The security officer is the first responder
and therefore the backbone of any
organization's security stature
Customers should carefully consider multiple important factors beyond price when choosing a supplier of security guard services.  In this article, Drew Levine – President of G4S Secure Solutions USA, provides a checklist of points to consider when evaluating security manpower suppliers. From historical reputation and size of the workforce to the professionalism of the security guards or the company’s ability to use technology to enhance safety, the 10 points listed in this article help to identify the right provider of guard services.  
 
Ability to offer technology to complement security officers and enhance safety

Customers should seek out security providers that have developed or embraced software technology as a tool to make officers more valuable to the customer organization. Ask security guard companies about how they are using technology to enhance safety, mitigate risk or drive efficiencies. Examples might be the use of automation and communications tools designed to boost the effectiveness of the guard force or even a custom solution that meets unique needs within a particular vertical market. Technology can also add value to facilities and risk management as well as legal, safety, engineering and building services departments.
 
Stability of the company and size of the workforce

How long has the company been in business providing security services? How many operating offices does it have? What is their financial situation? Consider what liability coverage is provided – is it adequate for your needs? Does the company provide a hold-harmless agreement to the client? 
 
Reputation in the industry and community 

Make some calls to determine the company's relationship with the local law enforcement. Inquire about state licenses, complaints and violations. Ask for proof of a working relationship with various minority subcontractors to be used when required by bid specs. 
 
An effective operations and support team

office
Look for a company that supports its
security personnel with a 24-hour
communications centre
Look for a company that supports its security personnel with a 24-hour communications centre. Consider how the company handles transitions – is there a formal transition plan? Consider the local office management and staff, including their professional backgrounds, job duties and length of employment. Does the company provide an ample supply of uniforms, weapons and other equipment? What resilience plans does the security provider have in place to handle emergencies and national disasters? 
 
Professionalism exhibited by the supplier's security officers

Visit the client sites to determine professionalism of a company's security officers. Do the security personnel present a professional appearance and demeanour? Are duties being performed efficiently? Are work areas neat and orderly? Get the security provider to bring in five to 10 working security officers from various job sites to be interviewed and ask the company if they have the same high expectations and standards for its security personnel.
 
Dedication to career development and training

Look at what type of professional training facilities the company provides. Do employees have opportunities for advancement and if so, what types of training are available?  Do the training courses qualify for continuing education units (CEUs)? Does the company have affiliations with colleges or universities for security officers to pursue a college degree and/or professional accreditations? Does the company support certifications for Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Physical Security Professional (PSP)? 
 
Emphasis on client feedback and customer service

network-advancement
Do employees have opportunities for
advancement and if so, what types of
training are available?
How does the company receive feedback on how it is performing? For example, are there customer satisfaction surveys? If dissatisfaction is expressed, what actions are taken? Ask to see letters of recommendation from clients and the public. Consider past client cancellations – ask for specific reasons and then judge the authenticity of the answers. 
 
Availability of value-added options beyond basic security guard services

Consider what additional services you might need. Do the security officers have basic CPR and first aid training? What services does the company offer beyond “basic guard service?” 
 
Hiring practices and human resources expertise

What are the recruitment practices – does the company recruit consistently from the military? What is the supplier's background investigation process? Consider how the supplier ensures accurate payment of wages. Consider vacation and healthcare benefits and other employee programs. 
 
Certifications and memberships

The true measure of any
security program's
effectiveness ultimately
begins with recruiting
the best people and
equipping them with the
best training

Are any of the company's operations ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certified? Has the company ever been certified regarding safety requirements by a client? How involved is the company in supporting national, state and local industry associations through active membership and sponsorship opportunities?

The true measure of any security program’s effectiveness ultimately begins with recruiting the best people and equipping them with the best training. Skills can be utilized by providing a fulfilling professional development path. To carefully evaluate security guard companies, be sure to compare them all using this simple checklist. Score the companies based on the strengths outlined above to truly evaluate the quality of the security guards and integrity of the company that you will be entrusting your security to so as to ensure you get the best value.

 Drew Levine – President of G4S Secure Solutions USA Drew Levine
President
G4S Secure Solutions USA
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