We all know the security guard stereotype. The business is closed for the night and the only person there is the security guard making his or her rounds. Most people reading this are picturing an older man that can barely get around, with a flashlight, and a huge key ring. And, you probably are picturing him dozing off instead of being alert. This visual is what comes to mind for most people when they think of a security guard. The retiree making minimum wage to not get caught sleeping. That may have been the case in years past and there may still be a few of them still floating around, but the world has changed, and the security industry has changed with it.
Yes, there is still a need for the retiree that just wants to make a little extra money and get out of the house. However, the predominant need in the marketplace is for friendly, customer service oriented people, that can navigate technology, have pride in performance, can be trained to detect and prevent emergencies when possible, and respond to emergencies if necessary. This person is not a minimum wage employee. I’m not saying they are tech gurus or C-Suite executives. However, in today’s market, fast food workers and housecleaners make the same (and in some cases more) than trained, licensed, professional security officers. Some of you may are saying, “Well, the security companies should pay them more. Aren’t they charging $20.00 per hour for the guard?” I can assure you, if a company (a good reputable company) is charging $20.00 per hour for a guard on a long-term contract, they are paying close to double minimum wage. The average markup in the industry ranges from 48%- 65%. The range in markup is due to many factors, including: length of contract signed, number of billable hours, company overhead requirements, client specific requirements, and much more.
The crux of the problem is businesses have not taken the time to meet with a professional security provider and get an accurate assessment of their needs and what they SHOULD budget for their security needs and to determine their true needs regarding security personnel and technology. The fact is that with modern technology, a physical guard on site may not be the most efficient solution. Bottom line, if you feel you are paying too much for your security solution, talk to your provider. Find out what all they are doing for you and why. And, if you have a courteous, capable person on site managing your security – make sure they are getting paid for the good work they do.