Old heist movies depict safecracking in a comical light: a masked outlaw crouches over a combination lock, fiddling with it until it magically opens. Small-business owners know there’s nothing amusing about compromised valuables, so antitheft devices play an important role. Thankfully, modern-day security safes come equipped with enhanced features that protect your belongings from intruders, wayward employees and unexpected emergencies.
There are several variables to consider when choosing a security safe for your business. Of course, you’ll want to keep your possessions secure, but you probably also want to avoid incurring a large expense when you purchase the item. Here are a few simple questions to consider while you shop for a safe.
What will your safe protect?
Safes come in a range of shapes and sizes, and what you’re protecting will affect the type of security box you select. Smaller, more portable boxes are ideal for storing a small amount of cash, or keeping personal documents. Larger items need to be stashed in larger units, so if you’re securing jewelry, confidential data or electronics, remember that it’s best to have a little extra secure space than to run out of room. This extra cost may prevent stress and inconvenience in the future.
Where will your safe be?
To avoid tempting potential thieves, most merchants prefer to keep their lockbox in a discreet location. Floor and wall units can be concealed beneath rugs and behind paintings as an added measure of caution. Portable safes stow easily under a desk, and though less inconspicuous, they can come in handy if you need to move your money from room to room for accounting purposes.
How does it lock?
Lock type is a crucial consideration for business owners concerned with theft or robbery. Keyed locks are less secure, but may satisfy the needs of a company with only a few people who need to access the lockbox. Combination locks are one of the most popular choices on the market, due in part to the fact that the cost is usually less than more complicated setups. Keep in mind that it might be difficult to remember the code if you’ve got to open the safe door in a hurry, and that it poses a risk if you leave your code written somewhere in the building. Electronic locks deter theft more readily than dial locks, but can be pricier at the outset.
What’s the safe’s rating?
Each quality security safe is labeled with a rating that assesses its ability to protect against theft and fire, based on the types of materials and locks used in its construction. High-end products receive a certification from Underwriters Laboratory (UL), which has nearly a century of experience analyzing and monitoring the safety of such items.
A TL rating gauges the security box’s resilience against power saws, explosives and drills — common tools in a burglar’s arsenal. The higher the rated number, the more secure your items will be during a break-in.
B- and C-rated safes, offer standard protection (their steel walls are a ½ inch to 1 inch thick), and may be sufficient for smaller businesses with a minimal chance of robbery and loss. Fire resistance is another important consideration.
It might require a bit of research, but selecting the best safe for your small business shouldn’t be left up to chance or trial and error. Talk to other merchants and get an idea of what works for them before you even start looking. Once all the benefits and costs have been calculated, don’t be afraid to spend just a little bit more to get some peace of mind. If not, you might save a couple bucks today, only to incur a much greater expense in the future.