How to protect your lawn care business from being wiped out!

You may be surprised on how fast you can go from being a lawn care business owner to being the owner of nothing but a business name and concept. A theft can take place in the blink of an eye and leave you left with no equipment. Here are some stories from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how thefts effected lawn care businesses and what the owners did to protect themselves after the fact. If there is a lesson to be learned here, it’s to be proactive. Don’t wait until it happens to prevent it from happening again. Prevent it from happening the first time!

One lawn care business owner wrote ” I started my business a little over a year ago. I was so pleased with myself as I finally got an enclosed trailer and had all my equipment about paid off. My next step was to save for a quality rider since I’m still push mowing. After testing out a brand new zero turn that broke down I turned my attention to it for ten minutes and someone broke the locks off the trailer and stole everything!!! I guess I’m lucky they didn’t make off with my $2,000 trailer and truck. So now I’m back to starting all over again. What I hate most is that I don’t know what I can do to prevent this from happening again. I need some help!”

Some responses he got were:

“GET BUSINESS INSURANCE! Locks keep honest people out, however, if they want it, they will get it!

I went through a recent theft myself and lost all but my zero turn mowers and trailer. It was heart breaking to say the least. I had all new stihl equipment. They even stole my old equipment off my backup trailer. The best advice I can give you, from someone who has been through this themselves is to get your business license, and insurance! I pay $1,200 a year for my insurance and it is well worth it. If my equipment is ever stolen again, I will get a check and buy new.

There have been many thefts in my area. One of my friends who also runs his own lawn care business, had his truck, trailer, mowers (except the one he was on) and everything stolen, all while he was servicing a client! The thieves busted his truck’s steering column and drove his truck away as he mowing a customer’s back yard.

Another local company was at a red traffic light. A truck pulled up behind them. Three guys got out and unloaded all the equipment they could grab and drove away! These people are brazen and crazy!”

“I have had equipment and gas cans stolen from my truck /trailer while parked in my own yard. Now I back my truck into my car port so my trailer is only 10 feet way from my front door. I make sure that the blowers and gas cans and anything not locked down gets put in our shop at night. I have also bought and installed a 4 camera dvr surveillance system that records everything 24/7. We have 3 cameras on our truck and yard and 1 in our shop. I also have a german shepherd dog that barks and carries on when anyone comes down our road.

My trailer is now alarmed. It is nice because it is solar-powered system. The alarm is in a steel enclosure to make it weather proof. It has an adjustable vibration sensor and it also has hardwired door sensors. When the alarm goes off there is a siren sound. The marker and trailer lights flash, and it also locks up the trailer brakes. It cost me about $275.00. I think any basic system is a deterrent since most criminals want fast, quiet and easy access. So anything that changes this is a plus.”

“If you really want to protect your equipment, try a motion activated alarm that you can arm and disarm from a secret location on the trailer. I use this in combination with a GPS tracking system on all the bigger equipment. I also have signs on the trailer and equipment that says it has a security system that is monitored. You can pick up a battery operated security system for under a hundred bucks and it’s really easy to wire in.

Make sure you keep everything locked when it is out of your sight. There are plenty of locking devices on the market for locking down trimmers, blowers and gas cans. Use quality locks for enclosed trailer doors and hitches when not in use.”

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