Dealers’ Domain

Question: What security measures have you taken to protect your dealership from burglars and shoplifters?

Several years ago, we had security cameras and a recorder installed. The system cost about $1,500. We thought they were fine until we realized you could not make out the guy’s face when we had a shoplifter in the parts room. Soon after, we needed a license plate number and could not make that out either. We have now spent the extra money to get good cameras installed and have had the software on the recorder updated. I will tell you spend the money on a good system and use a quality installer. It is worth the investment.
— Matt Borden, owner
Ed & Matt Equipment
Greenville, R.I.

About 2 years ago, we got robbed. We had 14 chain saws taken in 1 minute. These were professionals as they had a hydraulic splitter to pry the front door open; they pulled the deadbolt through the door frame. Found out later we were used as a cover, so they could rob the tools from the service center of an auto dealer across town that didn’t have an alarm. Since then, we have beefed up the alarm system we already had in place, and we now cable the handheld equipment together. The alarm did its job, but the cables are to slow them down. Another thing we do is not leave customer units outside overnight. A local repair shop had a customer unit and his trailer stolen this year. Being hit by some professional thieves makes you realize you cannot prevent everything, but putting things in place to slow them down helps, as long as you take the steps and follow through with them.
— Todd Biddinger, manager
T&T Rent-All
Rochester, Ind.

We have installed security cameras that monitor inside and outside of our buildings. There have been two or three incidents since we had them installed about a year-and-a-half ago. They have essentially paid for themselves already, and we couldn’t be happier that we made the decision to incorporate them into our surveillance system, along with a monitored alarm system.
— Marsha Thomas, controller
Charles S. Snyder Inc.
Tamaqua, Pa.

We have always had a security system, but I decided a couple years ago to get it updated with motion sensors too. We moved the counter to be opposite the door so my employees can see out into the parking lot and see each and every customer as they enter or leave the main door. All other doors were converted to center-bar push doors per the new fire code, so anyone can exit them, but no one can access them from the outside — which has helped a lot.  Also, bar-code guns were installed to keep employees from ringing up the wrong product for non-equipment purchases — this has helped a lot and shown where long-term employees had part numbers wrong in their heads. All purchases now must be “touched and felt” by my employees per SOP so that nothing on a cart is hidden behind something else and the correct SKU is written up every time. So far, this has scared away the casual shoplifter because my employees are so involved, as they should be.
— Ben Chisholm, sales center manager
Horizon Distributors H520 
Lakewood, Wash.

We have security cameras inside and outside. We are careful not to display equipment, which would be easy to grab and go, near the doors. We also are careful what we put out on the counter. Of course, we have a security system for when we are closed — motion and sound detectors inside all my buildings and detectors on all entrance doors to all buildings. We have been fortunate and have never been broken into after hours. We are very well lighted after dark as well.
— David Vassey
Vassey Lawn and Garden Center
Cleveland, Tenn.

I think our dealership takes about all the steps that we can to make sure our facility is secure. We have an alarm system with motion detectors, and door sensors on all of the doors. We also have a safe locked inside of our computer server room. If we get too much cash in the cash register, we instruct the cashiers to put that money in the safe immediately. We also process a bank deposit daily to keep as little cash on hand as possible. The only time it’s good to have a bad day in sales, is when you get robbed!!!
— Jason Hicks, parts & service manager
West Chester Lawn & Garden         
Liberty Township, Ohio

It’s said that, in Wisconsin, we buy a security system for our shop, make sure the cameras are pointed in the right direction, ensure we have plenty of storage on our media center hard drive, check out the power supply, and then when we exit the shop, we leave the doors open.
That way, the customers can pick up their equipment or leave off machines for repair without our intervention.
Seriously, though, our theft protection system works like this: We mix the repaired items with the incoming work so the potential thieves won’t know if they’re stealing something that works. Mr. Thief wouldn’t want to bring back a stolen item for repair, now would he/she?
— Flute Snyder
Hudson Mower Doctor
Hudson, Wis.

Our 3/4-acre compound is fenced in. I hired a security company; the gates have motion sensors and also the inside area and all buildings. The sales and shop area are tied into the system and can be monitored from my cell phone or from my house.
— Joseph L. Nance Jr., owner
Calabash Small Engine Inc.
Calabash, N.C.

We have added outside cameras. The buildings are all alarmed, and there are motion detectors inside. The floor plan has been moved around to eliminate blind corners. We plan to install inside cameras within the year.
— Dan D’Arcy, president
Granby, Mass.

Just last month, I installed a really nice, inexpensive security system with cameras. It’s already caught one person jumping our fence at 2:45 in the morning. Sad thing is the law came out and said, Yep, he’s in your yard. The guy didn’t take anything that we could see, so he just left. We are able to view the business through our home computer and my wife’s iPhone. Notice, I said wife’s iPhone; I’m not smart enough to use one. Also, I can monitor the front of business from back of repair shop. I also rearranged my counter so I’m closer to the front door and able to get to it quicker, since I had a Stihl BR600 run out the door. Almost caught the guy, but he got to his car just a little too quick.
— Tony Nation
Nation’s Small Engine, Inc.
Hot Springs, Ark.

It was 103 yesterday (July 12), so when we catch ‘em, we strap ‘em down in the full sun and watch ‘em burn! The real “pro” thieves can get by almost all alarm systems, so we try to make it as difficult and time consuming as possible to break in, and we keep the insurance paid up! 
— Dean Davis
Dogwood Fireplace & Lawn
Carbondale, Ill.


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