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article / April 21, 2023

How to evaluate private security companies before choosing a partner

Learn which qualities top private security companies have in common and how to find the best fit for your business

No matter what industry you work in, employee safety should always be top of mind. A third of small businesses in the US experience workplace violence, and a staggering 20,050 workers in the private sector were injured after violent incidents at work in 2020. Aside from the human and reputational costs of workplace violence, businesses can also be affected financially by inventory loss via theft or internal fraud if their security systems are lacking. 

The silver lining is that there are a number of well-trained professionals that can aid your company in loss and violence prevention. These private security companies can aid businesses across industries, placing much of the responsibility for your location’s physical security into their capable hands. The challenge is knowing how to evaluate potential security partners and finding the one that best suits your business. 

This guide covers what features to look for in top private security companies so you can make an informed choice.

Best practices for researching private security companies 

As you get your search for a security partner underway, it’s important to be fully prepared. These tips will help you stay organized and keep your company’s needs top-of-mind:

  • Make a wish list: Get clarity on the kind of services you’ll need (an armed vs. unarmed guard, remote monitoring, emergency response), how much personnel and equipment you’ll require and your budget. You’ll also want to make a list of priorities for your business – maybe you’d prefer to work with a local service or strong customer support is really important to you. Make sure to check every candidate against the priorities on your list when you begin your search.

  • Get to know qualifications for security guards: If you’re looking for an armed guard, find out the certifications they’ll need to carry in your state and screen out private security companies that don’t meet those requirements. Likewise, if you need to hire a security service for a logistically complex event or a particularly difficult situation, look into finding a private security company that hires individuals with a Special Forces or Secret Service background.

  • Read ratings and testimonials from people in your industry: If you’re a hospital administrator, reading reviews about private security companies from other hospital administrators is going to be much more helpful than wading through hundreds of reviews from people in retail or office park managers. Find reviews from people who understand your pain points and give the most weight to those.

  • Ask your network for recommendations: See which private security companies other people in your business park, area or industry tend to favor and ask trusted colleagues about their experiences. Chances are they will have some great pointers to help you with your search and may even suggest under-the-radar companies you would not have discovered on your own. 

What top private security companies have in common

Private security companies vary in their scope of work and specializations, but the best in the business will have these characteristics in common.

Rave reviews

As mentioned in the previous section, recommendations from peers can go a long way toward helping you narrow down your choices. You may also want to check the company’s profile with  the Better Business Bureau and look at reviews on Yelp, Trustpilot or Google. Pay special attention to what others have to say about a company’s responsiveness, whether or not it was easy to get a quote and how their security guards conduct themselves in the field.

A clear list of services

You should be able to tell if the company’s services are a good fit after a brief glance at its homepage. If you can’t figure out what kinds of services a company provides, chances are they are not organized enough to provide efficient private security. You should also be able to tell what kinds of employees they hire and which vertical or industry they cater to most (such as retail, healthcare, logistics or event venues). 

Reliable customer service

Private security companies may not have a large customer support department, but they should communicate with you promptly, whether through your security officer directly or via a supervisor. Being stuck waiting on hold because you can’t track down your security personnel is a headache every business can do without. 

Certified, highly trained employees

As you’re screening private security companies, don’t forget to check the Careers page on their website. See what kinds of qualifications they require from their employees and their general demeanor toward job candidates (for example, do they offer additional training or provide employees with other career development opportunities?). It’s also helpful to learn more about the company’s owners and their backgrounds to see what caliber of security officers you can expect.

Good team culture

Security officers who are motivated to do their job well are likely to show up on time and perform better in the field than someone who is just passing through. Check or Glassdoor to see what current and former employees have to say about the company and what their experience was like. You likely won’t want to work with a private security company that has a lot of disgruntled security officers and supervisors because that may have a negative impact on the services you receive. Online communities, like Facebook groups or Reddit channels for security professionals, may also be a good place to learn about the inner workings of a specific company.

Modern tools

Up-to-date security technology, like high-definition body-worn cameras and other de-escalation tools, help security officers do their job more efficiently. It’s also helpful to find private security companies that utilize an incident management platform so they can keep track of evidence – including security camera footage – and facilitate communication with law enforcement if an incident does occur. 

Axon helps private security teams work more efficiently

Top private security companies consider modern tools a worthwhile investment, so look for partners with a suite of solutions ready to deploy. Axon strives to be that partner by providing de-escalation, remote monitoring and data management technology to private security companies so they can focus on keeping businesses and workplaces safe. To learn more about Axon products, reach out to our team

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