As your finances improve or your commitment to this path becomes more resolute, you're going to buy new equipment; Instruments, Pedals, Cables, In-Ears, Microphones, etc. you are either purchasing them for the first time or upgrading what you already have. It doesn't matter if they're second, third or fourth-hand, they're new to you and they are of value....they also take up space in your car/truck/van/bus.
First:, make your mark! You're creative, find a way to put a discreet ID on this purchase, Don't be so creative that it draws the eye to it, it's like a password, you're the only one who's supposed to know it's there.
Next, you have a smartphone, your smartphone has a camera, before you take your new purchase out of the house, photograph it from several angles. Make sure you get the serial and model numbers as well as any identifying marks, time can make these things fade and stickers will peel off. You are doing this for several reasons.
Save these pictures with a filename that best describes the item, (there's nothing worse than needing the info in an emergency, only to have to search through a bunch of files default saved with phone generated image numbers.) Then upload this information to your cloud. Of course I want to tell you to insure this gear, If you're making money as a musician, (congratulations!) your homeowner's insurance will not cover any loss you may incur should this equipment get damaged, lost or stolen. Here's a good link for everything you want to know about insuring your gear; Insurance
Come gig or tour time you're going to be packing and unpacking the vehicle(s) at least twice a day. In the beginning it will take longer, but eventually you'll master the laws of physics and figure out the perfect configuration to transport all your worldly possessions. Get that camera out and photograph each tier. Not only does it help move things along faster, but it's a good way to make sure everything is accounted for. (Don't ignore the 'little things' like cables, you may put a negligible value on them until you arrive somewhere on a Sunday afternoon and you're missing one.)
Should you find yourself in the unenviable position of having been involuntarily relieved of your equipment, here are a few steps you should take:
Report the theft to the police, they may not care, but it's important to have that report should you recover your property.
List your stolen items with GearTrack they have a network and specialize in stolen gear.
Ask around at local pawn shops and equipment re-sellers. Ask them if you could put a flyer up at their store. Most are willing to oblige.
Tweet it, Instragramm it, Facebook it, Use all your social media tools to let everyone know your stuff's gone missing.
Check Kijiji, eBay and CraigsList regularly. If you see it, contact police and the website, don't go after it on your own, however tempting that thought might be.
Check any and all online forums that discuss gear, who knows, someone might be asking about the value of your property.
Call your insurance company and file a claim.
*Bonus Camera Tip* Lighting and Sound engineers might want to take a pic of the console after they've set up, this makes life easier and faster turn-arounds between acts.
I'd love to hear your tips if you have any, you can email me here