How to Decrease Scrap Yard Liability When Crime Rates Increase

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Practical strategies to prevent illegal materials from damaging your scrap yard liability—by accident or otherwise.

Earlier this year, a small scrap yard in Indiana found themselves in a tough situation. “Police seized more than 1,000 catalytic converters,” from their business, allegedly without documentation. The issue dealt a big blow to the business’s reputation, and recovering from the fallout has been difficult.

This type of story can be haunting for scrap yard owners. We’ve talked about this before, but reputation is vital in the scrap yard business. If you end up with illegal goods in your yard, your standing in the community can really suffer. And it can take years to regain people’s trust.

So how do you protect your business from situations like this and keep your reputation intact? Here are five strategies for avoiding sticky situations with stolen goods.

Vet your suppliers and ask for references.

Sometimes, knowing where scrap material comes from can be a little challenging. This business isn’t like a more traditional supply chain, where every step is documented and traceable. 

It’s your responsibility as a scrap yard owner to do everything you can to investigate where your supply is coming from. Otherwise, you could end up with some shady or illegal stuff in your possession.

This is why it’s so important to vet your suppliers and ask for references. Do a little research and call around to get a feel for their reputation. You may be thrilled to learn that they’re known for being honest and trustworthy! You may also uncover something suspicious. 

With Google, it’s never been easier to uncover news articles or other evidence of shady dealings. Either way, it only takes a little due diligence to learn most of what you need to know.

Invest in good security systems.

A few simple safety measures can make a significant difference in the security of your business:

  • Install bright outdoor lights—and keep them on. Well-lit areas make it much harder for the bad guys to be stealthy.
  • Install visible security cameras on the property. There are a lot of good options on the market at a variety of price points. Many of them come with an easy-to-use app, so you can keep an eye on things—even on the go. 
  • Install a good fence and consider topping it with razor or barbed wire. The aesthetics may not be ideal, but it sure is effective for keeping people out.v

It’s worth noting that these measures are not necessarily going to prevent illegal goods from entering your scrap yard. However, these visible security measures can send the message that you take security seriously. This can positively affect how your customers perceive you and your commitment to above-board business practices.

Cooperate with investigations as they arise.

Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise, and many of those stolen items go straight to scrap yards. Scrap yard owners may be faced with an influx of investigations as law enforcement scrambles to mitigate the problem.

Of course, it’s important to know your rights and when it’s appropriate to cooperate or not. But some may perceive excessive refusal to cooperate as suspicious.

It’s best to stay calm and work collaboratively with investigators. If you’re confident that your business is above reproach, you have nothing to worry about.

If something does slip by you, do everything you can to make it right.

No business, in any industry, is immune to mistakes. No matter how careful you are, there may come a time when you take stolen material without realizing it.

If this does happen, and the issue is discovered, don’t try to erase the problem with a litany of excuses. Be honest about what happened and do everything you can to fix it. Putting forth the effort is an excellent way to show how deeply you care about remedying the situation. 

In some cases, you may stand to lose money in the process. You might consider saving up some money specifically for this type of situation. That way, you’ve got a safety net to help you weather the loss.

Use truck scale software to keep accurate records 

Good truck scale software makes it easy to store, organize, and access all your documentation. You can save information about delivery drivers and connect directly to your bookkeeping software. If you do need to pull up records, truck scale software makes it easy to do it in a hurry. No more rifling through old filing cabinets in a panic.

Talk to one of our experts to learn how Scaleit can help you stay organized and protect your reputation.

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