Plumbers prove easy prey for theft as almost half leave high value tools in the van overnight

For plumbers, the van is as essential to business as a wrench and a mobile phone. Yet in its annual Healthcheck* of the UK’s tradespeople and small contractors, ECIS, the employee benefits company for the construction industry, found that 46% of the plumbers it surveyed leave their tools in the van overnight, and 42% had gone through the disruption and cost of having their van broken into. In addition, 38% of plumbing contractors have no branding on their van, missing out on a valuable opportunity to market themselves and promote industry accreditations.
⦁ 42% of plumbers have had their vans broken into
⦁ Almost half (46%) do not empty their vans of even the most valuable equipment overnight
⦁ 62% of plumbers have branding on their vans, but that leaves over a third working under anonymity
The survey found that plumbers were one of the trades most likely to be targeted by thieves – more plumbers had had been victim than general builders or roofers. Close to half of all the tradespeople surveyed (45%) do not remove even the most valuable tools from the van when it is left unattended overnight.
The volume of thefts being experienced does not appear to have a direct correlation with van branding. 66% of tradespeople said they have branding on their van – up from 60% last year. While 62% of plumbers proudly display their branding on their van, general builders and contractors are the least likely to. 76% of roofing firms display their brand on their vehicle – the highest percentage recorded in the survey.
Paul Guiry, CEO of ECIS said: “The van is an essential tool in the plumbing sector, yet many of the plumbing contractors we spoke to are not protecting their vans from the risk of theft. Whilst the cost of replacing tools may be covered by specialist insurance such as that provided by our sister company ECIC’s Tradesman policy, theft is still immensely disruptive to businesses.
“It is also a concern that over a third of plumbers are not using the free advertising space on the side of their van to display their brand, contact details and industry accreditations, albeit more are doing so this year. Whilst for many this may be a security measure, simple precautions, such as removing tools at night and displaying a sticker stating that tools are not left in the van, can go a long way in reducing the risk of theft.”
*ECIS surveyed 200 roofers, electricians, plumbers, heating and ventilation engineers, joiners, plasterers, decorators and general builders from all parts of the UK about their prospects for the coming year. The survey took place in the first quarter of 2016.