10 Surefire tips to Hire A Good Security Company

MVP Security Officers providing hotel security

If you ask 10 people who carries the bulk of the responsibility for protecting America’s homeland 8 out of 10 of them would probably blurt out “Police.” While the police do an excellent job protecting our citizens, security officers often go as the unsung heroes!  According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the private security industry is responsible for protecting more than 85% of the nation’s critical infrastructure. In most cases security officers outnumber police officers 2 to 1.  According to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial fund there are approximately 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers and federal agents.  According to a report prepared by ASIS (American Society for Industrial Security) there are nearly 2 million full-time security workers in the United States.  Experts expect this number to increase by 21% percent through 2020.  To add to these staggering numbers there are thousands of private security firms in the US and new companies are popping up everyday.

With so many security companies to choose from it is important to use careful consideration when selecting a security provider. Choosing the right security firm not only protects your property and your people, it helps to protect your business in cases of litigation (Which can save you tons of money down the line). Choosing the right security firm also can protect your business reputation, which can be severely damaged by even the smallest security incident. History has proven that trying to rebound from an embarrassing security incident can be a very challenging and expensive task.

So let’s go through my 10 Surefire tips to hire a reputable security firm to address your security needs.  The first step in the process starts with doing a google search for security companies in the area or checking with the venue where you will be holding your event. Oftentimes they will have a vendors list.  Next you should send out RFP’s (Request for Proposals) which are formal or RFQ’s (Request for Quotes) which are informal.  Whichever, method you choose should include the vetting of a least 3 vendors. Once you gather the vendors’ information follow my 10 Surefire best practices and you will be well on your way to selecting the best vendor for your job:

  • Vet the prospects’ security experience (with a special focus on the projects similar to yours)
  • Review the prospects’ years in business, past clientele and past performance. Don’t get all excited because the prospect drops a big name (Having a big name client is one thing, but doing a shabby job at it is another).
  • Visit each prospect’s website paying special attention to content, ease of navigation, services and especially the “About Us” sections. Lack of information in a prospect’s “About Us” section should be a sign, “Buyer Beware.”
  • Request information about Professional Associations in which the company and management team are affiliated. Companies who are serious about what they do will usually be associated with associations such as ASIS, ISMA (INTERNATIONAL SECURITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION), or IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police).  Board certifications such as the ASIS- PSP (Physical Security Professional), CPP (Certified Protection Professional and the PSI (Professional Certified Investigator are definitely a plus.
  • Request and review each prospect’s executive leadership and management experience.  Proven years in police or security “management”  is always a good sign.
  • Review the prospects’ social media presence to include content, reviews, followers and engagement with current security issues (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Request and review the prospects’ marketing material to include brochures, capability statements, etc.
  • Request and review the prospects’ insurance levels ( 1 million in General Liability is normally sufficient)
  • Inquire about guard training. A good training program should include (observation, report writing, use of force, effective communication, incident management, tort law, arrest law, criminal law, constitutional law, bomb identification and evacuation) and;
  • Consider pricing

Have you noticed that pricing was the last thing on this list? That wasn’t done by mistake.  Pricing is the poisonous apple of doing business with a security firm. Yet, it is oftentimes the first thing that those looking to hire a company considers; sometimes it’s the only thing.  While I understand that the bottom line drives many business decisions, I caution that when the poisonous apple is bitten, it often bites back.  Choosing a security firm based on the lowest price often costs businesses major losses in finances from lawsuits and crime and even more in frustration from complaints of absenteeism and unprofessional and unethical conduct.  Therefore, I strongly recommend against using the lowest responsible bidder process altogether.  Instead, I suggest using the above tips to find the best fit for the job at hand.  More often the difference between the highest bidder and the lowest bidders is usually only a couple hundreds of dollars and to me it’s well worth the money.

My father always told me that it was best to spend adequate money on quality things in the beginning rather than spending more money to replace the bargain products in the end.  In other words he would say, “You either pay the cost or you pay the price.”  In my experience paying the price is almost always more than the cost.  My father is a wise man and I’ve benefited greatly from his advice, so I felt it important to share some of his wisdom you all.

Thanks for reading. For more information please feel free to contact me at security_guru@mvpprotectiveservices.com


Written by Melvin E. Key, CPP

CEO, MVP Protective Services


10 Tips For Hiring Good Security Guards

If you decide to use contracted security guards to protect your business and people you should use the following tips to ensure that you get the quality you pay for. I will say that it may cost you more to get this quality but if you force the contracted security company to work for lower price they will deliver lower standard guards in some cases, but more importantly, if they accept your low price it means they are saving money elsewhere. These security companies will have lower quality controls and increased number of safety concerns due to poor occupational health and safety systems.

