Theft of construction equipment is unfortunately the cost of doing business for most contractors across Canada. The Ontario Provincial Police estimates between $15 to $20million worth of heavy construction equipment is stolen every year, with the value across Canada being reported from anywhere between $300 million to $1 billion.
According to Canadian Insurance provider Aviva, on average construction companies experience two thefts per year, with losses averaging $25,000 for licensed vehicles and $1,600 for tools.
When equipment is stolen from a jobsite, not only does it mean lost productivity, it also results in additional costs incurred from time wasted filing police reports and insurance claims, additional costs of renting new equipment and can also result in higher insurance premiums moving forwards.
So how can the savvy contractor avoid all these costs for their business?
The answer is simple, “You’ve got a better chance of reducing the cost to your business from theft of equipment if you ensure the equipment you’re renting is fitted with GPS tracking, as part of the provider’s telematics solution.” says Rod Lentino, Fleet Manager at Cooper Equipment Rentals.
“In April we received calls from three different customers reporting equipment being stolen from their jobsites, one in Calgary and two in the Greater Toronto Area, and we haven’t even hit the busy season yet.” shares Lentino. “In all three cases we were able to track and locate the stolen equipment, provide information to the police to enable them to obtain a warrant, and we recovered all three units and had them back in our branches for maintenance the same day. In these cases because our customers reacted quickly in letting us know, we were able to fully utilize our telematics technology to recover the assets which meant our customers were not saddled with replacement costs for equipment, which in some cases can be considerable.”
One of those customers was Lindsey Conroy from Leeswood Construction, who had a John Deere 330G Skidsteer stolen from the job site, “I came to the site Monday morning to use the machine and it wasn’t there! I asked around and no one knew where it had gone. I then called Cooper to see if they had come to collect it which they hadn’t, their team got on it right away and told me over the phone that it had been taken at 7.00am that morning. I then called the police and was able to check the jobsite security cameras at the time that it had been taken.”
The skidsteer was found 45 minutes away from Conroy’s site where the police were able to charge the thief and the asset was safely returned to Cooper. In this instance Conroy avoided the costs involved with either replacing the $70,000 skidsteer, or having to go through insurance and pay the deductibles. “We don’t opt for Cooper’s Protection Plan” said Conroy, “so it wouldn’t have gone well if we would have had to go through our insurance. And I guarantee that if the equipment hadn’t had GPS tracking we would never have seen that piece of equipment again.”
Joe Orlando from Minuk Construction and Engineering, Ontario, had a Bobcat T590 stolen from the jobsite. “We noticed that the Bobcat wasn’t there, so at first I walked the site as I thought that someone may have taken it to use it, no one could find it so I checked our security cameras and saw that it had been stolen. We then called Cooper Equipment Rentals who tracked the location of the machine to a farm in Ontario and gave the information to the police.” In this case the stolen asset was recovered within 6 hours of it having been taken which again meant that Minuk Construction avoided all replacement costs or insurance claim headaches.
“We know we have a limited window to retrieve the machines, these criminals are savvy, so we rely on timely notification from the customer to help us get the machines located quickly and provide the information to the police. We appreciate our customers bringing theft to our attention quickly and working with us.” says Lentino.
Todd Barlow, VP Operations at Bauer Foundations in Ontario, who had a Bobcat T590 stolen from a jobsite in Mississauga, Ontario, says “When you rent equipment that has GPS tracking it enhances your relationship with your rental provider because in my case I know Cooper is looking out for me.”
Barlow says, “It helps keep the cost of business down so we can pass those savings onto our customers. Having telematics systems on equipment definitely influences my decision on who I rent equipment from. We’ve talked about this at a senior management level within our company, we are now thinking of updating our own equipment with GPS tracking too, now that we’ve seen how effective Cooper were at locating and recovering the machine we had on rent.”
With theft of construction equipment set to continue to rise, it makes sense from a financial perspective to look for equipment rental providers who have a solid telematics program in place. So that when equipment is stolen from your jobsite, you know you’ve got a good chance of it being returned safely so that you can avoid considerable equipment replacement costs.
Ask your rental provider for a demonstration of their telematics solution and also what protection plans they have available, before you make the decision to rent equipment. Taking the time to research these options up front will save you considerable costs down the road when your project is underway.