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Choosing a security guard firm

Before selecting a security guard firm, you need to decide on the type of security service required and the roles you need security guards to perform. This will depend on the nature of your business. Hotels, educational facilities and office buildings all have different security needs A small retail business may only need a security monitoring service with back-up patrol, while a hotel or club is likely to require a 24 hour security presence on site.

Once you have determined the type of security service needed, the next step is to decide on the level of protection required. Plain clothed and unarmed security guards are best if you own a retail store and the objective is to catch shoplifters. Uniformed guards are a better choice as a deterrent, while armed guards may be necessary when protecting valuable inventory or cash in transit. Security guards with higher levels of training will be able to perform the higher level security requirements, but this will come at an additional cost.

With an initial understanding of your security needs, the next step is to interview three or four security firms in order to compare services and costs. Make sure that the security firms hold valid licenses. In all States and Territories, private security firms are required to be licensed in order to offer security services. Also, make sure the firms have an adequate level of insurance for the services being provided. Ask for certificates of currency for policies such as Public Liability and Workers Compensation.

Find out how long the security firm has been in business and ask for three of four client references. While you are likely to receive positive references from selected clients, it will enable you to ask for client references from your industry who are being provided with a similar security guard solution. Asking for references is a good way to determine whether a security firm has a track record in providing a security guard service to your industry.

Cost is also a key consideration so ask for a detailed charge breakdown. For example, you might pay a flat monthly amount or an hourly rate, depending on the type of service required. Confirm whether direct employees or contractors will be used. If contractors are going to be assigned to guard your business, ask the security firm how they ensure these guards have the required level of training and certification.

The final stage will be interviewing the individual security guards to ensure an appropriate match for your business. You will have confirmed each guard’s training and qualifications prior to interview with the security firm, so the task now is to review personality and appearance. For example, if you require a plain clothed security guard for your retail store, then you need someone who looks like a typical customer in your store. If you need a security guard for your office building or hotel, the preference will be for someone with a corporate appearance and professional approach. If the security guard has to interact with people at a sporting venue or social event, you will want someone that is helpful and friendly. The key is to select security guards whose appearance and personality most closely align to your business requirements.

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