THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS: Security fees are almost always determined by the hour. Big cities generally cost more for the service. Security guards in Los Angeles, for example, are more expensive than in Fresno. If you are trying to hire your own officers (“interns” as they are commonly known), a special license is required. It is easier, and generally more cost effective, to use security companies for security personnel.
Currently, most California security companies charge an average of $ 14.00 an hour for unarmed officers. (note: keep in mind that this $ 14.00 fee is what a security company will charge, not what the officer actually earns). More than $ 15.00 an hour should be considered quite high for a security guard fee, especially in this economy, unless there is unusual training and / or skills required for the job. Few security guard companies will offer $ 13.00 an hour for their unarmed guards.
Less than $ 12.00 an hour is very rare and suspicious, since operating expenses are almost always too high to allow such a low margin. Unarmed security guards for less than $ 13.00 an hour should have you ask the guard company how they can operate at such a low rate. What about the guards themselves? Well, unarmed security guards average only about $ 9.50 an hour for most California cities.
For armed security officers, security companies will charge, on average, $ 15.50 an hour. More than $ 17.00 an hour is expensive and less than $ 14.00 an hour is suspiciously low. The average armed security officer makes (himself) $ 12.00 an hour.
Use the rate information above to negotiate better deals on your security guard vendor contracts. Also consider:
TRAINING: The California Office of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) oversees all training standards for California security guards. They detail specific standards, which can be found on their website.
Officer training must be ongoing, but many security guard companies do not meet the training requirements as they are time-consuming and expensive. On-site training is perhaps most important, as each account has unique security needs. Make sure your security guard company shows you documentation of ongoing guard training.
Written tests performed by security guards must be completed. The test questions must pertain to both your specific account and the general rules and regulations, required by BSIS. Keep in mind that the more trained the security guards are, the better prepared they will be to protect your business.
THE SECURITY GUARD AFFECTION: Because many security officers are low-income individuals with limited education, unethical security guard companies can take advantage of them. The most common pay problems include reducing officers’ work hours and not paying overtime, which is a requirement of the Labor Board.
Additional mistreatment of security personnel includes harassment and security breaches. To minimize abuse by security guards, consider having an open door policy where officers can speak freely to you about their concerns.
POOR RECRUITMENT: Because it is expensive and time-consuming to hire security personnel, many security companies do not take the necessary steps to properly screen and interview. The customer invariably pays the price. Have your security company set out in your contract how they perform drug tests and background checks, and ask where and how they hire.
POOR SUPERVISION: It is also expensive to hire good supervisors and sometimes shortcuts are taken. Security personnel must be supervised. Without supervision, security personnel are more likely to make mistakes. Policies and procedures must be verified. Get to know your supervisors. If you are not part of the daily watch team, find out how often supervisors visit. Request monitoring reports. When errors occur, find out what corrective actions the supervisors took. The more involved you are, the safer you and your workplace will be.
NO GUARD CARDS: Security officers must have current BSIS Guard Cards when working. There are no exceptions. Any security personnel working without a valid guard card subjects the company to a costly fine. It is easy to check online to check the status of the security card. Just google and it will appear. It is perfectly appropriate for you to verify the guard cards of your security officer. Because guard card forgery occurs, ask your security guards for a second ID so you can cross-reference.
UNINSURED: The BSIS requires California armed security personnel to have a $ 500,000 general liability insurance policy. In addition, there should be a workers’ compensation policy for armed and unarmed officers. Ask your security provider to provide you with copies of your general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. To save money, some security companies do not carry full insurance or insure and then quickly cancel their policies after a new contract is signed. You can protect yourself and your business by requesting copies of the insurance certification from time to time, without prior notice. Also, make sure your guard contract has a severance clause.
LICENSE: All California security guard companies must also be licensed. You can check the status of the license by visiting the BSIS website.
DOCUMENTATION: All safety related issues must be documented. Reports are sometimes used in court cases and must be well written, complete and legible. Confirm you have incident reports, know where they are stored, ask to read them. If you work with a security company, it is your responsibility to ensure that all security guards write a competent report, but remember, the more involved you are, the more secure you will be.
THERE ARE MANY OPTIONS: There are over a thousand California security companies. The fierce competition to win your business allows you many options, so take your time and choose wisely.