Essential Tips for Your Facility’s Next Security Guard Contract

There can be a substantial disconnect between what a security firm offers in terms of staffing a facility with its officers versus what the client actually wants. Some facility managers may have misguided expectations regarding what they can get for the fees they are willing to pay, while on the flip side of the coin, some security firms over-promise and under-deliver when it comes to the actual skill set of their personnel.

Visitors in a busy office

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The most popular adage in the security guard business—across both sides of the table with clients and providers—is: “You get what you pay for.” Clients only willing to pay “keystone rates” (often double the current minimum wage) will get that level of maturity and/or experience in the guards that come on their property. Clients who understand that talent, experience, and job-specific skills don’t come cheap are willing to pay higher rates to get a better caliber of better-trained security officer.

When writing a proposal that turns into a services contract, security providers must be clear in what resources they will provide and what they will be able to do, for the fees rendered. Saying your security officers are all ex-cops, former U.S. Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, or Marine Recon commandos when it isn’t true is a way to create credibility problems at the start. Conversely, facility executives need to have realistic expectations when screening guard firms for what needs to be protected, by whom, how, and pay rates accordingly that will merge those needs, so that they can’t legitimately complain later that they aren’t getting what they’re paying for.

Both the client and the security officer providers can probably agree on some minimum standards that will satisfy both sides, including:

  • All guards will be background checked and drug screened before their installation at the client site.
  • Valid guard cards for all officers (in states that require them).
  • Basic security officer training—even in states that don’t require it—for all guards in powers of arrest, report writing, and patrol practices.
  • Valid cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) cards for all security officers. Automated external defibrillator (AED) training would be a nice additional bonus.
  • Guards who carry handcuffs, batons, OC pepper spray, or Tasers will have valid proof of certified training in their use.
  • All guards must be able to speak, read, and write English at a passable level. (Guards may need to be bilingual at certain sites depending upon the diversity of the employees, clients, or customers they interact with.)
  • All guards will know how to write Security Incident Reports and keep accurate daily activity logs.
  • All guards will be trained when and how to call 911, use any site radios or company radios that are monitored by a dispatcher, and know how to communicate professionally with them.
  • All guards will wear full uniforms, with no additions like hats, beanies, or jackets that are not approved by the security company.
  • All guards will be trained in how to make citizen’s arrests if necessary, following the rules of their state.
  • All guards will follow the posted orders for their sites.