How To Control Theft in retail
3 Theft Control Devices to Invest in for Your Gas Station Business and Convenience Store
Gas stations have the unfortunate distinction of being targeted by thieves. Because they’re in operation 24/7 and, more often than not, are designed to have wide open spaces to accommodate customers and their cars, pretty much anyone can come and go – including criminals. That’s why for those interested in finding out how to buy a gas station business and convenience store and start their own business, the first thing you need to be familiar with is exercising ample theft control measures to keep your gas station business from falling prey to robbery. So to ensure the safety of your people and the customers coming and going to your station, here are the different types of theft control measures you can install to beef up its overall security.
Remote Viewing Surveillance System
The great thing about having a remote viewing surveillance system is that you can monitor the activity occurring in your gas station without having to actually be present. It enables you to monitor different areas of your station thanks to its multiple cameras, all of which are patched to its main system which can be viewed through a computer. The system also has the capabilities of recording the activities in your gas station as they occur, making it easy for you to go back and check what happened during a particular time period.
Cash Register Video Surveillance
Video surveillance shouldn’t just be limited to the surrounding areas of your gas station. To make sure that your staff is doing their job behind the counter, consider investing in a cash register video surveillance system. Situated above your cash register area, this surveillance system helps monitor the transaction receipt data produced by your cash register. The information can then be viewed on your computer screen. Data is transferred in real time, which means you’re getting information while your personnel is typing in a customer’s purchase. This will enable you to check if your staff is punching in the right numbers and not trying to pull a fast one on you.
License Plate Recognition Cameras
One of the hassles you have to face when owning a gas station business with convenience store is motorists driving away after filling up their vehicle with gas. Since going after them on foot will get you nowhere, one of the best investments you can make is to have license plate recognition system installed. These cameras are capable of capturing and recording the plate numbers of the vehicles that gas up in your station. This makes it easy for you to check for any suspicious activity that may have occurred during the day and report the incident to the proper authorities. Aside from being able to capture license numbers, these cameras can also be used to monitor your gas station’s parking lot for theft.
Owning a gas station franchise may be a lucrative business but it does require you to be extra vigilant to keep it from falling victim to robbery. By making security one of the priorities of your gas station business plan, you can keep your business from being compromised while ensuring the safety of your customers and your staff at the same time.
There are two ways theft happens in a typical station, internal and external. Can you guess which one cost the most? If you guess external (by customers) you would be wrong. As I mentioned earlier a bad hire can cost you a lot, not only by him/her stealing from the cash drawer but also by doing “sweetheart” deals. Where they give their friends and family merchandise either for free or for a few pennies. The ones that charge pennies instead giving it out for free are the smart ones and very hard to catch. The reason they still charge their family a few pennies is this way on the video camera and or to other customers or even to other employees they are showing that they are ringing items up on the register and doing a transaction.
Let’s talk about how to minimize it…see I am not saying let’s talk about stopping it; it is because you will never be able to stop 100% theft in a gas station. Even if you and your immediate family work the store, there will be some (maybe very little) external theft). Your goal should be to keep this to a very minimum. Every big company like Circle K or 7-11 even have this loss built in to their accounting system, it has become an industry standard, that there will be 1-2% of sales that will walk out the store. Their goal is to not have it grow more than 2% year.
The first step is to set up a video surveillance, my recommendation is you spend the money here and get a good one. See if you can have the ones that hooks p to your cash register and records each sale…this way you can go back and look at any employee and see how much they are charging for what item ( this is the way you can catch that smart thief that sold his cousin a carton of cigarette for 99 cents instead of $39.99) Most stores set up cameras inside the store and not outside, my suggestion is if you do not have the budget for external outdoor camera than install some dummy ones (you can buy from Amazon here is the link) and post some sign around the pump dispensers that they are under video surveillance . This can help you many ways deter potential trouble maker.
Make sure your parking lot and inside and outside the store is well lit, this helps deter some external theft and “drive offs”
Monthly inventory count can give you a clear picture every month if you are losing products from your store; it is very simple to figure out from two consecutive monthly inventory count reports. Here is how it works:
A typical store’s register is set up with product category dept, like Soda, Cig, Tobacco, Beer, Motor Oil, etc, and they way we keep inventory and books is by product category. So let’s take soda for example. Let’s say the inventory report that was done May 31st say you had $7000 soda in the store, and the new inventory report that as done in 31st June says you now have $4000 worth of soda product. Now go to your monthly sales book and see how much you sold for the month of June, take that number, say you sold $12000 soda that month. Than go pick up out how much you paid to all your soda vendors (coke, Pepsi etc) for June. Say it is
Now this how the math should work:
Beg inventory + purchases (at retail cost) – sales = ending inventory
$(7000 + 9000) – $12000 = $4000
If your ending inventory is less than say $3800, it should be a red flag. Meaning there are theft going on. You should do the same math for each dept and see how are coming out. Just remember to retail your invoice each day as when you buy at cost and sell at retail, so in order for your inventory to match you have to count all purchase at retail. An Example is you bought 10 cases of 20 oz coke at $15/ case. Your invoice says you paid Coke $350
Here is how it works, to retail this invoice, each case has 24 bottles, and each retails for $1.19 so the math is Number of cases X number of bottle in each case X selling price of each bottle
20 X 24 X 1.19 = $571.20
The external theft is done by two types of people, customers and vendors. While certain thieves may come your store and pocket a few candy and such, which at the end of the day may cost you 5-7 bucks, but a vendor theft can really cost you 100 times that of a customer theft. They may show you the invoice that they brought in 50 cases of certain beer or soda and other products but in reality they only brought in 43 cases. So it is =very important that someone checks the vendor in each time and make sure their invoice matches what they are bridging in the store.
It is a good idea to install a good alarm system something call a “hold up button” and with monitoring service. The way the hold up button works is simple, if your cashier smells trouble that he or she needs to call the law enforcement for, she can simple press a hidden button under the register and no one will know but it will dial the local police dept and let them know there is trouble at our site.
Train employees to make eye contact with each customers walking in to your store is always helpful, this lets any potential wrong doers know that the cashier took a good look at them .
I also prefer to install an extra security camera monitor right above the cashier checkout stand this way every one can see they are being recorded in color.
One important aspect (a must have) of this business is making sure you have adequate insurance to cover yourself in the event of any disaster.
I would love your feedback and thoughts, I am new to this, please post your advice and comments, it will help me improve this blog.