Choosing a security company is a decision you can’t afford to take lightly. The last thing you want is to end up with an unreliable service. Working with an incompetent or inexperienced firm can leave your business exposed to vulnerabilities, which is why it’s crucial to know what to look for when hiring a security company.
There are plenty of options out there, making the selection process a bit more challenging. You’ll want to dedicate time for thorough research before settling for a particular company, and it helps if you know the right questions to ask and how to spot red flags. Ask as many questions as possible: Every company is different, so don’t assume anything.
Start with a self-evaluation to gain a deeper understanding of your requirements, so you have an easier time deciding which security company will fulfill your needs. When you understand your specific security concerns, you’ll know what to look for in a security service.
Once you’re done with your self-evaluation, here are a few questions that can help you find the right service provider.
Has the Company Worked for Businesses Similar to Yours?
The security company you plan to work with should be able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the environment in which you operate. Only a company that’s experienced in working with clients similar to your business will know the processes that need to be put in place to keep your premises safe.
For example, a company experienced in protecting hotels will have a very different skill set and training from the security needed in a mall or nightclub. Similarly, a high school will have very different security needs from a data center.
When evaluating potential service providers, ensure they’re experienced with establishments similar to yours, such as similar size or type of business. Just because a guard is highly trained and certified doesn’t make them the perfect fit for your specific requirements.
Do They Offer Services in Your City?
Determine if the company has clients in the same area of the city as your building. Guards familiar with your neighborhood will better understand the security risks and issues in your area. A company with multiple locations in your city will likely have additional reinforcements, guards, and supervision nearby.
What’s the Company’s Reputation?
Customer reviews provide a great way to evaluate the quality of service you can expect from a security company. You need to consider more than just the company’s star rating—dedicate enough time to go through and read some of their reviews.
Remember that a single bad review is not necessarily a deal-breaker if the company was able to use it to improve their services. Several negative reviews, on the other hand, are a red flag. If you are still interested in that company, make sure to address their negative reviews in the interview.
You could also ask the company for industry-specific references. Speak with the references to learn more about their experience and learn why they were satisfied with the services. Don’t shy away from asking detailed questions; it will save you plenty of time and energy in the long run.
Another way to assess the company’s reputation is by its stability and the size of its workforce. Ask how long the company has been providing security services and see if the employees have been working with the company for a while.
What’s Behind Their Pricing?
Low prices may tempt you, but companies that low-ball typically take advantage of unsuspecting clients. Choosing the lowest price will likely cost you in the quality of guards assigned and the caliber of services rendered. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. If a company quotes rates much lower than others, you can expect one of the following:
Before you sign the dotted line, read the fine print. You may have to pay much more than the quoted price for patrols, supervisors, and overtime. The company may also charge extra fees if an incident occurs.
Lower paid guards
Companies charging below-average rates often underpay their guards and provide poor benefits. That translates to a high turnover rate and less loyalty to both the company and client.
Less spent on overhead
If there’s a significant difference in the hourly rate of a security guard, it’s highly likely the company may not have the infrastructure to provide things like a dedicated account manager, regular supervisor check-ins, and custom incident reports.
The company may also be a small business where the owner-operator doubles as the supervisor, account manager, and customer service. While there’s no harm in that, chances are any slight change could cripple the entire operation. If one or two guards quit, for example, the business could be on its way to collapsing.
Does the Company Have Up-to-date Licensing and Insurance?
Make sure the company can show proof of insurance and supply valid, up-to-date state licenses. Keep in mind that guards may have different licensing requirements depending on which state your business is in. If you’re hiring a security company for multiple locations across more than one state, confirm that they have the proper license to operate in each state.
Check the insurance to ensure it’s sufficient for your situation. If a guard suffers an injury or damages property on the job, the security company must have the proper insurance to cover the incident.
Do Guards Have Sufficient Back-up/Support?
One of the most significant advantages of having a guard on location is the capability of a quick response. While access control systems and cameras provide monitoring and alerts, they’re not enough to respond to incidents and make trained decisions. You want a company that can provide round-the-clock support and adequate supervision for your business.
Ask the company about their supervisor-to-guard ratio and the distance this covers. The industry standard is having 10-15 guards per supervisor. Make sure to ask what distance the ratio covers and how long it takes a patrol officer or supervisor to reach a guard if they need assistance. Have them specify how much time they spend at each site and their protocols for assisting other guards.
A quick response time is why it’s essential to hire a security service already operating in your area.
What Are the Company’s Hiring Practices?
The true measure of a security company’s effectiveness begins with hiring the right people and equipping them with the best training. Ask the company about their hiring and recruitment process.
Do they conduct background checks? Does the company recruit professionals in security, such as former military personnel? You want to be sure you’re working with experts who understand what they’re doing.
What Are the Company’s Processes Like?
We’re living in the digital age, and technology brings cutting-edge innovations into the security landscape. Technology plays a critical role in securing the environment and is also useful in assessing security operations’ efficiency.
Security technology keeps evolving, and companies that leverage the latest technologies will be way ahead in the protection they can offer you. When evaluating a company, ask about the type of technology they provide and how well-trained the guards are in using this technology.
For example, more and more companies are beginning to offer real-time reporting. This type of technology means you can track where security guards are at all times, get instant notifications of incidents, and stay informed about the steps the company is taking to respond to the incidents.
A commitment to training employees indicates that the company is passionate about providing excellent service to its clients. It also shows a high level of professionalism.
How Is Their Response Rate?
At the initial stages of interacting with the security guard company, the response rate and quality of responses can give you insight into the difficulties you’ll likely face down the road. If the company’s customer service is terrible, chances are you can expect the same, if not worse, from their guards. A company that doesn’t make you a priority isn’t worth your time.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when vetting a potential service:
- Does the company respond to you promptly?
- Has the correspondence with the company been easy as you move along the process?
- Did the company provide clear, detailed, and complete information?
Be wary of hiring a company that’s already giving you warning signs as they likely won’t meet your expectations.
These questions should help you shortlist potential candidates and choose a company with the highest chances of being the right fit for your business. A little research and homework can help you get the best service.
Our team of committed specialists provides comprehensive security services to business and property owners of all sizes. Call us today or talk to a member of our team to schedule an appointment.