Choosing Security Guard Companies
How to Choose Good Security Guard Companies
Thinking of hiring a security company for guards or patrols? Read this no-fluff article to discover what you need to know before choosing from security guard companies in your area.
Where to Start
When seeking a security services company, the very first thing you need to do is to determine specifically what you need, and do not need. In particular, if you find security companies that say they are “the best”, what exactly does that mean? Keep in mind that words like “best, top, greatest, etc.” are irrelevant if what they believe make their company so fantastic are irrelevant to your needs.
For example, if you need to hire security guards for your local business, does it really matter that a potential security company has offices around the country, or has an employee that once worked for some federal agency?
Match Your Security Needs with Their Experience
Part of what makes any security officer stand out is their ability to identify potential risks, problems, and questionable situations. The world’s top body guards may not be nearly as valuable for protecting construction sites, warehouses, or manufacturing facilities. Eash type of security job has its own set of unique challenges . . . requirements of a security team.
For whatever needs you have, educate yourself on how to choose a good security guard company before you spend your hard-earned money on, and risk issues with, a sub-standard security operation.
Security Guard Company Training and Licensing
Every state will have laws and regulations for security guards. This is especially true for armed guards. Because armed guards are involved in situations where things can quickly escalate, many security companies hire former police officers. As security personnel their demeanor and training to handle difficult situations makes them highly qualified.
In Georgia, therequirements for armed and unarmed guards is substantially different. Per the website SecurityGuardLicense.org, “Georgia security guards are under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Board of Private Detectives and Security Agencies. Armed security guards must register with the state. They will undergo thorough background checks. Unarmed guards do not have to register, but must meet training requirements set by the state. Professionals who operate security agencies must also meet requirements set by the state.” 1Ask your potential security guard company if they can show the license numbers of all security guards who may work on your property or protect you off-site. While this may not be necessary for the routine security patrol, for high-end work you may want to verify all license information provided.
Ask About Security Guard Training
According to ASIS International, a nationwide security professional organization, security guards should meet minimum criteria to be considered for employment. First, ASIS recommends that the guards receive basic 8-16 hours of on-the-job training. It is highly desireable to also have training in first aid, crisis deterrent, protection and public relations skills. Additionally, the organization recommends that the guards receive specialized training for each individualized assignment.
Uniformed Guards and Plain Clothes Guards
Ask potential companies if they provide both plain clothes and uniformed guards. Do not assume that every security company furnishes both. Some companies only employ one type of guard that might not match your current (or future) security needs.
Which Type of Guard is Better?
Uniformed guards have a clear and distinct physical presence. This means that many troublemakers will find another place to act-out. Sometimes it let’s troublemakers know that they need to be smarter about their ill activities. Uniformes guards also make it easy for employees and customers to know who to speak to about any security concerns.
Plainclothes security guards are ideal for keeping a low profile, non-intimidating presence. One form often wears a navy blazer, perhaps with a security company patch, which is preferred in most office buildings, fine hotels, restaurants, and clubs. For many events, stores, and venues the security personnel may wear street clothes to blend in to the crowd.
In some situations, it makes sense to have uniformed and plainclothes officers. This is especially true when you want to have a robust number of officers but minimize the appearance of extreme security concerns. The uniformed officers can do the majority of the work, and the plainsclothes officers work are around as eyes-and-ears, and can take action if anything extreme breaks out.
The website for Absolute Investigative Fingerprinting and Security Services offers the following, “BENEFITS OF UNIFORMED SECURITY GUARDS: recognizable in an emergency situation, peace of mind for employees and customers, reflects professionalism of the business and the security company, a deterrence to crimes …BENEFITS OF PLAINCLOTHES SECURITY GUARDS: blends in, can be less intimidating to customers, allows a higher likelihood of catching would-be criminals.”2
Armed and Unarmed Guards
Unarmed security guards do not carry firearms, however; they may carry self-defense equipment such as pepper spray, and/or be skilled in martial arts. Unarmed security guards do carry firearms, and ususally most other types of self-defense equipment carried by police officers. Either of these types of officers may be uniformed or plainclothes, and are required to pass specific levels of training to be licensed security personnel.
Which Should You Hire? The security professionals at OPS Security Group in Philadelphia offer this insight, “Unarmed guards are generally hired for jobs where an actual threat is relatively low, such as video surveillance positions, retail establishment monitoring positions, and jobs in school settings. Armed guards are hired for businesses with a greater risk for crime, such as banks, large hospitals, technical firms, or courthouses.”3
Specialty Types of Security Guards
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, you need to hire security guards who have the most relevant type of experience for your situation.
Although the types of security guards is seemingly unlimited, we found a website that lists 12 Types of Security Guards. Per the website TheColdWire.com, “There are many different types of guards, and they serve different purposes. Some have special training which could appeal to your individual needs. Making sure you choose the right security guard for the job is an essential task. The first step in choosing the right guard is knowing the options you have.”4. The types of security guards they identified are as follows:
- Residential Security Guards
- Business Security Guards
- Personal Protection Guards
- Patrol Guards
- Stationary Guards
- Government Security Guards
- Proprietary Guards
- Uniformed Guards
- Plainclothes Guards
- Unarmed Guards
- Armed Guards
- Event Security Guards
Inquire About Lawsuits
It is your right as a potential client to ask any security guard company about past or pending lawsuits due to security guard misconduct. If the company representative hesitates to disclose lawsuit information, find another company who will be completely honest with you about its litigation history. Hiring a company with a less than stellar performance reputation could expose you or your company to an unnecessary risk of lawsuits.
Check Local Online Reviews
If you choose to look at online reviews, you should focus on client reviews and largely ignore the reviews of disgruntled ex-employees. However, do not dismiss a company because of one bad review. It’s a given that most security guard companies that have been in business for a long time might have a blemish or two on their record. If a security guard company has more positive client reviews than client negative reviews, give them a chance to explain their side of the story before you write them off. Keep in mind that no matter the type of business, there are alwyas some customers (clients) that you just cannot make happy.
If you need security guards, patrols, equipment, systems, or security consulting in Georgia reach out to the security professionals at Manning & Associates in Atlanta.
CREDITS and FOOTNOTES
- 1 Staff, “Security Guard Registration Requirements in Georgia”, November 25, 2020, Available from SecurityGuard-License.org
- 2 AIS, “YOUR CHOICE OF UNIFORMED OR PLAINCLOTHES SECURITY GUARDS”, March 5, 2019, Available from Absolute Investigative Service
- 3 Staff, “Unarmed vs Armed Security Guards: Which is Right for Your Business?”, December 6, 2017, Available from OPS Security Group
- 4 Janet jacobs, “12 Types Of Security Guards (And What They Do)”, October 3, 2020, Available from TheColdWire.com