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ARA Region Five director talks equipment theft

By Robert Copley, CERP

June 6, 2023

Robert Copley, CERP

Robert Copley, CERP

Hello, American Rental Association (ARA) Region Five members. I hope all your businesses had a busy spring and now have a bustling summer. Our business has been particularly busy. This is great news, but we all have to remember that during these hectic times we need to pay extra attention to theft and, in particular, the prevention of it at our facilities, at job sites and through conversion. Thieves continue to up their game. That means, especially when we are the busiest, we need to stay sharp and not let down our guard.

I bring this up because beginning this month and continuing on a regular basis, the In Your Region newsletter will focus on equipment theft. The stories this month will take a deep dive into just how big a problem it is for our industry, its impact on rental operations in our region, the latest stats and the steps you can take to help prevent it from happening in the first place.

We all know that equipment theft is a huge issue. I remember several years ago when we had our tool side, a skid steer was stolen. This was before we had GPS on it. A customer rented and never returned it. Luckily, it was eventually recovered in the Carolinas. This incident was a wake-up call for us to start using GPS to track our large equipment.

Theft of all kinds is big. Catalytic converter theft has become so pervasive that it was even one of the key issues addressed in March at ARA’s National Legislative Caucus in Washington, D.C. If you have been impacted, contact Alysia Ryan, director of ARA’s government affairs at The more we let our voices be heard on this issue, the better in helping pass the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft (PART) Act.

Tracking your equipment is just one step. I also encourage you to register your equipment on the National Equipment Register’s (NER) HelpTech database, which catalogs and documents equipment. It is available to members of law enforcement 24/7 and has been instrumental in helping police officers recover stolen equipment. As an ARA member, you may register up to 1,000 pieces of mobile, off-road equipment for free. That is worth the price of membership right there.

In addition, if you are covered by ARA Insurance and have equipment stolen, your deductible will be waived. That is a huge benefit.

Check out the stories in this newsletter and see the suggested tips. With equipment costs rising and the extended lead times for getting a new piece of equipment in, anything you can do to help mitigate theft is crucial.

I also would like to highlight a few other resources that can really benefit you and your staff:

  • The Employee Training Assistance Program from the ARA Foundation. This grant can help you train your staff by paying up to 50 percent of the training cost, with a maximum award of $2,500. We just used it to help pay for CDL training for one of our drivers. If you haven’t looked into it, I highly encourage you to do so before the next quarterly deadline on June 30.
  • ARA Certified Service Technician and ARA Certified Sales and Marketing programs. These programs can boost skills, and those who successfully complete the program earn a professional designation. You can take either or both of these programs now and receive a 10 percent discount by using the promo code TAKE10OFF. Don’t delay as the promotion only goes through Aug. 31. If you or one of your team members sign up for both courses, there is an even greater discount. Contact for details.
  • The Women in Rental Conference, Oct. 23-24, and the Young Professional Network Conference, Oct. 25-26. Both conferences will be held in Clearwater Beach, Fla. Registration for each conference opens July 5. The events sell out quickly, so be sure to secure your spot early.

Before I close, I just want to add my thanks to the members who have stepped up to volunteer their time on the state chapter boards. I continue to sit in on chapter meetings in our regions. It is cool to see how active the state chapters are and how diligent your state chapter board members are in coming up with educational and social events that can benefit you. Try to attend these events. If you are interested in getting involved, don’t hesitate to contact your state chapter president or me.

I hope everyone has a productive and safe summer. And be sure to invest in theft-prevention protocols and tactics.

Until next time.

Robert Copley, CERP, Region Five director
Event Essentials
Windsor, Wis.