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3 Things to Consider When Hiring a Security Company

By Devon Taitt 




KRMS Armed Security Guards providing security services to a public venue in Los Angeles, CA.

Today, the world is seeing an increase in the need for private security professionals, especially in California. There are many contributing factors to this, from the change of laws to the shortage in law enforcement recruiting and slow police response times to calls of service. This has led small and large businesses to reevaluate their security needs. In this article, I hope to educate this demographic on what to look for when hiring these specialty providers. 


How Much Will It Cost?


Going off the headline of this topic, you probably think that I am going to say that you should be looking for the best rate possible so that your organization can “check the box” on having security without breaking the bank. This could not be further from the truth; although saving more money than you spend is the goal of every organization, security services are not where you want to do the penny-pinching. Like a legal firm, accounting service, or marketing agency, a security company is a specialized service dedicated to managing and mitigating security risks to an organization. That level of service comes with a cost. Hiring a guard company that specializes in supplying warm bodies in discolored or oversized uniforms may get you a great hourly rate, but it will come with many problems. We have all heard the phrase “ you get what you pay for,” and you do not want to determine that your investment in a security provider is ineffective in enhancing your company's safety after a catastrophic incident. A security provider should be charging a rate that allows for suitable compensation for its guard staff, which results in good work morale, lower turnover in staffing, enhanced guard familiarity at your organization, and the willingness to do their job if the time comes. Good security providers often propose a rate where they feel most comfortable ensuring a high quality of service.

In contrast, others gain accounts with only profit in mind, caring little about the level of service they provide or the guard's compensation. If a guard is getting paid minimum wage or the rate of an entry-level fast food employee, you should be concerned as an organization. Remember, these people are charged with not only your safety but your staff's and your patron's safety. I encourage companies potentially seeking to hire a security company to judge providers by their level of service and professionalism and the amount of risk they can mitigate to your organization, not solely by the cheap billing rates. If both client and provider work together, the patrons and overall business continuity will thrive. 


What is Their Reputation? 


The reputation of the security company being hired should be considered, as it can set the tone for the working relationship and your organization's overall safety. However, from the business perspective of a hiring manager, it can all seem like a numbers game, finding the best provider at the ideal cost and risking the chance of picking one that is not the best fit for your organization. These vetting practices do not reflect all organizations, but from my experience, they do exist. Managers and those tasked with hiring security providers should make due diligence checks a standard to help hold the company to a high level of professional accountability. Doing a Google or Yelp check, paying attention to or observing other public accounts the company may have, referring to colleagues to see if any of them have experiences with the company, if they have a high turnover in employee and client retention, and simply asking them to share why they are the best partner to keep your organization's assets safe. Understanding the company's structure is also essential; is the company a large national provider? Or a boutique company? Both can have pros and cons, but depending on your company's needs, it can be an essential consideration. The goal should be to allow your security company to have the most impact on the safety culture of your business and patrons by providing you with the best possible service.  


What Are They Trained to Do?


Believe it or not, security companies are not all the same. Although some offer similar services, some have varying specialties. Be sure you vet out your service providers before deciding to hire. The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services is mandated to train security guards in California. Other states have similar organizations and guidelines. The topics include the initial eight-hour Powers to Arrest & Appropriate Use of Force training along with thirty-two hours of training on issues to include Public relations, Officer Safety, First Aid & CPR, Handling Difficult people, and a host of other skill-building topics that enhance the professionalism of the security professional and overall enhance the safety and business continuity of the establishments they are hired to protect. Other specialized courses such as more advanced medical, firearms, situational awareness, and threat management training should be taken into consideration when hiring a security provider because it shows that the company was willing to invest in assuring that they either recruited qualified security agents to protect your establishment or they invested into their guards to ensure a standard of service would be upheld through the development of their personnel. Both are positive signs that your potential provider is genuinely invested in your safety.


In conclusion, I have been in situations where organizations seek to change security companies due to the poor service provided by their current service provider. They talk about what they do not want, where they want to see improvements, and how much they look forward to a long partnership until…we start talking numbers. I truly believe that public safety can be positively impacted by private security. With solid training and business practices, public and private partnerships will be the standard in all cities. Still, for this to happen, security companies have to change the tide in the level of service we provide and how much we allow clients to dictate the value of our services. This applies to uniformed security, event security, executive protection, nightclub security, and patrol service providers. For those seeking to hire security companies, remember that you are hiring a strategic partner who should be invested in enhancing the safety and security of your establishment and understand that the service should come with a reasonable expense. Today, no one can afford to shortcut safety; invest in a company that will make it their priority.  







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