A 10-ton motorhome piloted by an inexperienced driver is plenty dangerous on the highways. Now imagine that motorhome is being driven by somebody who stole it right off your RV dealership lot. One such thief drove a stolen RV with the slides out and ran it into a ditch. No one was hurt, but any damages, injuries, or deaths the thief caused would have made for some ugly news headlines.
If this wild joyride happened in one of your dealership’s RVs, who would be held responsible when the dust settled? The thief would certainly get a fair share of the blame. But if you didn’t take reasonable measures to secure your keys, headlines that damage your dealership’s reputation won’t be your only problem.
To prevent theft and any potential legal issues, start with these two key management best practices.
Implement the Right Key Management System
Protecting your inventory — from camper trailers to Class A motorhomes — is probably already a priority at your dealership. You likely already have fences, padlocked gates, security cameras, and maybe a lockbox for keys. But even those security measures fall short against determined thieves.
Fences didn’t stop thieves from taking two campers from a dealership late one night in Kentucky. The police department told a local news station these thieves were experts. They knew exactly what to do and worked quickly and efficiently. Securing your keys adds one more barrier between thieves and your inventory. It also helps reduce liability by showing you took reasonable measures to prevent the theft.
How you secure your keys is just as important as how you protect your inventory. Someone can easily tamper with pegboards or lockboxes. Electronic key control systems with locking steel drawers or wall-mounted panels that lock down each key are much more secure.
Know Who Has Your Keys
Even if your keys are secure, do you know who has access to them? Your own employees could forget to return keys, leaving them vulnerable to theft. At a dealership in Oregon, an employee accidentally left keys in an RV, and a supposed customer stole the motorhome in broad daylight. A key control system can alert you if the key is overdue, holding your employees accountable and preventing thefts like this one.
In addition, having an automatic audit trail of your dealership’s keys allows you to view your key history. You’ll see who last accessed a key, when they removed it, and when it was returned. The key record can be used to prevent liability issues and give you a lead on a missing key or RV.
If a motorhome stolen from your dealership is involved in an accident or causes damages, the loss of the asset, insurance deductibles, and increased premiums won’t be your only concerns. Fortunately, this type of scenario is preventable. Take the right steps to make sure your keys don’t fall into the wrong hands.