Tradie vehicles are a prime target for thieves nationwide. Often because they contain expensive and easy to sell tools. And because they are more likely to be left unlocked as workers need to regularly gain access to them. Here are our top tips to reduce the impact on you and your business of falling victim to theft.

1. Fit an alarm

Although an alarm can’t actually stop a criminal stealing your vehicle, it will certainly deter them. And the noise will more than likely scare them off even if they do make an attempt.

Contact a local auto electrician about getting one installed, depending on the features it may set you back between $400-$1,000.

2. Fit an immobiliser

An immobiliser prevents a vehicle from being started by someone who doesn’t have the proper key. Although they won’t stop your ute from being broken into, it will stop it being driven away. Many new vehicles will have these fitted as standard, although you may not realise it.

3. Fit a GPS tracker

With a GPS system hidden in the vehicle if it’s stolen you’ll be able to track it down and recover it. These can cost between $400-$700 installed, with some needing a monthly subscription while with others the only ongoing cost is a pre-paid sim card.

We’ve arranged for a discount from the following installers when you mention you were referred by Builtin:

Town/CityBusinessPhone NumberDiscount
WhangareiAuto Tech Northland09 438 306310%
AucklandAutomotive Security09 377 771618%
HamiltonColin’s Auto Electrical07 838 132110%
TaurangaTrends Car Stereos07 578 515410%
RotoruaArawa Auto Electrical07 347 807510%
GisborneGisborne Autoelectrics06 868 801210%
NapierWilliams Auto Electrical06 835 809310%
New PlymouthCustom Auto06 757 584410%
WanganuiImage Audio & Security06 345 210910%
Palmerston NorthBroadway Auto Electrical06 358501310%
WellingtonObsessive Vehicle Security021 242 527610%
NelsonRadio World03 548762010%
ChristchurchJC Install0800 128 34610%
QueenstownA1 Auto Electrics03 442 434210%
DunedinAuto Tint & Sound03 260 787810%
InvercargillTop Gear Audio & Installation03 214 444710%

4. Steering wheel lock

These robust steel devices are secured to the steering wheel when the vehicle is not in use. Their real value is as a deterrent to would-be thieves, who are likely to move on to an easier target. A very cost effective option, these devices can cost as little as $15 on TradeMe (but you get what you pay for).

5. Secure parking

If you can park your wagon off street then do so whenever possible, as it’s far less likely to be stolen than when parked on the side of the road. That includes using your garage for what it was designed for! If you have to park it on the street try to get a spot that is well lit and think about installing your own security lighting and cameras.\

6. Hide valuables

Criminals will break into your vehicle for as little as a bit of loose change, so keep all valuables out of sight or even better take them with you. For tradies, your signwritten vehicle is a magnet for thieves because of the potential haul of expensive tools in the back. Tinted/painted out windows (if allowed) will help reduce the appeal of your vehicle, as will having robust, locked storage chests fitted. You can get these custom made (or make your own) or go to someone like Van Vault, which specialises in secure tool storage:

7. Lock it!

Many thefts occur because the vehicle is left unlocked. It’s easy to do, especially when you, and your guys, are frequently having to pop back and forth to get stuff. Opportunists will grab anything they can and be gone in seconds. Even worse, don’t leave it unlocked with the keys still in the ignition while you go in to pay for your petrol or pop into the dairy!

8. Marking/etching

These are both ways of permanently marking your property and deterring thieves. Because clearly marked tools are much harder to sell they’re less attractive to thieves. And although it may not stop your ute being stolen (and along with it all the tools in the back) it will certainly make recovery easier. Many tradies are now branding their tools with their LBP or mobile number and this is a great idea.  The police also regularly offer free engraving services, often through your local merchant (at one of their BBQ brekkies for instance). An engraving tool can be picked up for $40, or use a soldering iron on the plastic parts.

Following any of these tips will help reduce the risk of theft and avoid the cost and nuisance of being without your important business assets. The more you can do the more secure your assets will be.