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Commercial Security Services

How to Choose a Guard Company

by John Hewitt, CPP, CIPM II

Training is one of the most essential when choosing a commercial security company. How often are guards trained? Do they have specialized training; CPR, AED. Some security officers have certifications that can help in the performance of their job duties such as the Certified Protection Officer (CPO). In New York for instance the Security Guard Act of 1992 mandates the training and registration of security guards and the approval of private security training schools. The Act also requires that certain private security training must be approved and that all private security trainers must be certified. Most states require similar training.

Turnover increases the cost of training and often results in poor quality of service. Although turnover cannot be avoided entirely with any company, it can be held to a minimum by good training that is offered and better compensation. This an important key factor to look for when choosing a guard company.

Companies often hire guard companies for their property without thoroughly investigating the company to ensure quality of service. Just as an individual looking for a job should be asked for references so should a guard company before a contract is awarded. Consumer assistance such as the Better Business Bureau can be helpful with finding any complaints that may have been registered against the guard company. Another factor in the investigative process would be to see if the guard company’s license is current with the State, and that all guards have a current license. Your representative should be able to provide a copy of their State license and license number.

Before awarding a contract with a guard company, be sure both you and your representative are aware of your expectations, such as how much you are willing to pay annually, the cost of overtime, and holiday pay, vacation, sick time, etc. Always read your contract thoroughly, understanding all terms and conditions. Service dates and price are also very important.

The bottom line when choosing a guard company is to be sure you are not only getting the best return on investment, but to also ensure quality of services by selecting the right company with the right employees.

John M. Hewitt, CPP, CIPM, is a Certified Protection Professional and a Certified Institutional Protection Manager, and is a member of ASIS International.