As a contractor, you likely have a lot of tools you rely on to help you get tasks done for projects. You may manage several projects on different job sites, while keeping track of deadlines. The last thing you want is to search for missing tools and equipment.

Unfortunately, there may also come a time when an important piece of equipment goes missing because it’s been stolen.  Everything from large and small equipment, vehicles, materials, and tools are stolen from job sites. According to the , the value of contracting and construction equipment stolen each year in Canada (equipment only, excluding tools and building materials) is somewhere between $300 million and $1 billion. This is because thieves find tools and heavy equipment easy to steal and sell.

Having tools and equipment stolen can be detrimental to your business. It can .delay your project, and leave you on the hook for replacing what was stolen.

In this scenario, record keeping can help.

What is recordkeeping for contractors?

Recordkeeping involves organizing and storing a variety of documents that include files, images, and invoices. For contractors, recordkeeping may also include information on tools and equipment, projects, and other details.

Why should contractors keep records?

As a contractor, you may benefit from record-keeping in the following ways:

  • Assists in keeping track of tools and equipment
  • Helps keep track of expenditures and costs
  • Prepares you for service dates for equipment
  • Provides details that may be useful in the future if something is stolen

What should be included in a contractor’s records?

A contractor can make their recordkeeping as simple or as complicated as they want. The simpler records are, the easier they are to maintain. However, the benefit of having more detailed records is they may be more useful to you later.

To get started, decide what information about your tools and equipment you’d like to record and where you want to keep it. You may want it to be digital or keep it all in a notebook or binder. If you want to keep digital records, it’s a good idea to have a hard (paper) copy as a backup, just in case your computer or tablet breaks down. Choose the method that is easiest for you. The easier it is to do, the quicker you’ll get it done.

Once you’ve decided on the template, start filling out the information.

Here is basic information you can include:

  • The make and model of tools and equipment
  • The serial number or product identification number/code
  • A description that may include logos and markings

Additional information you might want to include is:

  • The purchase date and cost
  • Service dates if applicable
  • Photographs

When would record keeping come in handy for contractors?

It may seem like an inconvenience to maintain records of your tools and equipment, but the benefits of having accurate records may surprise you. Here are examples of situations where record keeping can save you time and money:

  • If you ever need to file a claim or report a theft, you’ll have a record of your tools and equipment, including specific details.
  • You’ll know what’s in your inventory and avoid buying things you already have.
  • You’ll be able to track service dates and keep track of what tools and equipment need replacing.
  • You’ll be better prepared for projects because you’ll know if you have the right tools or if you need to go buy something new.

Stay organized with a record keeping system

As a contractor, you’re busy with planning, managing, and coordinating projects on top of a lot of other things. Recordkeeping for contractors is more than inventory management. You’ll be better able to plan for projects, you won’t waste money buying duplicate tools, and you’ll be prepared to file a claim if your tools or equipment are ever stolen.

For more tips on risk management and business continuity planning for your contracting business, check out our

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.