You or your employees can fall into a routine as you shut down your business at the end of every day. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re taking all the precautions you can to help prevent fires and crime when you’re not around.

Theft may seem like only a distant possibility, but organized retail crime costs Canadians around $5 billion a year. It’s especially important to take precautions when leaving your business for a long weekend or a vacation, when no one will be checking up on it for some time. That’s why it’s key to have a list of steps to take before leaving for the night, to help ensure that your business is in the same condition in the morning as when you left it. The list should also be shared with your employees, so they know exactly what to do when you’re not there.

Here are some tips on how to help keep your business safe when you lock up for the night:

Turn on storefront and sales area overnight lights

Keeping the lights on inside your business may discourage thieves from entering, and also help ensure that if anyone does enter your store, they will be clearly visible from the street. To make it even easier to see anyone inside your business (and the disorder they may be causing) you can clear the front windows of any posters or merchandise so there’s an unobstructed view.

Keep exterior lights turned on

A well-lit exterior discourages any unwanted guests from approaching your business. It’s important to make sure you haven’t just illuminated the front of your business, but also the side and back entrances too. If there are any burnt-out bulbs, those should be replaced as quickly as possible.

Make sure all customers have left the premises before locking up

It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s very important to check that no customers are still inside the building before you close up. You or your employees should check back rooms, stockrooms, and change rooms to ensure no one is left with access to your property after the doors have been locked.

Turn off equipment

Before leaving, make sure that you or an employee have done a walkthrough of the business and checked off all items that need to be powered off overnight. This list will include different items depending on your business, but could encompass portable heaters, decorative lights, cooking appliances, and other heating equipment. Ensuring that all these devices are switched off could help prevent any fires from igniting.

Store flammables and combustibles in secure locations

In a further attempt to stop any fires from catching, make sure that any flammables or combustibles have been moved away from heating appliances in property storage containers. These containers should also be labelled clearly.

Lock away cash register and other valuables

Follow a detailed procedure when handling cash at the end of the night. Some tips for how to handle your cash register and other valuables include taking a different route each time when making nightly deposits, leaving an empty and unlocked cash register, and not leaving cash or valuables in rooms that are accessible by windows or external doors.

Secure your equipment and products

Before leaving for the night, it’s a good idea to move any excess stock to a locked or secure spot in the store. You should also move your stock away from windows and doors to make it more difficult for thieves to attempt a smash and grab. Steps like these may seem small and insignificant, but they could mean the difference between someone robbing your business and being dissuaded from doing so.

Secure and lock all doors and windows

On top of securing your equipment and stock, it’s important to make sure that all of your doors and windows are locked, so no burglars can easily enter the premises. Include this item on your list for employees, and be sure to also lock back entrances.

Turn on your security system

Ensure your security system is turned on before leaving the premises. Your security system could take a number of forms, as options range from silent alarms to video surveillance. Surveillance systems are useful, as they can discourage thieves from entering your business and also alert security teams when a robbery is in progress.

Ensure your business is covered

If you follow these tips, you can rest easy at night knowing you’ve taken the right steps to help prevent fires and theft at your business. But no matter how prepared you are, you can’t always control what happens. That’s where insurance comes in. To learn more about protecting yourself and your business, visit our business insurance page today.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.