What to Consider When Hiring a Guard Service
Hiring a security officer either on a temporary or long-term basis can be a challenging process. It can be difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to recognize their security risks and then identify the security company that can provide suitable protection and coverage.
Research the Brand
Out of all the security contractors in a region, one will be the ideal fit for a particular business. Start by researching the brand and ensuring that it has proven longevity, is fully licensed and insured and is not currently operating under any bankruptcies or IRS liens. If the brand checks out on this front, than ask for several references that are active clients and several references that are past clients. Follow up on these references in thorough fashion.
A professional security officer should be fully licensed, fully bonded and fully insured. Guards must also be extensively trained, but it is not good enough that the training only take place during the earliest stages of employment. The best security companies approach training as an ongoing process, and there guards are constantly undergoing certification processes to expand their knowledge and experience. It is also worthwhile to evaluate a firm based on the base salary paid to their guards.
Unarmed vs. Armed Guards
Most security companies will offer both unarmed and armed guards. Armed officers require more training and have greater responsibilities and are thus more expensive. Armed officers are an excellent deterrent to crime and in a better position to act proactively and defensively if an incident does occur. However, in environments with employees or customers, armed officers can cause unease that leads to diminished productivity and sales.
Contractors that fill personal security jobs should be available around-the-clock and throughout the year. Guards should be available at all hours of the day or night in at least three shifts and on holidays, and the central monitoring station of the security company should be available 24/7 as well. A business should never settle based on their current needs because those needs may change, and if a company cannot provide a live representative at any time, that is a warning sign that must be heeded.
When considering security contractors, take particular note of their response times. There are two aspects to response. The first is how long on average does it take the guards to recognize that an incident has occurred. The second is how long it takes on average after recognition to respond in an appropriate fashion, such as calling law enforcement, and to log the incident suitably. All contractors have this information available, and those that perform well are proud of that fact.
One of the most important aspects of all personal security jobs is the ability to observe and to condense those observations in a useful manner into a permanent record. Pay particular attention to the reporting protocols that a company has and the systems it has in place to facilitate them. While reviewing these practices, keep in mind that this information will be needed by law enforcement, insurance companies and the business itself to perform security-oriented self-assessment.