So just how do you choose between the nearly 2000 Security Companies based in the Greater Sydney region? Sure, you could “Google It” and go with the first Security Company that Google chooses for you, or you could pick the first major company on the list whose name you recognise. You probably shouldn’t, and here’s why.
Every Security Company, big or small, will promise to offer you the best service you’ll ever receive, and of course people will want the cheapest service they can get, but going down this road you may find yourself sacrificing quality for cost, so it always pays to look for the best value for money. But how can you filter out the cowboys from the legitimate Security Companies. Luckily there are questions you can ask when you make that initial contact to determine if they are the right Security Company for you or not.
Every Private Security Company in Australia will be registered under the Australian Private Security Act. The Private Security Companies should be registered with the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) and have an Australian Company Number (ACN). To check if the Security Company is registered with the ASIC and to find their ACN you can check the ASIC website here.
You can check to see if any Private Security Company holds a valid Security License. To verify that it is current you can visit the Service NSW website here and input the company name. If they are registered you will be provided with the Security Company Master License Number and the expiry date. It will also advise you of their license class (how many guards they are legally able to provide).
If one or neither of the above websites produce any results, it’s probably best to steer clear of that particular company!
Any reputable Security Company will have Public Liability Insurance. However, the degree of insurance will vary from one company to the next so it’s definitely worth checking with them what they are covered for. They should ideally have coverage of at least $5m. Security Companies should also have Workers Compensation Insurance to protect them should something happen to one of their Security Guards in the line of duty.
- Background Checks
You wouldn’t want just anybody looking after the things that are important to you, so you need to know, firstly, if the Security Company conducts Police Clearance Checks on their Security Guards, and secondly, if the Security Guards assigned to protect you and your interests have passed their checks. It sounds like a simple enough question, but seldom asked. If the Security Company uses sub-contractors to find Security Guards to carry out the work (most do), ask them how they verify that checks have been carried out on the Security Guards they provide. They should also be checking with the Security Guards previous employers/contractors to see if any complaints have ever been made against them.
It’s also advisable to ask about the background of the company owner for smaller Security Companies. Ideally they should also have a background in the Security industry. I would be skeptical about using a Security Company where the Owner/Director has just jumped on the Security industry bandwagon because it’s a very financially sound industry. There are more registered Private Security Guards in Australia than there are Police Officers.
Good Security Companies will train their Security Guards in house using the best training techniques available. As time goes on and new laws are introduced and old ones updated, Security Companies should be giving training and regularly reviewing Security Guards knowledge and capabilities
All Security Guards should also be trained in First Aid and hold a valid certificate. They should also have a valid Responsible Sales of Alcohol (RSA) Certificate and also Responsible Conduct of Gaming (RCG) certificate, especially if the venue sells alcohol. The best Security Companies will hold a HR database of all the Security Guards who work for them that alerts them before any of the above certificates expire so that they can arrange for the necessary action to be taken to validate them again.
It stands to reason that the longer a Security Company has been established, the more experienced and professional they will be. But it’s also not unreasonable to think that a relatively new Security Company of 2-3 years could provide better Security Services. They are small fish in a big pond and will more often than not, go out of their way to provide you with a good experience, whereas older, more established Security Companies may be stuck in their ways with regards to how they go about things and may not be as flexible in what they can provide you. To them, you may just be another number; to a smaller Security Company you are likely to be a high priority. And who knows, they might just have the most experienced Security Guards on their books. Plus, everyone knows that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are the backbones of economies across the world.
The main reason you hire Security Guards is so that the people and the things you hold dear are kept safe. You really should be asking Security Companies how proficient their Security Guards are in spoken and written English, so that there are no miscommunications with regards to your requirements and what Security Services they will provide for you. A lot of Security Guards may not necessarily have English as their first language so the Security Company should be making a point that all radio and face to face communication during a job is made in English, regardless of if they all speak the same foreign language
- Proactive Approach
The Security Company should be more than happy to come and view the venue/property that needs securing. This means that they have properly assessed the area and can advise what they believe will be best based on legal requirements and their professional opinion and experience.
A reputable Security Company will provide their Security Guards with branded shirts and hi-visibility vests as this creates not only a good impression of the company, but of the venue as well. It promotes professionalism and good teamwork.
Is the Security Company a member of any Trade Associations? There are many to choose from, the Australian Security Industry Association Ltd (ASIAL), National Security Association of Australia (NSAA) and Security Providers Association of Australia Ltd (SPAAL). If they are members of any of these, or other associations, there will be high standards that they will have to meet become members.
- Media Coverage/Testimonials
Google the Security Company in question and check their website. You can usually tell a lot about a company from how well their website is set up and laid out. There are likely to be testimonials from previous customers on the website, but of course they will only choose the best ones from the feedback they have been given previously. It may also be worth checking to see if they have had any media exposure in recent times and if they have, you can usually make a simple yes or no choice based on the article.
- Company Profile
Any good Security Company will also have all of the above information available in a Company Profile pack, along with information on the specific Security Services they provide, and they will be able to send it to you via email on request. Saves time on the phone and you can view the information in your own time.