You arrive at your job site first thing Monday morning, only to discover that two of your excavators are missing. Your crew and remaining equipment sit idle, while you call the police and wait for replacement machines to arrive at the site so you can get to work. You’re losing time and money, and now you have the added distraction of trying to find your missing equipment.
This exact scenario happened not long ago to McGuire and Hester, a California Bay Area construction company, but they got lucky – they were able to recover both stolen excavators by requesting help from their social media networks. Their posts brought what they termed a “resounding response,” including one that led police to the stolen machines.
Theft of equipment or job site materials can be one of your worst nightmares, but stuff happens. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says heavy equipment theft actually dropped 7% between 2011 and 2012, and it’s down 19% since 2008. Obviously that’s good news, but here’s the bad news: only 20% of that equipment was recovered. And that cost contractors in the neighborhood of $300 million.
In 2012, loaders – skid steers and backhoes – were the second-most popular machines with thieves, accounting for 18% of all heavy equipment stolen. The NCIB suggests that’s because they’re comparatively easy to transport.
How can you use social media to get help, if your equipment is stolen?
- Do like McGuire and Hester, and immediately get the word out to your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. Make sure you have photos of all your equipment, including key attachments, so you can post the pictures, too.
- List your stolen construction equipment on Stolen 911 (http://stolen911.com) a free website dedicated to helping recover stolen property. Your listing will be displayed to anyone searching on Google. You can also use their simple template to create a “wanted” poster you can share via social media or print out to post around town, at local supply yards, anywhere that might help.
How’s your insurance coverage?
Have you purchased any new equipment or attachments lately? When was the last time you reviewed your coverage to be sure all your equipment is listed, and that everything is covered for appropriate amounts? Theft or significant damage to machinery can ruin your ability to stay on time and on budget, so prudent business owners make sure their insurance is up to date.
And sometimes, things just break. That’s why it’s equally important to investigate the benefits of extended warranties for your construction equipment. Top quality machines will outlive even the most outstanding new-equipment warranty, but as machines age things are more likely to go wrong. An extended warranty that covers your powertrain, your powertrain plus your hydraulics or even the entire machine could turn out to be one of your smartest investments.
Talk to your insurance agent about how you can discourage theft, both at your yard and on your job sites. Doing everything you can to protect your construction equipment protects your ability to keep insurance premiums low and keep your jobs on schedule. But if the unthinkable happens to you, remember to call on your social media family for help recovering stolen equipment.