If you are the owner of a retail store--whether a stand alone building or one that sits among others in a strip mall--you know the critical importance of a security company. Security guards are your eyes and ears, watching for trouble so that you can concentrate on managing and growing your business. Yet do you know how to evaluate your security company? What should you be getting from the company you're paying to protect your store? Here are five hallmarks of a stellar security company.
1. Demonstrated commitment to protecting business owners' interests
Does your security company have a track record of excellent performance in your community? Can you point to times where guards have protected your store from property damage or theft? Do you get the feeling as you interact with guards and your company point of contact that they want to provide you with more than minimum protection? You want to know that those you are paying to look after your business care about doing so with integrity.
2. High standards for guards
Ask the security manager about the hiring standards for new guards. While some companies run a cursory background check and do in-house training, a stellar security company has high expectations of its guards. Thorough background checks (including running names of new guards against sex offender registries) and an investment in quality training courses (including CPR and First Aid) show that the company's guards are trustworthy and prepared.
3. Above and beyond services
What do you expect from your security company? Hourly rounds? Notification after an attempted or successful break-in? Look for a company that will exceed your expectations. If you just feel "so-so" about who's currently providing security for you, you need a change.
4.Communication, communication, communication
Communication among the security guards, their manager, and you needs to be comfortable and copious. For instance, do you receive detailed daily reports on activity around your business? Do you have an easily accessible point of contact at the security company who you can talk to about any concerns? Are the guards personable when you approach them? Lastly, you want to know that any concerns you do have are promptly addressed with the guards by the manager so that communication is a full circle.
5.Openness of access
Can you, at any given time, go outside and see the on duty guard alert and watchful? Are the guards approachable enough that, if you wanted, you could walk with them on rounds just to get a sense of the foot traffic around your store? You do not want to get the feeling that the guard is bothered by your extra interest or just making rounds because you're there.
Further, how well do the regular guards know the "people landscape" of your business? In other words, they should know the people who regularly pass by during the hours they are on duty and whether or not they represent a threat to your business. Finally, how expertly is the guard aware of the flow of activity at any given time? The officer should be able to point out to you what situations are occupying his/her attention when you walk up to talk.
Whether you've used the same security company for years or just hired one recently, it's always a good time to evaluate its performance. After all, you are the one who stands to lose money and time if your business is burglarized or suffers vandalism. Take a few minutes to think about the results you see from your security company. If you feel confident when applying the guidelines above to your current company, great! If not, you should consider switching to one that will put your business--and your peace of mind--first.
For more information, contact local security companies like Security Services Northwest, Inc.