Selecting a security team is often one of the most important decisions a business owner will make. Security services not only protect the bottom line but protect employees and patrons from potential threats. Business owners often choose between outsourcing their safety to a private security company or hiring an internal security team. The hospitality industry is a good example of how businesses handle this decision. Luxury hotels in major markets like Washington DC and Baltimore tend to have their own internal security team. However, most hotels in the suburbs tend to outsource their hotel security duties. Most security guard companies will insist that contracting with a private security firm is the only option. The truth is that each option has its pros and cons. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of both hiring and outsourcing can help decision makers choose the right option for their organization.
Hiring an Internal Security Team
Businesses who decide to hire an internal team find that they have increased autonomy in the selection process. They directly interview the candidate which provides the opportunity to spot personality differences before an agreement is made. However, hiring their security guards requires more effort. Business owners who choose to hire an internal security team have to follow a process which can be tedious and overwhelming:
- Creating and distributing advertisements
- Reviewing applications and narrowing down the applicant pool
- Interviewing qualified applicants
- Contacting references and performing background screen
- Composing an offer letter
- Orientating the new employee
- Tracking time and paying the employee
- Adjusting your liability and workers compensation insurance to have a policy that applies to security personnel. (may increase costs)
- Hiring additional staff to replace security team members should they call off, quit or are terminated.
Recruiting and screening employees and the cost of benefits and taxes beyond their wage can be expensive. As all business owners have experienced, if a guard hired by an organization isn’t working out, it can be difficult to terminate, and the process is often long and drawn out. Businesses who choose to hire a security guard will likely have to purchase additional liability insurance as most policies do not cover guards. Finally, in some states such as Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C., hiring a security guard is illegal. In these areas, only a licensed security agency can legally hire a licensed security guard.
Outsourcing to a Security Company
Like hiring a guard, outsourcing to a security company has both pros and cons. Some of the benefits organizations realize when they outsource for their security needs include:
- Reduced liability. Security companies provide liability insurance for their guards, so businesses do not have to, which is a benefit as most business policies do not cover security.
- More affordable. Businesses who choose to outsource do not have to cut checks, pay payroll taxes, or provide benefits or training for their security guards.
- More experienced guards. Because security companies specialize in only one area – security – they can train guards more effectively than most companies. Companies working with agency typically find that guards are experienced and well trained.
- Easy to replace underperforming guards. Companies who receive a guard they don’t like can just notify the business and have the guard replaced. There is no documentation of discipline and no severance pay.
The downside of outsourcing is that you have less control because the guards don’t work for you; they have the company makes policies and procedures to follow for their agency and staffing decisions. If you don’t choose your security company carefully, you may also have the potential of staffing problems. It’s important to utilize a company with a large pool of guards to choose from so they can fit the guard’s personality and experiences to your venue.
Whether you decide to hire or outsource, you have already made the most important decision of protecting your business and staff from potential crime. If you choose to outsource to a security company ensure that you are mindful of these myths about security companies in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.