High levels of crime, violence, anti-social behavior, Active Shooter and Terrorism incidents have continued to trouble the US and Colorado companies have had little choice but to turn to Security Guard Companies to protect their people and property.

Security Guards typically outnumber Law Enforcement, the national average is 1-4, and in many instances, they are expected to react or respond in a similar manner to law enforcement. A troubling statistic is that Security Guards often do find themselves in the position of the first responder, on the front lines expected to effectively deal with emergencies and crisis even when the sad fact remains that they are in many circumstances untrained, unprepared, undervalued and underpaid.

The common misconception is that Security Guards in Colorado are highly trained and motivated professionals who are able and willing to deal with any and all situations. Sadly, many find it impossible to work effectively even in the most benign of conditions because of the nonexistence of management, training, guidance and detailed operating procedures (SOPs). Simply they are not given the tools needed to be a success. Security Guards are often instructed by their employers to turn a blind eye to emergency and crisis due to the risk of liability. The Security Guard Industry in Colorado has been plagued for decades by these truths, ultimately impacting the industries credibility affecting adversely the views of the purchaser and end-user.

1. High Competition and Undercutting Costs – is the cheapest option the best?

There is tremendous competition for Security Providers to win Security Guard contracts which results in bidding wars. This sounds like a win-win for the end-user, more competition better price, right?

This unfortunately couldn’t be further from the case, having this belief is what exacerbates the issue. This practice, often encouraged and aggravated by these cumbersome and often inattentive International and National branded security providers, simply results in them undercutting each other. This leads to the lowering of the Security Guard wages as the company overheads built into their pricing models stay consistently high and must be covered first. They even go as far to justify the practice by exclaiming their own staff are “Unskilled Labor” and therefore qualify only for minimum wage standards. As a result of this constant nickel and diming, these security providers find it virtually impossible to attract higher value applicants and you as the end user will be provided with a woefully substandard Security Guard service.

Everything in business is budget driven and often purchasers opt for the cheapest Security Guard Company bid not realizing that it is detrimental to their safety and could result in higher costs further down the line.

The process of prematurely terminating security guard contracts and replacing security providers mid-contract is at high levels in Colorado. This is obviously due to poor service and unsatisfactory experiences where the end-user’s expectation has not been met and more often than not ignored. The urban quote “Buy cheap, buy twice” really does apply here.

2. Limited Regulation – who is licensed and who isn’t?

First, there are only three municipalities in Colorado (Denver, Colorado Springs and Glenwood) that require Security Guard Companies to license their Security Guards.

Secondly, all three cities vary enormously in what the criteria is to fulfil the requirements of licensing. None of these cities provide content for what should be taught during training, large, medium and small Security Providers throughout Colorado take full advantage and often exploit the lack of regulation.

Why would any Security Provider spend money and invest in training and licensing when there is no state or local government requirement right? The security industry in Colorado is littered with unlicensed and untrained Security Guards running around with impunity even holding positions within contracts where there is a firearm requirement.

Purchasers need to be aware of their own geographical location. If there is no licensing, there is no training and no background check requirement, frightening right? This allows Security Guard Companies to manipulate this to their full advantage.

3. Lack of Training – Initial, On the Job and Continuation Training?

As mentioned previously, the lack of Regulation impacts Security Guard Training. All but three municipalities in Colorado require no training. Even when a Training requirement exists, the training is inconsistent and or very vague in what type of training should be provided.

The average Security Guard in Colorado receives negligible training, in reality about 4 – 6 hours, sadly and more often than not it is even less (even when the municipality’s basic requirement is often higher).

A great deal of the training is conducted through online portals or via video presentations with no instructor lead training principle or testing. Watching a video obviously saves time and money, right? What you need to understand is this is a skill set that is better suited for in-person and hands-on training, it has to be evaluated during each and every module ensuring the student is learning the relevant skills to be a success.

Key subjects such as Conflict Resolution and De-Escalation Training, Laws and Regulations, Active Shooter and Counter Terrorism training are completely overlooked leaving the Security Guard feeling unsure how they need to handle any situation, in particular physical confrontations aimed not only towards them but to the people they are hired to protect.

Current standards would suggest that continuation training is non-existent and often Security Guards do not receive any type of On the Job Training where they should be apprised of a location’s layout or a building characteristic. Written Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) do not exist, these invaluable documents should be developed in collaboration with the Client and developed by the Security Provider. These SOP’s guide the security guard in their day to day duties but also provide a clear and concise set of instructions for the client helping to manage your expectations.

4. Low Pay – High Turn-over

Due to this constant undercutting of prices to win Security Guard contracts Security Guard Companies compensate by continuously lowering wages.

Most, if not all clients expect a level of service where the Security Guard is expected to be able to deal effectively with all safety and security situations to include emergencies and crises. Combined with low pay rates (minimum wage in many cases) and negligible training the average Security Guard does not possess the capacity, drive or determination to deal with even the most banal of tasks. Due to the lack of effective management on the part of other Security Companies this also leads to an extreme high turn-over rate again leading to a low Security Guard service level.

5. Over Promise and Under Deliver – Salesperson or Subject Matter Expert?

Often when a Security Guard contract is up for bid Security Guard Companies will dispatch a salesperson who only has the slightest knowledge about Security Guards and what your needs are.

They may promise you top class trained Security Guards however in reality you will only get what everybody else gets: undertrained and underpaid Security Guards.

6. Client Service – are you just a number?

Many Clients feel neglected and are dismayed by the lack of Client Service provided by their Security Guard Company. They have the impression that they are only a “small fish in a large pond” and nothing more than a number on an excel spreadsheet. Often a far cry from what was promised by the Security Guard Company sales team.

The level of service often depends on the overall contract price, the International and National companies it would seem after countless interviews with disgruntled Clients, offer better aftercare to the more lucrative contracts, those contracts that allow them to maintain a foothold in any geographical area.

All of this poses the question: are you really safe or do you just think you are?

If you like a review of your security guard services and would like to schedule a consultation with our team at Mercurial Security Solutions, please call (719) 244-8776 or email us at info@mercurialsec.com