When you leave your property every night, you know it’s in safe hands with your private security company. Right?
How do you know that they are doing a good job? How do you make sure they are meeting your property’s security needs? Have they evolved or put in place new practices to keep up with your needs?
It can be dizzying thinking about how to make sure you’re getting the maximum ROI with your security services. To help you evaluate your current security company, here are four questions you can ask to ensure your expectations and needs are being met or to figure out if it’s time to find a new security partner.
Do they do what they promise??
First and foremost: Is your security company even showing up to do the job you paid them for? It sounds like a no-brainer but, unfortunately, security companies with follow-through are rarer than you might think.
Thirteen years ago, Reed Nyffeler, CEO of Signal , flew to Arizona to help launch his very first franchise. While there, he visited an apartment manager who informed him that she already worked with a private security company. Nyffeler asked if he could stick around to see how the rival security company did business, and she agreed.
Patrols were scheduled for 9 p.m., 11 p.m., 1 a.m., and 3 a.m., so he and the Arizona franchisee waited until 11:15. With no sign of the patrol, they went to the front entrance and found that the security officer had dropped by unnoticed, leaving behind the reports for the whole night’s work...including the patrols yet to occur! Each report was time stamped (even for the future) and read: “Nothing to report.”
Needless to say, that security company got fired..
While this example might seem extreme, showing up and doing what is expected are both extremely important and say a lot about your security partner. Instead of just taking their word for it, stay behind one or two nights to greet the officers when they arrive on duty. Ask them to show you what they do while they are on your property, from patrolling the perimeter and checking doors to filing reports and responding to calls. If they only seem to be passingly familiar with your property, chances are they’re not doing an adequate job of protecting what is important to you.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if you are getting what you pay for. If not, what is your next course of action to ensure your ROI?
How does technology play a role in their reporting?
When Nyffeler asked to see a log of reports from the rival security company, the property manager gave him a binder full of paper reports. Going back 3-4 months, Nyffeler said, they all read the same thing: “Nothing to report.”
“There’s always something to report,” he explains. “Whether it’s an overflowing trash can or cars parked illegally. Also, every report was exactly on the hour, and people just don’t come exactly on the hour.”
Online reporting and technology are the best tools to ensure your reports are the real deal. Security software, like Signal Security’s Signal Edge, allows officers to file reports in real time with a timestamp and GPS visible to you, the client. Patrol officers may even include photographs with their report, if necessary, and all reports are available to you at any time. Can’t sleep at 3 in the morning? Log in and check up on your officer to see what’s been going on. You don’t have to wait until morning to find a report slid under the door of your office (and with technology, there shouldn’t be any paper reports anyway).
Software can also track incidents, compiling them into graphs and charts over time to help you spot trends and trouble areas on your property. Your security company can help you understand the trends and offer recommendations to stop them from happening.
If you’re concerned about security slacking off, technology will help verify the issue and diagnose the problem. And if you’re happy with your security, tech can bring your investment to the next level. It’s 2020, and you have a computer in your pocket at all times. Don’t settle for paper reports.
Does your security have a visible presence on your property?
Homeowners and businesses have long had visible signs of security on their property, such as “Beware of Dog” signs or a front window sticker advertising the name of their security camera company. But how much of a deterrent are those signs without actions?
Visibility is one of the key tenets of security. Most criminals will think twice about pursuing mischief if there is a visible police or security presence, as opposed to just a sticker in a window that says you have an alarm system.
Security companies that offer randomized mobile patrols provide the best visibility deterring criminals and reassuring people on your property after hours, like apartment residents or employees that work the late shift. Patrol vehicles should be unmistakable, clearly marked with reflectors and lights. With random patrol routes, mobile patrol officers demonstrate a strong visible deterrence on your property. Residents will feel more secure if they actually see security officers, instead of just being told they are there.
“It creates peace of mind on their property, more than just a sticker,” Nyffeler said.
After all, you are investing in the presence of security on your property— not just the idea of it.
Are you seeing results?
Your security company is present, visible, and has cutting-edge technology in place. Great! But here’s the bottom line: Are they producing results for you?
Sure, there will always be issues, but are they the same issues over and over again with no change? Let’s say you have a problem with residents sneaking into your apartment complex pool after hours. After several months, it’s still an issue. Has your security company done anything to address the problem, like check to make sure the pool gate is locked, find out what time the illicit swimmers are breaking in, or even suggest that you need to change the gate lock?
What’s the point of spending your precious budget dollars on a security company that isn’t making an impact? Incident reports let you know what’s going on, but without action, they’re worthless.
Finding the right security company for your property
Your property has unique needs when it comes to safety and security. Be sure to ask the right questions when evaluating your current security and when looking for a new security partner.
In the end, your security company should be delivering the promised services, providing an easy way for you to verify those services through technology-forward reporting, maintaining a consistent, highly visible presence, and producing the desired outcomes for your property.
Want a private security company with integrity that ticks all those boxes and offers local expertise? Schedule a free on-site security assessment with Signal 88.
“If the client truly wants someone who understands what they need on their property and the technology to verify it,” Nyffeler said, “we are the brand for them.”