Contracting for security officers
One of the biggest problems that companies, of all sizes, face when contracting for security officers at their facility, or a remote one, is the contract. What needs to be added and what is the client responsible for. Or not responsible for, which to many instances is not enough.
I hope that this post will help those of you who are on one side or the other to determine which points should be addressed and included in the contract. This is mainly because you can’t just say “There is the spot. Now go guard it!” You, contractor & client, have to be far more involved.
Being involved with and having been on both sides of this for more than 20 years I think I have some insights on the issue. And yes, I’m kinda biased when it comes to security officers, which is one reason I was so good at it and I had the loyalty of my officers, even when being in management and having to discipline them.
The hours they’ll work. This has to be fairly set despite the fact the company should be flexible enough to accommodate hours that change, even on a frequent basis, just give the contractor enough notice. While working for Allied (now Allied-Barton) we had a major account that required us to fill any post, anywhere, & any number of officers (up to 10 by the next morning), with qualified officers within 2 hours of the contact calling us. When they did this, which was at least twice a month, it through the entire office into a frenzied chaos and meant the office staff had to stand post instead of regular duties, including the Branch Manager.
Uniforms. Yes as the client you are tasked in what they wear. Do you want them in a military style uniform or soft corporate look? Possibly you want them in coveralls for a dirty post. The type of uniform they wear will determine how much they are respected by employees, and others, and how they carry out their duties & responsibilities. And the client should help cover the cleaning costs if it is a soft look.
Training. As with pay, the client is responsible for knowing how much training is required on the post itself and providing that training at a reasonable bill rate. If the job is complicated and the operations manual is long and involved, then several days of training may be necessary to get the officers adjusted to the post. Sometimes this may mean 40 hours or more.
Likewise, if the post only requires the most basic of patrols and reports, then maybe only 1 shift of training is necessary. Whatever the training time required, the client should be willing to pay for at least half, hopefully all, of it.
You also need to train and inform the officers on crisis procedures. It’s not enough anymore to just train them to observe and report. Your officers need to be more professional & know how to handle any incident that comes up with professionalism and not the mentality of observe & report.
Pay. You must make sure that the officers get paid at least as well as your contracted janitors. Ensure that the wages they are making reflect the duties they are expected to perform. If those duties require officers to make patrols, write reports, access control, monitor systems & alarms, providing excellent customer service & professionalism then doubling the pay rate is an absolute requirement.
Post orders and who is responsible for writing & maintaining them? From the initial set when the post is started to additions, the innumerable changes (in the first few months), or other revisions. The client needs to be responsible for writing the first set of them. Why? Who knows the facility better than the client? The contractor should obviously review them for operational efficiency but…
For years, clients have played contractors off one another for a better bill rate. And usually this results in someone responsible for the safety & security of your employees, facilities, research, computers, & etc. being paid much less than what the contracted janitorial staff did, which I was as an Account Manager, $3.00 less than the janitorial on-site supervisor. All of these will get you nothing but problems and turnover in the long run, which is not a good thing for the safety & security of employees & facilities.
Are these all the points you need to cover? Absolutely not. There are a myriad of items that need to be looked at in the contract. Without any explanations, here is a short list of those items
- After hours and on-site supervision & management
- Equipment, company or personal (including what is prohibited)
- Client contact during and after business hours, as well as vacations
- Emergency call lists
- Performance requirements for customer service
- Licensing and background checks, if not required by the state or municipality
- Officer ‘extras’ i.e. vacations, medical, time off, & etc.
- Any special requirements that may be needed
This is only a short list of what you need in the contract! Depending on your company and situation you may need a whole lot more. But it is up to the contractor & potential client to work together to ensure security, not just added to the bottom line of each company.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent nearly 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear