Small businesses are not exempt from crimes that take place on their premises. Some businesses, such as convenience stores, retail outlets and banks, are prime targets for theft, but any business can be the victim of illegal activity. Sporting events, festivals or any occasion where a large number of people gather are also subject to disorder and lawlessness, particularly when alcohol is present
Employing the services of a reputable, licensed security agency can help offset the potential for loss and ensure public safety. But how does a small business know when it should hire such a company? What signs point to the need for protection?
For the answers, Small Business Trends turned to Greg Kuhn, founder and CEO of Omega Protective Services, LLC, a full-service security firm based in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. In an interview with Small Business Trends, he shared the following 10 indicators based on his expertise gained from years in the security industry.
Why Hire a Security Guard
1. You Have Parking Lot Safety Concerns
Employees or customers may feel unsafe walking to their cars at night, particularly if the parking lot is not well lit.
Their concerns are justified, Kuhn says, as unattended parking lots can be a breeding ground for vandalism, theft and muggings. A security guard patrolling parking lots can ensure the safety of people and property.
2. Your Facilities are Located in a High Crime Area
Businesses located in high crime areas mandate the need for a security guard.
“‘High crime’ doesn’t necessarily mean a bad neighborhood,” Kuhn said. “It could also include a warehouse located in a sparsely-populated rural area, for instance. There is a potential for a higher number of break-ins in that case as well.”
3. You’re Experiencing Retail Theft and Shrinkage
National Retail Federation data revealed that retailers lost nearly $44 billion from theft in 2014, with 34 percent of that number coming from employees. As such, practically any retail setting would benefit from the presence of a security guard.
“A well-trained, licensed guard will take steps to limit liability and reduce shrinkage, saving the business money,” Kuhn said. “That’s a fact the small business owner shouldn’t miss when considering hiring a security company.”
4. You’re Concerned About Liability Issues
“If a business has experienced losses on their worker’s comp or general liability policies, the insurance company may require a correction action plan that includes a security company’s services,” Kuhn said. “Having such a plan in place can also lead to a break in premiums.”
5. You Have Record Keeping Concerns
One task routinely assigned to guards is to keep a record of day-to-day activities regarding safety, personnel and property.
“For example, if a door keeps opening by accident, it creates a pattern, and the guard will pick up on that and maintain a record,” he said. “It may be that the door doesn’t lock properly or an employee is leaving it open intentionally to sneak back in after hours.”
Because the guard works for the security company and not the business, he can serve as objective third-party in the event an employee faces termination due to some illegal activity. That also includes testifying in court in more severe instances.
Another reason to keep records regards liability.
“Records for emergency incidents, such as where someone gets hurt, protects the business from liability,” Kuhn said. “It also saves the business owner or employee from having to keep records.”
6. You Have Concern Over Safety Issues
“If you think you have one or two safety issues, in reality, you probably have dozens,” Kuhn said. “Having someone dedicated to safety, who knows what to look for, who can pick apart what’s safe and unsafe and needs to be improved upon is very useful. A security guard would know what to look for.”
7. You Serve Alcohol on the Premises
Anywhere alcohol is served, especially in excess, is a good place to have a security guard present. A business’s liability can get expensive if a fight breaks out resulting in injury to persons or property.
“The guard’s presence acts as a deterrent,” Kuhn said. “He can move quickly to prevent incidents before they escalate.”
8. You Have Building Traffic Concerns
Businesses that have a lot of people entering and exiting a building can utilize guards to monitor traffic, check people in and out and give out IDs or name tags.
“The physical presence of a professional, courteous guard puts the public at ease and creates a safer environment that criminals will be less inclined to target,” Kuhn said. “It also sends a signal that you care about public safety and are taking steps to protect your customers or visitors.”
9. Your Safety Program is Stretched Thin
Security guards can help with a company’s safety program.
“Industrial or construction companies, for example, will often have a safety officer,” Kuhn said. “In smaller businesses, that person could also be the job foreman who puts the priority on performing his foreman duties rather than addressing safety concerns. In cases like that, a security guard can serve the role of safety officer, sit in on safety meetings or chair the safety committee.”
10. You Need Help in Emergency Situations
Security guards are equipped to manage a range of emergencies, including physical altercations, medical emergencies or criminal incidents. They will have the presence of mind to act responsibly and sensibly regardless of the circumstance.
“For that reason and more it’s smart to have a well-trained, licensed guard from a reputable company protecting your business,” Kuhn said.
