View Full Version : Employees losing tools?

10-25-2002, 10:02 AM
Has anyone had experience with their employees losing tools and what solutions have you come up with to avoid this in the future.

One crew lost three shovels, broke another, this week alone. I guess I will make equipment checklist, crew leaders must sign in an out. I will put replacment prices on the sheet to try and gain more responsibility.

Thank you for your input.


AL Inc
10-25-2002, 01:03 PM
Corey- I struggle with this same problem. Some of your ideas seem good, I think making your foreman responsible for tools is a good start. I buy all my hand tools at Sears, so broken tools don't bother me, I just go get a replacement at no charge. I buy the yellow fiberglass handled tools and mark them with bright colored spray paint so they are more visible. They still occasionally leave behind hand pruners and machetes, but I have never deducted from an employees' pay to cover it. I may try issuing each guy a machete and hand pruner in the spring and they are responsible for it. Good luck to you, Mike

10-25-2002, 05:44 PM
My employees each get a pair of felcos and a holster for there belt. These have to be my most lossed tool. I am sick of replacing these 40 dollar clippers...My employees wont use the holster so they just put the felcos on the ground when there done with them and I guess they get left behind quit often! Last week I found a pair of my felcos in a customers bed that must have been left there last year! :eek:

AL Inc
10-25-2002, 06:01 PM
Evan, you are a nicer boss than I am. I would never buy $40 Felco's for my guys. I think the Craftsman hand pruners are about $15. My guys are good, but when the tools aren't theirs, so what if they get lost? :rolleyes: Mike

10-26-2002, 08:50 AM
At the end of every job. I have one man go around and police the area for forgetton or misplaced tools. He knows that this is part of his job and he takes pride in this. Especially when he find tools left behind yours truely...

10-26-2002, 11:00 AM
Get a job trailer. When they load up the tools at the end of the job there will be an empty spot where the missing tool should go. It's not completely stupid proof, but it helps. Also have the foreman do a final walk around at the end of jobs and look for tools and unfinished details.

10-27-2002, 01:47 PM
Back when I was in the Army (around a hundred years ago :D - during The War over States' Rights AKA The War of Northern Aggression ), we had to sign for tools and if we lost them they came out of our pay. Now, I know that the Army can get away with things that the real world can't, but wouldn't it be nice?

Or what about if we structure our business more like auto repair shops do, where each mechanic is responsible for supplying his own tools. Hey, this is just a thought, I know there are holes in this but it would be nice.

10-27-2002, 04:50 PM
When i was a forman on ladscaping jobs, We kept certain tools in the trucks. I knew we had two rakes and two onf this shovel and two of that shove and one of these and one of that. I always checked when we left for a job , if we needed something extra we put it in. Then the same thing when we left the job. two of this two of that one of those one of these etc...But then again I was in a position of being resposible. I would have to explain to the owner why we needed to buy more shovels. I don't think that having employees pay for replacemeents is bad. Some jobs give a tool allowance. If you take care of your tools you can add more. If you lose them than your spending that alowance just keeping up. But all this requiers employes who care about there job and want to take pride in there work and how they get it done. Something often laking.


10-29-2002, 04:37 AM
I run 3 different crews. And the following solution solves your problem as well as the problem that will eventually arise of crews stealing other crews' equipment.

We paint everything on the crew's trailer with a little stripe around the handle. One crew's color is orange. Another red. Another Green. Every piece of equipment is marked, from shovels and rakes to backpack sprayers and blowers and trimmers. If they are caught using another tool other than one that's their color they are in trouble. And I keep the paint cans at my house. They are odd, hard to find, shades of those colors.

Then, each crew leader is in charge of their own equipment. If they lose something or leave it at a site, it's their responsibility. If they break something, they just have to bring the broken tool to me and I'll replace it. Things break at work. You can't blame them for that.

There are also several tools that are free-for-all and are not marked. Not much you can do with that. But for the most part, this system keeps everything in order.

I started this system because a $400 trimmer was "lost" one day and nobody knew what happened to it. The next day we instituted this policy and ever since nothing comes up missing.

10-29-2002, 09:38 AM
We do the same as Jim ... different color for each crew. Also installed crew cages (chain link) last winter that have worked wonderfully. We had thought about an inspection of each cage at the end of each week but that never happened. Our biggest problem now is with the small tools ... tape measures, torpedo levels etc. These small tools are almost the cheapest we can find bought by the box. Each foreman should do a walk around at the end of each day or delegate this task to the newest employee.

10-29-2002, 11:40 AM
I say "You lose a shovel, you lose a hand". :eek:

Seriously though........Make up a checklist for the crewleader to check in the morning and at night. Discipline is the only way to go if you don't want to throw lots of $$ out the window.

Create a system, whichever you decide on, and ENFORCE its use to the max. Make them know they WILL do it, and it will work.

10-29-2002, 09:18 PM
Since my first post, I have made a simple checklist that includes everything all three of the crews would need throughout the day. Check it out, check it in. I talked with the three leaders and let them know this is the way it will be done from now on. Three days so far no problems. I havent said they will pay for lost tools, but hopefully it wont come to that. I will post with later pros/ cons.

Thanks for your responses.