How To Keep An Organised Tool Inventory | Checkatrade
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How to keep an organised tool inventory

Keeping a tool inventory is a great way of staying organised, saving money and in the unfortunate event of a theft or ownership dispute, can help you with insurance claims and reports to the police. In this guide, we'll explain how to make a tools inventory on both your computer and mobile.

Tool inventory management software

There are a number of online software solutions available to help you log your tools, their serial numbers and related information.

Like most online services, they require you to sign up, pay a monthly or annual subscription, and then you can create your own tools inventory.

Popular ones include Aptien, AssetPanda and ShareMyToolbox. All are US-based, so expect prices to be in dollars, but this doesn’t affect usage in the UK. Most offer a free-trial period so you can try it out and see if it works for you.

The benefit of having your tools inventory online is that you can update it wherever you are, in real-time, which is great if you buy a new piece of equipment. Even better, you can access it across different devices within your business.

Some systems also allow you to add who currently has a tool, which is a great feature if you have other people working with you.

They even give you the option to schedule maintenance notifications so that you can keep on top of the maintenance and performance of your tools.

drill showing serial number

Tools inventory tracking system

It’s also worth considering a tracking system. A tracking system will tell you the real-time number of tools you have both in storage and on-site. This is ideal if you run a large business with a big team who use your tools and return them at the end of the day.

An inventory tracking system can also track other assets, for example, if you run a hardware store alongside your trade and want to know how much of a given product you have left on the shelf.

Free inventory management software in Excel

If you’re not fussed about a bespoke system and its benefits and would like to keep the cost down on your tool inventory, then you can use a simple spreadsheet.

If you have a computer or mobile device, then Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets are your main options. Excel does have a free mobile version, but at business level, you’re likely to have to pay. Google Sheets is completely free, but isn’t as comprehensive as Excel.

Another benefit of Excel is that there are third-party inventory services like Sheetgo that use Excel templates, enabling you to work in Excel but with bespoke inventory templates. These aren’t free, however.

Free equipment list template

If you want to work in Excel or Google Sheets but don’t want to pay for a third-party tool inventory template, there are a few free options.

Websites such as Jotform offer free templates if you sign up. Their free account allows you to access up to 5 templates, which may well be enough for a small business/sole trader.

tradesman using mobile phone

Tool inventory apps

If your work computer is actually your mobile, then an inventory app might be a preference over using an inventory service website.

Most of the leading tool inventory solutions (some mentioned above) have an app you can download. They give you full access to manage your inventory on the go.

The apps are free to download, but you may need a paid account to access and use them.


How do you make an equipment inventory list?

The most basic method is in a spreadsheet using either Excel or Google Sheets. Add the tool name, brand, serial number and date purchased.

If you want a more professional inventory, there are a wealth of tool inventory services online.

Tip: Take photos of your tools showing the serial numbers, and keep receipts of purchase. This will help you prove ownership with insurers and the police, should you need to.

What is an equipment inventory list?

It’s a list of all of the tools and equipment you own, including details of the brand, serial number and date purchased.

The reason to have one is to keep track of your tools and to prove ownership if they are stolen, taken by mistake, or lost and found.

An inventory can protect your income

By keeping a tool inventory, you are recording your investment in your business and helping to ensure it is safeguarded should the worst happen.

A tools inventory gives you peace of mind and a feeling of ownership over your equipment. If anything was to be lost or stolen, it could get you working again faster through an insurance payout or police recovery.

Want to know about how to protect your wheels as well? Check out our guide to keeping your van safe.

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