10 Considerations When Hiring a Security Company to Protect Your Business

10 Considerations When Hiring Security Guards to Protect Your Business

You have made the decision to hire a security agency to protect your business, but now what?

What characteristics do you look for in a company? What questions should you ask? How do you differentiate one company from another?

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Once again, Small Business Trends turned to Greg Kuhn, founder and CEO of Omega Protective Services, for advice on the matter. He recommended that small business owners consider the following six subjects, each of which he posed in the form of a question:

Ask These Questions Before Hiring Security Guards

Is the Agency Locally Owned or a National Chain?

Kuhn advised businesses to hire a locally-owned security company, one that is a small business itself.

“A small business can serve you better than a national security firm,” he said. “To them, you’re just a drop in the bucket. A small agency will pay more attention and treat you better. You’ll have the bosses phone number, not some call center.”

How Customer Service Oriented Is the Company?

Kuhn said you want to find a company that puts a priority on customer service.

“Security is the number goal, of course, but following that is customer service,” he said. “If you come up with a company that does not have that as a priority, don’t hire them.”

Is Security the Company’s Main Focus?

You want to learn whether or not security is the company’s sole business or if it’s an add-on to other services, such as cleaning, parking or landscaping, Kuhn said. He advised hiring an agency that specializes in the type of security you need.

“If you’re hosting an event, seek out an event security company,” he said. “If you need armed bodyguard services, pinpoint one that specializes in that. If it’s warehouse security, locate a firm that has deep experience in that area.”

Does the Company Offer Uniform Options?

Kuhn asked, “Does the security company you’re considering offer different choices in uniforms that fit the occasion?”

He cited options such as police-style uniforms, polo shirts, t-shirts, suit and tie and plain clothes.

“If the company only offers one uniform — the police-style with shoulder patches and black striped pants, for instance — keep looking, unless that’s what best fits your needs.”

What Is the Company’s Reputation?

Google makes it easy to determine a company’s reputation (complaints are often the first results to surface), but refrain from limiting your research to keyword searches only. Look at ratings and review sites like Yelp, and reference social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Also, check out the agency’s Better Business Bureau rating.

Another idea: Ask the company for client references and speak with them, to learn whether they were satisfied with the work done.

Kuhn even suggests finding out how the agency’s employees feel about working there.

“That may be difficult to figure out,” he said, “but by meeting with representatives of the company you can get a feel for their attitude.”

Is the Company Willing to Accommodate Your Needs?

“Will the company work with your schedule, particularly if it involves varying hours,” Kuhn asked. “If it’s not willing to accommodate you, it’s not looking for your business.”

He also advised asking if the agency is amenable to supplying guards short-term, — during the holidays, for example — or if it requires a long-term contract. The more flexible, the better, Kuhn said.

Other Security-related Hiring Issues to Consider

Here are three other issues to consider, in addition to those Kuhn suggested:

Is the Company Licensed and Insured?

The agency should be able to supply valid, current state licenses and show proof of insurance. Scrutinize the insurance to ensure it adequately covers your situation (one million dollars is the standard). Forms of insurance include workman’s comp, auto liability and general liability. Ask that it adds your business as an “additionally insured.”

How Well-trained are the Guards?

Regardless of the company you are considering or the type of service you need, hiring guards who are properly trained is vital to your business’s welfare. Otherwise, you run the risk of guards who are ill-prepared to handle emergency situations or manage even routine tasks. Ask what type of training the company provides and whether it meets or exceeds state requirements. If the latter, ask in what ways and be specific.

How Much Will It Cost?

While you may not want to hire the company that submits the lowest bid, depending on the qualifications, you should ask the following questions of all those you interview:

  • How frequently with the firm bill for services rendered: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?
  • Will it charge a flat monthly rate, a uniform hourly rate for all employees or a different hourly rate for each employee? (Hourly rates may be a better fit for your budget if you only need help seasonally, for events or part-time.)
  • Does your business have to cover costs for uniforms, equipment and supplies?
  • Are there add-ons the agency supplies at no cost to you?

Of course, the most critical question to ask is whether or not the total estimated average monthly cost fits within your budget?

As you can see from this list, price is only one of many factors to consider. Choosing a low-ball figure can cost you in the caliber of services rendered and the quality of the guards assigned. Just as with many other business-related expenses, when it comes to security, you get what you pay for.

