The volume of security companies in the market place competing for your business is almost over-whelming. Add to this the fact that all of them promise to deliver the ‘best service ever’ at the most competitive rates and by the most experienced people in the industry and you’re left playing a game of eenie meenie miney mo.
Unfortunately, a lot of companies fall well short of their extravagant promises and you usually don’t find this out until you have already engaged their services.
The good news is that there are actually some questions you can ask that no amount of creative talk can hide. They are:
How do you pay your guards?
There is only two ways a security company can legally pay their security guards and that is by the modern award (Security Services Industry Award 2010) or by an agreement certified and registered through Fair Work Australia.
If a company tells you their guards are paid under their agreement then their agreement will be located on Fair Work Australia’s web site under the ‘Find an Agreement’ section.
While it’s important for businesses to get value for money when hiring a security company it’s equally important to ensure your business isn’t compromised by engaging a company that may end up having pay disputes with staff or worse.
Also, we’re living in a multi-media society. The potential brand damage to your business just by being associated with a company doing the wrong thing by its staff could be staggering.
Does your company engage sub-contractors?
No single security company can provide all services nationally with direct staff. They will at some stage engage a sub-contractor and any company telling you otherwise is misleading you.
It’s also important to note that using a sub-contractor isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Provided the company you engage have appropriate strategies in place for managing a third party, the delivery of service can be seamless.
If your service provider does disclose they are using sub-contractors you should ask to see a copy of the agreement/s they have in place along with copies of all relevant insurances. Again this will provide reassurance they are doing the right thing.
Can you provide current licenses and insurance?
This sounds like a bit of a no brainer but if something happens on your site you will be glad you confirmed all of their documents are up to date.
In this day and age you should be looking for a company that has a public liability insurance of at least $20 million.
If this company is being engaged to provide risk assessments or some form of security advise, you should ensure they have professional indemnity insurance of at least $5 million and that the person providing the advice has the appropriate training and is a licensed security consultant.
If they are providing guards directly to your business you should also to see a copy of their current master license for that relevant state/territory.
What is the background of your key people?
As I said before, the security industry is full of people that make great promises but a large number of them have no real idea how to deliver what they promise.
If a security company is courting your business then ask them to tell you about the background/experience of the key people involved in looking after your contract.
I’m sure you’ll take far greater comfort if your business is being looked after by someone with a diverse background at senior levels instead of just running the front line.
Do you have quality assurance?
Whilst quality assurance (QA) isn’t a prerequisite for a company to be successful, any company that is successful will have strong systems in place.
In an industry notorious for having dubious operators, asking a company if they have QA can be a great avenue for identifying a company serious about the professionalism of their business and having quality systems in place.
If the company says they have QA in place ask to see a copy of their certificate/s validating this.
Murry Taylor is the Chief Operating Officer for Group 1 Security. Prior to this role he held various senior security/risk management positions (State/National) in RailCorp, Woolworths & Retail Adventures.