If you’re a tradesman, builder or just an enthusiast who owns expensive tools then you’re probably in a similar situation to me. You want to protect your tools from thieves. Tools are very desirable items for any opportunist criminal so protecting them should always be in the back of your mind. There are a few key ways to achieve this including good security and a decent gps tracking system which I’ll go into more detail below.
Tools are essential for tradesmen, a lifeline that can lead to days of lost work should they not be available. It’s also a very costly experience. Break-ins to vans, garages and sheds can cause hundreds, if not thousands of pounds worth of damage. Not to mention the cost of replacing the tools themselves. Sure, you’ll likely be covered by insurance but without your tools, you’re a sitting duck.
The best way to protect your livelihood and your tools is prevention. So what can you do to prevent your tools being stolen?
Table of Contents
- Track your tools with GPS – PAJ GPS Tracker
- Further protection for your tools
Number One – Lock them up tight
Lock your tools up securely. If they are stored in a shed or another type of wooden outbuilding make sure the doors have secure locks on them. Double or triple locking the doors will be the perfect deterrent. Some sheds will only have simple outside mounted hinges on them. Swap these for internal hinges or use single sided bolts to fasten the hinges. You could also reinforce the doors to make them much more difficult to force open or cut through. There are a number of different wooden building lock types that will help secure the building from intruders.
Number Two – Secure windows
Windows are a weak point on most garden buildings. If you have a standard window then it will likely be made from a thin flexible polycarbonate sheet. It’s worth replacing these with glass, preferably double glazing. If you don’t need the light from the windows you could consider removing them altogether and boarding them up with a tougher material. Always use lockable window handles where possible.
Number Three – Security system
A great way to put off a thief would be a security system, or even just a dummy security system. CCTV is a great way to deter thieves from even trying to steal your tools. You can buy inexpensive smart security cameras or even dummy cameras as visual deterrents.
Adding security stickers to windows and doors may also deter a thief. If they think a building is alarmed then they might give up.
Door and window security sensors linked with a security camera system will be able to notify you or trigger an alarm should your shed be opened. This again will cause a thief to flee the scene before your precious tools are stolen.
Number Four – Hide them
This might sound a bit silly but hiding your tools is a great way to protect them. Additional lockable cupboards or drawers within your shed will make it even more difficult for a thief to easily get away with them. You can get quite creative with hidden compartments within your shed that only you know how to find and access. Dummy walls within the building, trap doors in the floor and hidden space within the roof are great ways to hide your most precious or expensive tools.
This pretty much covers the prevention section of this post. Now I want to take a look into GPS tracking for your tools. For this purpose I’ve been looking at and testing a specific product called the PAJ GPS tracker. A comprehensive system like this provides peace of mind when it comes to keeping an eye on your precious tools.
Track your tools with GPS – PAJ GPS Tracker
Your worries are over with one of these devices. Small enough to slip into a toolbox, tool bag, tool chest or one of your carry cases it’s the ultimate device for seeing and tracking your tools every movement. You can even set it to notify you when you items are moved. The particular product I am looking at for this task is the PAJ GPS Allround Finder 4G. Let’s take a look at some of the key features that make this a sound investment to protect your tools:
PAJ GPS Allround Finder 4G features
The PAJ GPS tracker offers live tracking directly from a smart mobile device such as an iPhone or iPad. The PAJ Portal app is available from the Apple App Store or Google Play store for Android. The app provides live tracking of your tools in real-time. So if they are on the move without you, it’s simple to follow them and notify the authorities if required.
We trialed our PAJ GPS tracker on a walk to see how it performed. The device was in our bag for the entire journey.
Along side the live tracking through the app is accurate route information so you can see exactly where your tools have been since leaving your possession. This can be very useful information for the police to prevent further thefts and locate more stolen tools.
The route information provides date/time, speed and location which is saved in the history of the app. Very sophisticated stuff.
Built in motion sensors allow the device to automatically go into and come out of standby mode. This means the device can save battery power when not in motion. The motion sensor also comes in handy for the alerting system. You can manage the alerts / notifications to let you know if your tracker is moved for any reason. For this example you might want to hide the tracker in your home workshop toolkit, a set of tools that should never leave your property. When configured, you will receive a notification that the toolkit has been disturbed or moved.
Yet another helpful feature of this device is the ability to setup a safe zone around your tracker. You can use the app to map out a ring fence around your property. Should the tracker ever leave the designated area an alert will be sent. Perfect to protect your tools at home or at a clients property.
Alerts can be configured as emails or push notifications from the app.
2G and 4G network coverage
The Allround Finder 4G works with both a 2G and 4G networks so you will find coverage throughout 99% of the UK and the tracker also work across another 100 countries worldwide so you’ll be able to track it almost anywhere.
There are two more features offer with this device but I don’t think they will apply to protecting your tools, but worth mentioning anyway. The first is a speed alert. You can configure the tracker to send a notification if it reaches a certain speed (must be over 50km/h). The other is a manual SOS button on the device itself. When pressing the button an alert can be sent to the configured recipients. Again, not sure how this would benefit the protection of your tools but maybe you will think of something.
What is in the box?
You will get the tracker, SIM card (already in the device), a charger cable, a charger wall plug, instruction manual, quick start guide and a protective carry case.
What you’ll need for full operation
To get the best out of this tracker you’ll need to download the app and register the device on the PAJ portal. You’ll need a subscription for full operation of all the tracking features but thankfully this isn’t expensive. There are a few different options but if you opt for the 2 year subscription at £89.99 it works out at just £3.75 per month. For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can protect your tools, which I think is very reasonable.
How to use the PAJ GPS Allround Finder
Once you’ve registered the product in the portal and signed up for one of the subscriptions you have full control over the tracker. Fully charge the device, switch it on and place it in your desired location. Register for an account on the PAJ GPS Finder Portal. This can be on the app or webpage. You’re then ready to go.
The Finder Portal is intuitive to use with clear maps and tracking information. I found it easy to manage through the webpage rather than the app. I can see the app will be useful when you don’t have access to a computer.
PAJ GPS Allround Finder 4G
There are a number of GPS locators on the market for specifically this kind of tracking. We think the functionality on the PAJ Allround Finder is far superior to others due to the level of tracking information available. Simple tag GPS devices are ok for the job but only have basic tracking features that will limit your ability to recover your stolen tools.
Whilst the PAJ GPS Allround is a great device for tracking your tools it isn’t limited to this. Read here for more applications for this tracking device.
Further protection for your tools
Here are a few more ideas worth considering to protect your tools. These ideas will help you identify your tools and prove they are yours when they are recovered after a theft.
Identifying your tools
The best way to mark your tools is to etch your name into they somewhere. This will make them unique and quickly identifiable when recovered. You should also take a note of all the serial numbers on the more expensive tools. Drills, electric saws and other larger expensive electrical tools will all have serial numbers which can be written down or saved in a note on your smart phone. You could also photograph them to store this information.
Your home insurance should cover your tools if they are securely locked in your shed. This might not always be the case so make sure to check this on your documents or ask your insurer. Higher value items over a certain amount (£1000 for example) might not be covered as standard and you might need to declare these as specific high value items.
If you’re operating as a business or sole trader make sure you have public liability insurance and the level of cover is extended to your tools. Some insurers don’t cover tools as standard and won’t provide cover at all if left in a van overnight.
With the addition of extra security, GPS tracking, marked tools and insurance we really do cover ourselves and our livelihoods with regards to our tools. Avoid the trauma and time wasting with these top tips and tricks when it comes to protecting your tools in your shed.