Common Types of Fleet Theft and How to Detect Them
Few phrases strike more fear in the hearts of business owners than fleet theft.
Depending on the severity of the situation, perhaps “fear” is overdoing it—frustration might be more accurate.
Still, the sentiment remains. You’ve worked hard to build your business and compile your resources. You invest heavily in your fleet and its ongoing maintenance. As a business owner, you always keep an eye on every expense and resource.
When you’re dealing with stolen vehicles, that’s terrible for your business (and your blood pressure). When you realize that your employees are misusing your resources, that can be even more disheartening.
It can be tempting to dismiss this type of misuse, but that can lead to big issues. Even seemingly innocuous employee behaviors can constitute fleet theft—and add up over time.
If you run a fleet-dependent business, finding and stopping these instances of fleet theft can be a big deal for you and your bottom line. Having a strategy ready for stolen vehicle recovery can be a game changer too.
Today, let’s talk about how GPS fleet tracking can help you stop fleet theft once and for all.
Three Surprising Examples of Fleet Theft in Real Life
Because “fleet theft” and “stolen vehicles” are such scary terms, it’s easy to forget that vehicle theft is incredibly common. One recent study even noted that in America in 2020, a vehicle was stolen every 36 seconds.
While having your vehicles stolen outright would be bad enough, that’s far from the only way fleet theft occurs. Think about these more subtle examples of fleet theft. Do you think any happen in your business?
1. Unauthorized Vehicle Use
It may not seem problematic if your drivers take the scenic route between stops. Similarly, adding the odd detour for personal errands might seem, to your drivers, like a perk of the job.
Unfortunately, this is an example of fleet theft. Using a company vehicle for anything other than efficient business actions wastes fuel and could even put your vehicles at risk.
And, of course, those are just two relatively innocent examples of unauthorized vehicle use. Some drivers use company vehicles to perform side work or take on under-the-table gigs for extra cash. When this happens, your company could risk legal problems and even a ruined reputation.
You need to be 100 percent sure you know how your drivers are using your vehicles at all times. GPS tracking can help you with precisely that.
2. Time Card Padding
Here’s a fun fact: The average employee steals a little over four hours from their employers weekly.
It never seems like much. Your drivers could just be rounding up a little here or finding ways to cut a few corners there.
Over time, even conservative time card padding can result in time theft to the tune of thousands of dollars per year. You don’t have that kind of money to spare!
And, because your drivers have freedom throughout their day due to the nature of their jobs, it’s possible that their time card padding is far from conservative. It’s not as if you’re watching, right? How would you possibly be able to keep accurate tabs on their time?
GPS tracking—that’s how. With a robust GPS tracker, you can cut down on this type of theft where it is happening and notice and reward employee behavior where it isn’t.
3. Equipment and Parts Theft
How often does equipment and parts theft really happen?
Unfortunately—far more often than you would think. A 2022 report from the National Equipment Register indicated that during just the first week in July of the last five years, millions of dollars in equipment theft occurred. Just one week!
Not all of those thefts involved vehicles, but one thing is clear: Equipment theft is on the rise. And your vehicles themselves aren’t safe from being gutted and sold for parts, either. Some models of catalytic converters can go for more than $1,000.
You keep a wide range of valuable assets in your vehicles (and your vehicles are valuable themselves!). By installing GPS tracking devices in your fleet and keeping tabs on your assets through an accessible, easy-to-reference GPS dashboard, you can reduce the threat of equipment and parts theft considerably.
Bonus: Unsafe Driving
This may seem like an odd form of fleet theft, but think about it. When your drivers perform their jobs, they’re responsible for some of your key assets: your vehicles.
If they drive in a way that takes an unnecessarily large toll on your vehicle, that’s shortening the life span of your asset or increasing maintenance costs. If they speed and get a ticket, that could increase your insurance premiums. If they drive recklessly through town in a vehicle with your name on it, that can ruin your company’s reputation and cost you business!
Unsafe or irresponsible driving costs you money.
Safe, responsible driving can put money back in your pocket through increased efficiency and the ability to take on more business.
GPS Vehicle Tracking Helps You Protect Your Profits
Throughout this article, we’ve hinted at the best way to tackle fleet theft. Now, we’ll say it outright: The fastest, most straightforward, and most affordable solution to these types of theft and fraud is to roll out a GPS vehicle tracking system for your fleet.
With the right tracking system, you can:
- Check where your vehicles were during the day to assess potential unauthorized use.
- Deter irresponsible employee behaviors just because they’ll know you’re looking.
- Maintain accurate records of vehicle movements, which makes time theft much more difficult.
- Monitor vehicle performance, such as braking, accelerating, and speeding, helping you identify unsafe drivers.
- Check for stolen vehicle status updates (and even stop wondering how to find your stolen vehicles in a worst-case scenario).
- And more!
ClearPathGPS is here to help you have a better handle on your precious assets and hard-earned resources. The GPS fleet tracking solutions we offer can help you recognize both good and bad patterns in vehicle performance and employee time tracking. As a result, you can take back control of your fleet—and watch your bottom line grow more over time.
At ClearPathGPS we help field service businesses—including landscaping companies, plumbers, roofers, HVAC businesses, and more—improve their operations and improve their bottom lines. To learn more about how businesses benefit from the ClearPathGPS fleet tracking solutions, contact us today!