Verbal communication skills

All clients want security guards that can speak English well so their customers can understand directions and instructions clearly. Their verbal skills are also needed to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Observation skills

Security guards main duty is to detect security problems and safety hazards before they become an problem for your business. Most security training courses do not teach observation skills in any form. These training companies believe that people have eyes and have been using them for their entire life so they know how to observe already. Completely wrong. That is like saying that because we have been eating food all our lives we can be food critics and know how to judge a chefs product.

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Deterrence of criminal behaviour

Every security company and contracted client states that the most important factor for employing security guards is their ability to deter crime and they don’t want guards to arrest of use reasonable force to control unwanted behaviour.

No security training teaches new guards how to deter criminal behaviour. So is it any reason why everyone automatically assumes that the new security guard can deter crime. I have found some clients still think that size is how guards deter people.

Competence in their performance of security skills

You as the client take it for granted that the security company has actually tested or confirmed the performance ability of all their security guards. Most never conduct performance checks in any form, and the others that do, don’t check actual security skills- they assess the guard based on how many shifts they do for the company and whether they complain about the security company.

Just because some guards have been in the industry for years doesn’t mean that they know how to provide security in your business.

Top 10 Tips

Give the security guard a test in their verbal conflict handling skills be pretending to be a complaining customer. Look for their responses.

Give the guard a written test that consists of security questions and knowledge that a level 2/3 guard must know to get their qualification.

Ask the guard exactly how much experience they have in handling security in a business exactly like yours or very similar. Ask for proof and request they demonstrate their experience in a work trial by explaining to you the most common security problems in your type of business.

Ask when the last time they had a performance assessment done on them and what type of questions did the security manager ask them. What was their performance rating.

Ask them to explain how they plan to deter criminal behaviour to leave your business. Have they thought about it or are they just relying on their size. Trust me on this- size has little impact on deterrence to most real criminals.

Give them a photograph of two people and ask them to look at it for 5 seconds. Then ask them to describe the person that you request. They need to get all the details correct. You do not want security guards that cannot even describe a photographed person. In a real event with darkness and adrenalin going they will make mistakes.

Hold interviews with all your security guards before the security company assign them to protect you. During the interview conduct the mentioned tests and questions but also ask the guard to tell you about a tell he had to deal with an assault and listen to how they dealt with it.

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Pay attention to the level of verbal skills used during the interview. Especially the number of incorrect words used and lengthy pauses while they think of the words to use. This type of skills signals poor verbal ability and comprehension during normal conversation they will struggle during security incidents. If they have to repeat themselves to you so you understand what they are saying- don’t use them.

Avoid using any security guards that feel they need to have bald heads or crew cuts because they don’t want their hair grabbed during a fight. They shouldn’t need to fight if they know how to do their job properly. This goes the same for guards that refuse to wear ties in case someone grabs it during a fight. Get elastic or clip on ties. Problem solved. I prefer it if someone wants to grab my tie instead of punching me because they have just wasted the first move and not injured me. Game over.

Ask how long they have worked for this security company. Security companies have high turnover and throw inexperienced guards at clients every month or worse, they use sub-contracted guards that you have no quality control over and the security company doesn’t even know them.

Source by Paul Baker

Security Guard Qualifications – Basic Requirements for Getting Hired

A security guard is a demanding and ever-changing job that requires a diverse but specific skill set in order to be successful. There are really two sets of qualifications that all potential applicants should become familiar with. The qualifications and requirements set by the state or government agency that will be issuing your license, as well as the qualifications and skills that will make you a great guard.

Security Guard Qualifications – State Mandated (Unarmed)

Each state in the United States is in charge of regulating and setting the requirements for people to apply, register, and become licensed as security guards. This also make the requirements and qualifications slightly different for each state, but a broad set of qualifications that is mostly universal among the states would be:

Be 18 years of age or older.
Not have been convicted of a felony or violent crime.
Be mentally, physically, and emotionally competent.
Be able to pass a state mandated criminal background check as well as an F.B.I background check.
Be able to complete and pass any state required guard training or guard training exams.

Even though these requirements are mostly universal, the state in which you reside may have slightly different rules, so it’s best to double-check the required qualifications for your specific state.

Security Guard Qualifications – State Mandated (Armed)

Any person that wishes to become an armed guard must be able to meet the requirements of an unarmed guard and then additionally meet any extra state mandated requirements for being an armed guard. Just like the unarmed guard requirements, the armed guard requirements vary from state to state but could include any or all the following:

Able to get a state weapons license for small arms.
Able to obtain a concealed weapons permit.
Be able to successfully complete and pass any extra mandated training classes or exams for armed guards.

