As a business or property owner in the state of Maryland, you know that security is a real concern. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), property crimes, including burglary, larceny, and theft totaled more than 328,000 incidences, as reported statewide for the 2010 counting year. These crimes cost millions of dollars in repair and replacement costs, as well as higher insurance premiums and, in cases of severe damage, costly losses of inventory, sales or production.
When hit with this type of crime, property owners sometimes try to handle it themselves by beefing up lighting and fencing or installing cameras. When these methods fail, owners often turn to a professional Maryland security company in an effort to save their assets. If you are ready to get serious about protecting your property with a professional security service, but are unsure of how to choose the right one, here are seven critical questions you must ask before you hire.
Question One: Is Your Company Licensed and Insured in the State of Maryland?
Maryland security companies are required by law to be licensed by the Maryland State Police Licensing Division, so insist on seeing proof of this, as well as information about their insurance coverage. Security companies in Maryland are only required to have $50,000 of general liability insurance. This amount will not be enough in the event a lawsuit is filed. Instead, choose a security company that has at least 1 million dollars of coverage per occurrence, with at least a 3 million dollar aggregate and a minimum of 1 million dollars coverage in the form of an umbrella.
Question Two: What Type of Quality Assurance Procedures Are Utilized?
Providing quality assurance procedures is another way in which security companies in MD can offer better protection for the property owners who hire them. Two excellent methods of quality assurance are to have field supervisors conduct random site visits several times per week during the service period and to use electronic patrol tracking, such as GPS systems or RFID based tracking systems.
Question Three: How Will My Account Be Managed?
Any Maryland security company that you consider should provide direct account management so that your account is handled directly by someone over and above the field supervisor. There should be a person within the security company who is personally responsible for managing your relationship.
Question Four: How do you contact them if you need assistance after business hours?
Threats against your property are not only going to occur during regular business hours, so make sure that you choose a security company who offers a 24/7 live customer support number. Verify this information for every company you interview by calling their support telephone number late at night or on the weekend to see if someone does answer and you can quickly get the assistance you require.
Question Five: What Training Requirements Do You Utilize for Your Security Officers?
Even though minimum training requirements are not mandatory in Maryland, you should always choose a security company that requires their officers to undergo basic security officer training, as well as providing additional training to their guards, based on the unique needs of the sites they are securing.
Question Six: Can You Provide References & Testimonials From Current or Past Clients?
Asking for references and testimonials is a great way to get opinions directly from a fellow property owner about essential aspects of the services provided by each security service. Ask for references and then visit the company’s web site. View testimonials from current or past clients.
Question Seven: What Type of Management Practices Does Your Security Service Utilize?
One of the most important questions to ask when interviewing security companies in MD is how they are managed. Many large security companies manage their business remotely from their company’s home base, often in another state. Since the area where your business or property is located has unique issues and needs, long distance management often fails to provide security services that are the best match for your specific area. Instead, opt for a security company that offers direct local supervision.
As you ask these questions and listen for the answers, pay particular attention to any areas where the company you are interviewing seems weak or reluctant to give a complete answer. Continue to probe these areas until you are satisfied with the answer. Of course, we recommend this company but I guess we are a little biased.