Security Guard Photo via Shutterstock 19 Comments ▼

Paul Chaney Paul Chaney is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. He covers industry news, including interviews with executives and industry leaders about the products, services and trends affecting small businesses, drawing on his 20 years of marketing knowledge. Formerly, he was editor of Web Marketing Today and a contributing editor for Practical Ecommerce.

19 Reactions
  1. It is important to hire an agency with a good name and also to look at the background of the person that you are hiring.

  2. 1.The reputation of the company becomes the key subject when it comes to hiring.
    2. the Cost
    3. Consider the experience of the company; for how long has it be in operation.
    4. What is there Manpower? Do they have some outlets across the country?

  3. Finding a company that puts customer service as a priority is excellent advice. Making sure that the security team will be willing to work with you and make sure to keep you updated on what is happening is a good way to keep your assets safe. I would imagine that a good way to check out their customer service would be to meet with them before you hire them and get to know everyone who will be involved with your security to see how well they work with you and each other.

  4. I think these are all great questions to ask when considering hiring a security company for your business. I especially like how it mentions that you should strongly consider a company’s reputation. I’ve read elsewhere that the references you check should be people that have worked with that company recently. That way the guards that worked their detail are most likely still at the company and able to work your detail if you feel comfortable with them.

  5. I like how you mention that you should try to find a company who’s main focus is security, seeing as that is what they specialize in and will be the best at that. The company I work for has decided to hire a security guard during the night time so that all of our files are protected. I’ll have to mention that we should probably hire from a security only company if we want the best.

  6. I didn’t realize that security agencies are required to have proper state licensing. This is definitely good to know so that you don’t accidentally hire a company illegally. What do you suggest is the best way to determine whether or not an agency has the proper licensing?

  7. This is such a helpful article! I have been thinking of hiring a security company for our business. It’s important that the security company that we hire specializes in the type of security we need and is willing to work with our schedule. Thanks for such helpful tips!

  8. very useful guide. Thank you

  9. I like what you had to say here about looking at the company’s reputation before hiring a guard. Just like you said, Google makes it quite easy to take a look at their reputation, but you should refrain from limiting your keywords. A friend of mine is throwing a big party, and I think would really benefit from this information since she is thinking about hiring some guards. Thanks!

  10. I didn’t realize that there was so much you had to take into consideration when choosing a security company. However, a lot of the factors that you bring up in the article do make a lot of sense. After all, if you’re going to hire a company to protect your business you’ll want to make sure that they can meet all of your needs.

  11. From my point of view, I will recommend that you put the fact of how well-trained the guards are and are they really trustworthy. We are speaking of our security here, so I guess, it should be the main focus here. Company’s reputation, as well as the cost, should be the next things to be checked.

  12. I love how you pointed out to make sure that the security service you hire is licensed and insured, as it will help protect you from liability. One of my friends is studying business, so he may be interested in learning more about how to hire a security guard service. Thanks for all the great tips on what to look for when hiring security personnel.

  13. I am thinking about hiring a security service to help me keep my retail store and office safe, so I appreciate the information in this article. You make a great point that I should look for a company that will be accommodating for my store hours and early office hours. Also, it would definitely give me peace of mind to find a company that is licensed and insured.

  14. I love how you said to hire a security company that is licensed and insured, as it will protect you if something goes wrong. One of my friends is wanting to start a business, and that means he may need security. Thanks for all the great tips for choosing a security service.

  15. If I ran a larger business, I would look into getting a security guard service. That way, I could ensure that the entirety of the exterior of the building would be protected during all times of the day and night. Before I would hire one, I’d ask myself all of the questions that you listed here. Finding out what kind of reputation they have I think is the most important thing.

  16. Recently, I’ve seen that homes in my neighborhood have been broken into. When hiring a security service, I agree that you want to find someone who has a good reputation, which you can verify by checking the BBB. Doing so would ensure that you can trust them, and they will be able to handle what you need from them.

  17. Although hiring security guards are important but I think as other important things is doing the background check of security guards agencies is equally important, hiring from reputed security agencies always help.

  18. Thanks for listing the considerations in hiring a security company. My boss left me my deliverables for today, which includes hiring the right security guards for the firm since we’ll begin to start our office operations by next month. In order to find an efficient security service, I shall then look at ratings on BBB and review customer testimonials on Yelp, and consider looking into social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to get further information on the company I’m hiring.

  19. I like your advice about scrutinizing the security guard company’s insurance to ensure they have worker’s compensation, auto liability, and general liability insurance. My dad plans to start his own business soon since he has amassed large inheritance. He would need to hire security guards for his business, so I will share this with him. Thanks.

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