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Security Guard Qualifications – General Requirements

Besides the requirements that a state government or agency may put in place in order to become a security guard, there are many other traits or skills that a security guard should possess in order to be both safe, as well as effective at their job. Some of these useful traits, skill sets, or certifications would be:

Being in good physical condition.
Being an effective communicator.
Possessing a valid state drivers license.
Able to stand for prolonged periods of time.
Having a good memory.
Being able to write reports and describe situations effectively for management.
Having an authoritative, loud, and clear speaking voice.

Depending on where and who you are employed with, your required individual qualifications will differ from someone else. It’s best to check with the agency issuing your guard license or employer for the complete list of required qualifications before going too far into the process of becoming a guard.

Source by Alex Wallst

Security Questions for Security Guards

People have assorted reasons for the need to hire a security guard. Perhaps you need security for your business or are planning a special event such as a wedding, anniversary party or fund raiser. Security guards are commonly hired to protect property, individuals or material goods. Most commonly you find them at banks, government offices, hospitals, museums and retail stores but they can be found in limitless locations for any reason. No matter your reason for hiring a security guard there are certain questions you will need to have answered before choosing the one for you. Will they be monitoring a room, patrolling a property or conducting surveillance via security monitors?

Generally you will go through a company in your search. Many companies employ former military or police officers because the job requires honesty and an aptitude to for remaining calm in any situation. These people are the first to respond in the case of a robbery, medical emergency or any type of disturbance. An ability to recognize trouble and deal with it promptly and efficiently is crucial. Whether you hire through a company or do the hiring yourself be sure to have the following questions answered before making your decision on the person you will trust to keep things running smoothly and safely.

What is their training? Are they former military or a former police officer? If so, they have had excellent training and you need not worry. If not, get details on how and where they received training.

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Ask about previous experience and why they want you to employ them. What type of security work have they done and what experiences have they had. Was crowd control required or guarding objects? What experience have they had in the past that qualifies them for the job? How does this correlate to your needs and the job requirements?

Why did they leave their previous employment? What were the circumstances and how long were they at their previous employment. This will help determine dependability and loyalty based on how long they keep a job and how they speak about their previous employer. Applicants should be comfortable and relaxed when discussing previous employers and employment.

Give them a scenario to solve relevant to the job. For example: A security guard hired to be present for a large house party – ask what action they would take if they notice a guest searching through the file cabinets in the library? See how well they evaluate and respond to the scenario.

Have they ever had a Criminal Background check done? Is it current? If not, require them to have one.

Do they have experience in basic or armed security? Do they have a license to carry a gun? Has there ever been a need to use it?

Are they a Registered Security Guard? This requires a high school diploma, completed security training and licensing which is good for two years.

These questions should get you the answers you need to make an informed decision when hiring a security guard.

Source by Joe M Baker

Contract Security Vs In-House

1) Increase in Competition. With more and more companies competing for market share and doing so with enhanced technology,it is imperative to have a workforce that is almost exclusively focused on improving a company’s core business offering. For example, a computer chip company probably won’t improve its position in the computer chip market due to the efforts of its in-house security officers. Top managers are deciding to utilize reputable contract security firms to be their security experts so they can focus their personnel on being computer chip experts.

2) Increased Cost/Liability. Payroll taxes and fringe benefits have skyrocketed to a national average of 48%. As our society becomes more and more litigious, the risk of liability from in-house personnel-related issues is steadily increasing. Areas of risk to consider include: Workers Compensation, unemployment, discrimination, sexual harassment and general liability. Lawsuits are costly and time-consuming. Due to this ever-increasing expense and risk of greater hidden cost, companies are choosing to protect themselves by outsourcing functions like security.

Many Directors of Security fear that switching to a contract provider will mean they are of decreased value to their company, and could potentially lose their jobs. However, a shift to a contract security can have the opposite effect. Security Directors who outsource their security program often find they no longer have to spend long hours dealing with day-to-day minutiae of managing security officers and instead they are able to offer their skills in the more prominent and visible areas of security consulting and analysis. This increases their value to the company while decreasing their headaches, as they can defer security personnel functions to the contract security firms management team.

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The other cause for hesitation by some companies to switch to contract security is the perception of a lack of quality security companies. While finding a reputable firm in the massive sea of the security industry can be a challenge, there are some companies who operate on a very high level. These are companies that conduct background checks and have a rigorous process for personnel selection. Quality companies also offer competitive benefits and wages and benchmark-setting training and employee development programs. In addition, switching to contract security does not mean losing your well-established security force, contact companies will usually retain as much of the existing staff as you desire.

Cost) In most cases, the cost of security program is comparable to a company’s in-house budget. However the additional protection provide, combined with the elimination of other hidden cost actually serves to reduce a company’s long term expense. Additional cost can include overtime wages, uniforms, recruiting and background checking expenses, training, administration personnel for payroll services and depreciation of equipment.

Source by Brandon L Blue