Managing contract security services for your locations isn’t always easy, especially if the provider’s service doesn’t meet your standards. When the wrong provider is chosen, there comes a point where a lack of safety and professionalism within your security team negatively impacts both your operations and employees. Then, when you factor in all the steps and issues that arise from transitioning security providers, it can be that much more of a challenge. Here are a few tips to avoid some common mistakes when the time comes to transition to a new security provider.
The Top Five Tips:
Don’t rush to pick a provider
Build a checklist of what matters most
Check the termination clauses
Stick with your budget
Prioritize overall security program health
Don’t Rush to Pick a Provider
Of course, there’s opposing pressure when selecting and onboarding a security provider. On one side, you need coverage quickly and, on the other, you need quality security that meets your organization’s standards. It’s possible to get lucky with the first provider you find being the perfect fit but, more often than not, a commitment made too quickly can end up sending you back to the beginning of this process.
Deciding to transition to a new provider still leaves plenty of unknowns. The process not only starts over but transitioning the old provider out at the same time adds further complication. Do the new contracts differ from the outgoing provider? Do you have to clear the contracts with legal representation? How long will this process take, and do you have that time to spare? The even bigger question is how much of your program will be affected. If the outgoing provider services multiple sites, some – or even all – of your program can be at risk through a delicate transition.
Build a Checklist of What Matters Most
Does your company have standards to meet when looking for third-party service providers? It’s best to put together third-party provider guidelines with input from all necessary departments within your organization. If you do not already have these processes ironed out, any quick overhaul of your security company (or other third-party provider) can cause budgetary and legal nightmares that you and your company do not want to be liable for.
Then, building a checklist of what matters the most to your security program can help guide the conversation with potential providers. Finding a reputable provider is extremely important and, unfortunately, you can’t always trust your initial meeting with a security representative. Giving the proper time and attention to all the important items – licensing, insurance, the experience of your potential providers, etc. – can be a major undertaking. Even beyond those basics, the list could also include factors like post fulfillment, handling of open posts and ability to provide coverage in the areas you need.
Here are some more specific questions that can help get your checklist started:
Do they have clients within your industry? Or at least with similar needs?
What are their customer satisfaction rates?
Are they in the middle of a merger or being acquired by a larger company?
Are they able to fully staff posts at all of your locations?
Check the Termination Clauses
When experiencing ongoing service problems and sourcing a new provider is identified as the best option, many organizations find that existing contracts significantly slow down the transition. When taking a closer look at contracts that may have been signed too quickly, it can come as a surprise that they require a 30-day notice period (or longer!) to fully remove services. That is 30+ more days of having to pay for inadequate service.
You do not want to put your team in a position where your old provider makes a bad situation worse, leaving your site with spotty or no coverage once they learn your team would like to move forward with terminating the agreement. For example, a national retail pharmacy was ready to begin transitioning its distribution centers from another provider to 360 Protective Solutions. Unfortunately, all eight of these locations required a 30-day notice period prior to the cancellation being official. The client then had to continue operations at the distribution centers for another 30 days with only 50% of its posts being staffed since the outgoing provider was either unable or unwilling to fully staff these locations.
Stick With Your Budget
On top of requirements set by the state or localities, and in addition to your company’s insurance standards for vendors, you cannot forget to consider your budget. You could find the most professional and well-prepared security company that you’re confident will do the best job. However, when you receive their proposal, sticker shock sets in. In fine print, you find they hold you accountable to pay their overtime, paid time off, and their rates are beyond what your budget can afford. Unfortunately, this is the situation many face during security transitions and with less time to decide and less leverage, your choices are limited.
Before halting your search, make sure to ask for service terms and conditions as well as details like how long the proposed pricing is valid. It’s also important to identify any variables, such as how rate increases are communicated and approved.
Prioritize Overall Security Program Health
Between a whirlwind of contractual obligations, negotiations, licensing, insurance, and budget requirements, transitioning your security program to a new provider can seem like the last thing you want to address. However, it is crucial you and your team are adequately supported in any contract. If a time comes to move on, you’ll want to be able to do so with confidence that you’ll be covered.
It is possible that a provider may reduce your coverage once you give notice that you are terminating the agreement. Not only that, but the new provider may also not be prepared or able to start as promised, leaving your team completely unsecured. Even if the new security guarding provider does begin service on time, they may still fail to perform to your standards, and you are yet again in the position to need a new security company quickly. Protecting your overall security program health by creating failsafe partnerships will be the best plan of action against plummeting into service issues and having to dredge through them.
Although following this tip is easier said than done, the true strength of a security program’s transition is when you couple everything together. You should be able to trust that your security provider is first and foremost a partner to your organization, putting the safety and security of your people and locations in the forefront. Taking the time to choose the right long-term partner and regularly reevaluating priorities can make all the difference for the overall health of your program.
The responsibility of security, safety and risk mitigation can’t be taken lightly. If you handle this within your organization, it is important to consider these tips when selecting and moving forward with a new security company. While this awareness can’t guarantee finding the perfect provider for your needs, it will help you to be aware of what to look for so you can make the most informed decision possible for your organization.