grills or grates, tinted windows are an economical choice to deter thieves.
13. Install GPS Tracking Systems
A global positioning system (GPS) tracking device can help keep your work van or contractor vehicle secure, but installing a GPS tracking device or system on your commercial vehicles, work vans and other fleet cars has more benefits beyond simply enhancing your security. If your van is stolen or carjacked, a GPS tracking system will accurately pinpoint its location and help you recover your asset quickly and safely.
GPS tracking systems can help increase your productivity and improve your fuel efficiency as well. Advanced tracking systems offer real-time feedback regarding speed, location and average miles per gallon. Some insurance providers will even offer you a discount for equipping your vehicles with GPS monitoring systems. These systems help ensure workers drive safely and minimize risk, which is a benefit in the eyes of insurance companies.
Many times, your work van security comes down to your level of preparation and prevention. Taking the steps necessary to secure your valuable goods, tools and equipment will save you time and money in the long run. You've worked too hard building your business to allow one small incident such as a break-in or theft to derail all of your hard work.
Upgrade Your Work Van With Advantage Outfitters, LLC
If your work van could use some security upgrades, the experts at Advantage Outfitters have you covered. Whether you need van shelving, internal organizational accessories or a fully customized overhaul of your work van, we have the experience and equipment to help keep your vehicles secure and your business running smoothly.
Advantage Outfitters has two showrooms conveniently located to offer customers an easy way to browse the equipment and accessories they need to keep their business organized and running efficiently. With the region's largest mobile installation fleet, Advantage Outfitters makes upgrading your work van or fleet of service vehicles convenient and affordable.
Ready to learn more about the products and services we offer? Our experienced and knowledgeable staff is standing by to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.
Fill out our online form or give us a call at 866-925-4844 to speak with one of our professional representatives today. We're also available to answer your questions online with our Live Chat feature! Don't wait another minute to get started securing and organizing your work van, contractor vehicle or entire commercial service fleet.