You would never intentionally select a low-quality security guard company, but it’s difficult to know when the salespeople are telling you how great their company is. The security company makes promises they either can’t keep or never intend to keep for the duration of your contract. If you understand their tactics you can prevent the problems up front and have the tools in place to manage if problems arise.
Low Security Guard Wages
Cutting the wages of their security guards is the #1 tactic of low-quality security companies to pad their profits. Low wages have a direct correlation to higher turnover and poor performance by your security guards. You can prevent this up front by specifying a wage up front. Do your research so that you know what a reasonable wage in your market is.
The average security guard wage in Atlanta in 2019 is $15/hour (per salary.com)
Did you know that some security companies charge their security guards for the uniforms they wear? We find this regularly with security guard companies in Atlanta. This is another way that they cut the wages of their officers, reducing moral and increasing turnover. Let them know up front that things like this will not be tolerated.
Supervision is another area where those less reputable security guard companies will limit their expense. You know that limiting supervision also limits quality. Require a detailed plan up front for how the security officers assigned to your office building will be supervised. Include supervisory positions contract.
No Employee Benefits
Your security guard company should take care of their Officers so that those guards can take care of you. Ask what plans they have for holidays, vacations and employee health insurance programs.
Contract Security Officers (e.g., 1099)
Some security guard companies in Atlanta lower their payroll costs by using contractors (e.g., 1099) instead of hiring actual W2 employees. This lowers payroll costs by reducing the cost of taxes, benefits and other costs to the security company. This puts your office building at risk due to high turnover, and lower morale of guards. Ask your potential security guard company about how they handle their employment practices.
There are some security companies that pay a reduced “training wage” during training. They are short-changing those security officers by making them accept that lower pay rate anytime they are off their post. Reputable security guard companies understand the importance of training and don’t treat it as a burden. Ask your potential security guard companies how they handle training pay.
Reduce or Eliminate Training
Training of security officers is critical to their success! Low-quality security companies avoid providing training that is not required by your contract. In fact, many will avoid providing training if they are not audited and held accountable. Insufficient security guard training puts your company at risk. Build training into the contract and hold the security guard company accountable for the training.
Personal Vehicles Used as Duty Vehicles
Using the personal vehicles of security guards or poorly maintained security company vehicles can increase the risk to the client. Be clear in your contract that the use of personal vehicles in the line of duty is forbidden and specify that company patrol vehicles be clean and properly maintained. Their vehicles are a reflection on your organization.
Is your provider active in the security industry (e.g., ASIS, BOMA Georgia, etc.)? Is company management getting regular continuing education in the industry’s best practices? Skipping these events reduces costs for the security guard company but leads to reduced security expertise across all levels of the organization. Seek out a company who is active reputable security industry organizations.
Use of the Latest Technologies
The security guard company you select should be using the latest technologies including guard tour software in serving your office building. Security patrol software that monitors the Officers while on duty assures you that they are making the rounds of your property as specified and not sleeping on the job. Additionally, these software tools make it easy for guards to make reports on their observations, including maintenance issues so that your staff has a list of things to fix when they come in each morning.
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