When choosing your security services supplier there are a number of key considerations which the buyer needs to keep in mind. In many instances a security guard will spend more time on a work premises than the staff themselves, so picking the right company is a very important consideration which needs to be thought out carefully.
Too often companies have based their decision on costs which leads to a sub standard service.
Important factors include:
This is key when choosing a private security company. It doesn’t matter that the company has been around for 50 years if they can’t protect your business, facilities, people and property. Do not be afraid to ask questions to ascertain what kind of a reputation the company has. It is a small industry which makes this task easier. Look for security service providers with previous experience in working for financial institutions, office complexes, multi-unit residential buildings, retail stores, malls, commercial properties, schools, hospitals, manufacturing plants, hotels and property management companies. Seek references and look beyond a basic “google search”(remember that a fancy website should not be the only basis for hiring guarding services!).
When engaging a security company, you shouldn’t feel like just another customer on a long list. Look for a company that sees you as a partner in their success and “buys into” your company culture. A collaborative relationship is the most important way to effectively build a security plan to keep you or your property safe. You should sit with your supplier and explain in detail what your plans are and what your expectations are from your security supplier.
Contractors should be willing to explain clearly how they will monitor and control the quality of security services. How often will the supervisor visit the property? What is their experience? What training have they received? What takes place on the supervisor’s inspections of the property? Do the site supervisors strongly support and direct the staff, along with authority to make decisions and to communicate directly with senior management? Does the company heavily concentrate on supervision with each officer having a chain of command that reaches senior management?
Professionals make the difference in providing security. Look for a security company that has a commitment to strict hiring practices that include background checks and training programs which will ultimately assist in reducing client liability in the event of a major or minor incident. All security guards should hold individual security licenses from the PSA. Even better choose a security provider that also offers security guard training and continuous training throughout the career of the security guard. A professionally run security provider will support the team on the ground, the client and make sure that the security team will work well with the other people in the building.
Experience and Management
This is an area that buyers of security services fail to address. It is crucial to inquire as to the number of years of service the Senior Management Team, Regional managers and operations management teams offer. Although not essential, the security contractor should have recently provided security service to a setting similar to yours. Meet with the management people who will manage your account. Consider engaging a company who have a proven responsive management team headed by an involved, accessible and hands-on owner.
You and the security contractor must share an understanding of the reasons for entering into the contract. Define what your associations needs are and the criteria. Establish firm performance criteria to help you objectively decide what is required.
When the contract commences it will be essential that you are comfortable with the key managers responsible for your account. If you don’t feel comfortable that they will respond to your property needs or as issues arise before a contract begins, expect it to get worse when issues arise. If you can identify with the contact person assigned to your association, communicate and feel that you have gained cooperation from the start, problems encountered during the life of the contract may be easier to resolve. Discuss your desires and expectations with the security company management and discuss terms of supervision with the contractor and management staff.
The security personnel should know, understand, and comply with your site’s written policy manual. If a security guard performs below par, it is important to know that the individual will be disciplined. Once the security guards are in place, you will need to monitor them to ensure that they meet high professional standards, project a professional and alert demeanor and respond effectively to security-related concerns.
It should be required that all that written materials from the security guard (logs, reports, etc.) be clear, complete and legible. You should receive a copy of every report filed by your guard.
Other details that are often ignored and come back to cause problems may include:
- Are the company financially stable?
- What kind of insurance cover have they in place and is it adequate?
- Do you have a say in how the uniforms look?
- What are the company’s employee screening procedures?
- Are they able to provide security personnel for any assignment at a short notice?
Risk Department – August 2016
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