Security Guard Photo via Shutterstock
If you are in a shared office space or just renting, then you don’t really need to bother with this as this will be covered.
I agree with Aira. Since most of the serviced offices are located in CBD’s, security is not that much of a big concern in my opinion. Aside from having its own biometric security access, these offices are usually located in Grade A buildings where security is top priority, making businesses in the building as secure as possible.
In your article, you stated that National Retail Federation data revealed that retailers lost nearly $44 billion from theft in 2014, with 34 percent of that number coming from employees. I can imagine that depending on what type of business you have, having a security company might be very beneficial. I wonder what types of services they offer that differs from a residential security company.
Security guards aren’t just for larger companies – businesses of all sizes can benefit. Businesses that have a need for extra protection, such as retail theft or parking lot issues, could benefit from having a physical security guard. Before adding this to your security plan, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons.
A lot of people with small businesses always make a mistake by not hiring a security guard for their business as they think it is not meant for their business. Always use high quality locks to save from break in. It would be much safer to have high resolution CCTV cameras installed in your neighborhood. With the trained security guard, monitoring the cameras you can save your locality from further loss.
Having a guard that works for the security company who can serve as an objective third-party is an excellent idea. Being able to have someone whose task is to make sure that your company is safe, and is able to monitor it and know what’s going on is a good way to keep it safe. I would imagine that if you use a security agency they’ll be able to make sure they find the guards best qualified for the job.
I feel like you make a good point about how hiring a security guard could be helpful in giving your employees and customers peace of mind when in a parking lot. I have read that most thefts or vandalism occurs in parking lots of businesses rather than the actual business. If this is true, then I think hiring security guards would be a great investment in the well-being of your employees and customers.
Security is important not only for big companies but small businesses as well. As this article suggests, we should hire securtity guards not only for personal security but also for assets we have. Depending upon the area we have our business setup, we should also think of installing CCTV cameras to monitor the surroundings.
It makes sense that some businesses need a security guard. My friend wants to open a jewelry store, and he doesn’t think he needs anything more than locks on the doors. The neighborhood he’s in is pretty “high crime,” so I think he could use a guard.
The crime-prone areas are more likely need the security guards as you never know when there will come the situation where you need a professional security guard to protect yourself and your business premises.
Nice article, keep it up. 🙂
Thanks for explaining that businesses located in high crime areas mandate the needs for security guards. My dad started up a small business, but the location where his business is has been experiencing a rise in criminal activity lately. I’ll recommend to my dad that he seeks out a security service that he can hire.
I never thought about a security guard from the perspective that you mention to have records of day to day activities. Our company has invested a lot of time and money into our goods and services and a security guard service will protect these investments, ensuring that all the hard work doesn’t go to waste. Having this immediate response could be very helpful to ensure the building is protected as much as possible at the moment.
Thank you for the tip about having a security guard is a good idea if alcohol is being served. My sister is planning on starting up a restaurant with a bar, but she hasn’t talked about security measures at all. I will be sure to tell her about this article and suggest that she finds a good company to help her keep the place safe.
I like what you said about hiring a security guard since they can dedicate their time to finding safety issues. My boss has been telling me about how he wants to make sure that everyone in the office is safe in the coming months. I’ll share this information with him so that he can look into his options for hiring a security guard.
My cousin has been thinking about getting a security guard so that he can feel safer around his home while the people he is living with have an event with people that he thinks are shady. He really wants to make sure that he is a lot safer and nothing of his will be stolen. I liked what you said about how in any circumstances they will act responsibly and sensibly no matter what because they are trained for it.
I love the idea of having a security guard patrol a parking lot at night. My neighborhood has has a couple of robberies i nthe past weeks. I’ll talk to my neighbors about hiring a security guard to patrol our neighborhood instead of a parking lot.
I am mostly on-road visiting different clients every day for fixing the interiors of their cars. Mostly the car damage is done by Sun Exposure and Extensive Heat. I always recommend my clients to use UpTree Shades which provides protection not only to them but to their car interiors as well. As the interior of your car and exterior of your body is highly valuable.
It’s great that you talked about how important it is for small businesses to have a security guard by their side. My sister is thinking about opening a pawnshop with her husband. The only thing is that they’re worried about the place’s safety since it’d be in a somehow unsafe neighborhood. That’s why I think your article could help her solve the security problem. Thanks for the tips about the benefits of hiring a security guard for your business.