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HVAC companies have experienced a significant rise in crime rates in recent years, with criminals not only targeting precious materials and equipment, but also technicians. With volatile economic conditions fueling crime across the country—both inside of the HVAC industry and out—it’s more important than ever to implement solutions to protect your business and its assets.
Let’s take a deeper look into the increasing impact of crime in the HVAC industry, along with a few best practices HVAC professionals can take to protect themselves and their businesses.
Due to a rise in criminals targeting the HVAC industry, many company operators have decided to limit their services to help protect their staff and company assets. AC Mechanical and Engineering, a commercial HVAC contractor serving the Denver, Colorado metro area, recently announced they would be limiting services in certain areas of the city to protect technicians better.
The operations manager for the company discussed how his crew constantly brought concerns to his attention regarding the downtown Denver area. Many technicians reported vehicle break-ins while responding to client calls, while others needed to navigate walking areas littered with drug paraphernalia and human waste. Aside from the apparent safety risks this posed against technicians, the HVAC company also suffered steep losses due to theft.
Sky Heating and Air Conditioning out of Lincoln, Nebraska, also recently reported that their headquarters were hit by two burglaries in the span of a year. The criminals managed to steal torches, copper cases, and power tools, totaling over $20,000 in losses. To make the situation even worse, the thieves disabled company vehicles by cutting off the catalytic convertors, a type of theft surging across the country due to the high value of platinum these vehicle parts contain.
From rising safety concerns for HVAC technicians who are out in the field to an increasing amount of equipment, material, and vehicle theft occurrences, it’s vital for companies to consider their risks, especially if located in high-crime areas. By better understanding these risks, HVAC companies can implement tactics to reduce the chance of becoming the next target.
Though HVAC industry-targeted crime can never be 100% avoidable, there are a few best practices managers and technicians can take to reduce their overall risk.
When company assets such as technician vans or heavy machinery are stolen, the unfortunate (yet common) outcome is a complete loss. However, with various GPS technology, HVAC companies can place tracking devices in their high-value assets, including vehicles, catalytic converters, and heavy equipment. This increases the chances of asset retrieval and the prosecution of the criminal involved.
With only the equipment and materials commonly found in HVAC service vehicles, thieves could still see a nice payday. Now, imagine if they got into your facility? As with company vehicles, HVAC professionals need to secure their facilities to protect their assets and reduce the chance of costly losses.
Consider installing a security system that includes alarms, cameras, and motion lighting systems to help detect and deter any potential break-ins. Similarly, you’ll want to reduce overall criminal temptation, so always store expensive materials and equipment in a secure location with minimal to no visibility. Support these efforts with a robust locking mechanism or security system.
While out in the field, numerous factors ranging from where company vehicles are parked to open accessibility of tools and material can increase the risk of becoming a target of robbery or theft. To protect both technicians and equipment, establish staff protocol that ensures workers follow best safety practices while out in the field.
Technician safety protocol can include properly storing equipment and materials, keeping vehicle doors locked at all times, and parking only in secure locations while inside a customer’s residence or business. Likewise, be sure to provide go-to emergency contact information technicians can use in the event of a possible crime.
Though some locations may pose a higher risk than others, it’s crucial for all HVAC companies to implement the right strategies to protect their company assets. From securing your HVAC facilities and vehicles to implementing safety protocols for technicians, company operators can reduce the risk of becoming a crime target—and avoid pricey and unexpected losses.
Another way to protect your finances from unexpected hiccups? Field service management software that can help keep financial management in check. With FieldPulse software, you can track profit, complete reporting, and customize invoices with the click of a button. To better understand how we can help streamline your financial processes, contact FieldPulse to schedule a free demo today.