Lessons learned after landscape trailer was stolen.

What would happen to your business if your landscape trailer and equipment were stolen today or tonight? Would you be able to recover fast enough that you wouldn’t lose any customers? Would you be able to recover at all? If not, why not? You need a plan to take effect if this were to happen as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Some thefts can be devastating to newer start up businesses. Don’t let this happen to you and learn from this entrepreneurs mistakes.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am currently in my 3rd year of business operations. I started my landscape company right after I graduated from high school with a little financial help from my parents. I am now a senior in college and am still servicing mowing customers on a part time basis until I complete school and can go full time at it.

At first I started out with a home built trailer, a riding mower that I already had to cut my own lawn, one line trimmer, an edger, and an electric powered blower! I was really a newbie at all this but I figured you have to get started somewhere. One month into my start up my entire landscape trailer was stolen and I never saw it again! So thanks to my parents, I went out and bought some new lawn care equipment.

I drove right over to the local big box home improvement store as we know that’s the best place to get commercial equipment ;). I bought a ztr, line trimmer, stick edger, a gas leaf blower, and a 5′x8′ flatbed trailer that I pulled with my Jeep.

Landscape trailer was stolen.

Landscape trailer was stolen.

Three years later amazingly enough, I still have all the same original equipment with the addition of another push mower now being towed around on a 16′x8′ v-nose enclosed landscape trailer.

If it wasn’t for my parents, my business would have been dead in the water as I had no insurance to cover the replacement costs of the equipment. Moral of the story is to keep your equipment locked up, in a well lit area, and have insurance. It helps.

Early on I was keeping my trailer at my parent’s office which was only a couple miles from my house, but it was located on one of the most traveled county roads in my area. I did have it locked behind a 6′ chain link fence but that did not stop someone from driving by in the evening and seeing it. Then deciding to come back with a truck, cut the lock off the gate, hook up my trailer and take off with everything.

During the day, I now keep the trailer ramp locked no matter what I am doing. The side door along with receiver pin stays locked too and a ball lock is in place when I am not hooked up to it. I know that even with an enclosed trailer, if someone really wants to steal it, they can get into it, so I try to make the area as uninviting for thieves as possible. The parking area is kept well lit at night, an internet webcam is set up with email alerts when the motion activity sensor goes off. Is this overkill? Maybe. But in all reality, it doesn’t take much to enact these precautions and it is just good business to prevent theft.

At the time I felt I had no better option of where to park my trailer. The funny thing is, behind the gate, we also had a dump trailer and another flatbed, but my trailer was the closest to the gate and the  easiest to haul away. That’s why I always make sure to lock up every trailer every time. And have installed a fence visual barrier so you can’t just drive by and see what is back there without coming up to the gate and looking over it as your vehicle and face is videoed by my webcam.

Don’t make it easy for thieves to take what you have. Most crimes are simply crimes of opportunity. If someone who is shady sees something you have and they want it, they will try to steal it. So don’t make it easy for them to see what you have at a time when they think they aren’t being watched.”

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