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  • Winning Contracts

    Hi there,

    I need some help/ advice/ guidance if possible.

    Here’s a little background about myself. I have been observing these forums for a good three months now and can see there is a lot of knowledge and experience here which is why I decided to join. I have a degree in Business and IT and also have six years experience within the security industry.

    I have a fully operational website, I’m not sure if I am allowed to post the link here so pm me if you’re willing to have a look and comment on it for me. I have done my research and will soon create a private limited company which I will operate (I know how to do this). I know how everything would work, licensing, insurance, the job etc. However one place which I am struggling to find information is winning contracts, which is the reason for this post. I know contracts often go to the lowest bidder which makes the industry a little cut throat but I need advice from experienced people that have won contracts and know how it all works.

    My questions are as follows,

    Have you ever won a contract to provide security services?

    How did you approach the client?

    How did you win the contract?

    How long did it take you to win a contract?

    How difficult would you say it is to win a contract?

    How many attempts was it before you won your first contract?

    Finally, what advice/ guidance would you give to a young company looking to win its first contract?

    Feel free to pm me if you don’t want to disclose all of this information openly.

    Thanks in advance, (I'm UK based so this won't create any further competition for you US members) Danny.
    Last edited by DannyCass; 10-26-2010, 10:55 AM.

  • #2
    I will jump in and provide my experience.

    Originally posted by DannyCass View Post
    My questions are as follows,

    Have you ever won a contract to provide security services?

    Yes - domestic and international

    How did you approach the client?

    Several methods - not sure about "open & competitive bids" in the UK but most places are similar. An entity releases a publicly viewable request for proposal/invitation to bid/call for proposal with guidelines on the bidding process. Another way is "word of mouth" - networking. You may also "hunt" for accounts - recognize a need for a potential client and bring it to their attention with a viable solution.

    How did you win the contract?

    Low bid will be a term often used but not always the case. Properly articulate your services to the client. You will win bids based on many variables; experience, licensing, insurance, corporate reputation, past contracts, assets, performance and bid-bonds, etc.

    How long did it take you to win a contract?

    No clear-cut answer - some awards are quick some can take a LONG time. Some require security clearances - all time consuming. It really depends on the needs of the client.

    How difficult would you say it is to win a contract?

    Be open minded but realistic. Put effort when you respond to RFP's. You will have a learning process and get better with time.

    How many attempts was it before you won your first contract?

    I was lucky - I nailed the first one that I did - but not everyone after. Be persistent in your efforts.

    Finally, what advice/ guidance would you give to a young company looking to win its first contract?

    Join a professional security associations and be involved. Network. Advertise. Attend trade shows and talk to people.

    Feel free to pm me if you don’t want to disclose all of this information openly.

    Thanks in advance, (I'm UK based so this won't create any further competition for you US members) Danny.
    "The path to paradise begins in hell."
    — Dante Alighieri

    Comment


    • #3
      For me.. my first contract that ill be servicing, will start in nov. Although its an event contract.

      It was a "hunt" if you want to call it that, I looked for upcoming events that are going to be held at he local "convention/meeting/conference" centers.

      from there I formulated a list of places to try to contact. So I sent out some emails, with a few statements tailored to the event. and what i knew of the event.

      This morning I got a phone call. Talked to person in charge of the event. and signed an agreement to provide 7hrs worth of service for the 1 day, in the industry avg of 15-18hr in this area.

      I gave an average event services price. The client agreed to it. and now i have my first contract . It was not a low bid. It was an avg bid. I hope that can help you..

      Often times clients see a low bid .. they like the number but they also know that low bids can get them cheaper services which could cause higher liabilty.

      Ive only been a company since oct 5th. and have only been hunting contracts since oct. 13th.

      so that can give you an idea of how quick a contract could be brought on.
      Its not how we die that counts.....
      Its not how we lived that counts....
      all that matters is how we saved that one life that one time by being in the right place at the right time....

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks

        Thanks DazednadConfused and UtahProtectionForce your comments have really helped

        Comment


        • #5
          My questions are as follows,

          Have you ever won a contract to provide security services?
          -- Yes, I regularly win security contracts.

          How did you approach the client?
          -- I was fortunate in that my first client contacted me, somewhat out of the blue. I had an add on Craigslist offering security training services and the called to ask if I knew anyone who actually provided security services. I was gearing up to do that, but not actually offering them yet. I talked to them for a while and ended up with a contract to provide security for their event. Referrals from that event lead to three regular clients.

          -- While we are exploring other avenues of marketing, almost all of our contracts come from either networking or referrals. Getting to know people in the business community is critical.

          How did you win the contract?
          -- In my opinion, we won the contract because we took the time to sit down and listen to the client and their needs. It was a contract that was so small that the big companies weren't giving them that time of day, but as I said, it led to a great deal of work for us.


          How long did it take you to win a contract?
          -- About 20 minutes. lol

          How difficult would you say it is to win a contract?
          -- Again, it was not difficult. More a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

          How many attempts was it before you won your first contract?
          -- We got our first contract before we started looking for it. At the time we were solely a training company (still our focus).

          Finally, what advice/ guidance would you give to a young company looking to win its first contract?
          -- My advice is is to do everything you can to Not attempt to compete on price. As a small company, you simply can't do that and compete with the big boys. The can afford to make very little profit per hour because the multiply it by so many hours. I am sure that you understand the concept from business school, but it is worth reiterating. If you try to compete on price, you will lose! Rather, you must differentiate your business in some way that makes clients willing to pay a premium price for your services.

          -- Differentiating your business, finding your niche if you will, can be difficult, but is critical to success. Just this week, I was awarded a contract to replace a large national security company because they were an observe and report security company and refused to break up fights at high school football games. As a hands on company, we were quickly hired to replace them, even though I bill at a rate 25% above theirs (with the attendant higher liability.) I am not suggesting that you follow that route, just giving an example.

          -- Find your own niche, offer something that your competitors don't, get the work out, and work will come in. That said, expect growth to be slow. I know that ours has been, especially in the current economy. We are growing though, and you can too.

          Lastly, there is a saying that advice on the internet is worth what you pay for it. Take from the above what makes sense to you and discard the rest. Most importantly, follow your passion. That is the true secret to success.

          Good luck in your new venture.

          Dave
          David Tombleson
          Executive Security Manager
          Wy'east Tactical, LLC
          www.wyeasttactical.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Reply to your post

            Originally posted by DannyCass View Post
            Hi there,

            I need some help/ advice/ guidance if possible.

            Here’s a little background about myself. I have been observing these forums for a good three months now and can see there is a lot of knowledge and experience here which is why I decided to join. I have a degree in Business and IT and also have six years experience within the security industry.

            I have a fully operational website, I’m not sure if I am allowed to post the link here so pm me if you’re willing to have a look and comment on it for me. I have done my research and will soon create a private limited company which I will operate (I know how to do this). I know how everything would work, licensing, insurance, the job etc. However one place which I am struggling to find information is winning contracts, which is the reason for this post. I know contracts often go to the lowest bidder which makes the industry a little cut throat but I need advice from experienced people that have won contracts and know how it all works.

            My questions are as follows,

            Have you ever won a contract to provide security services?
            Yes. I spent time sending out postcards, letters, and emails and set up a generic website. I also spent much time on the internet listing my company in every possible place I was allowed. I wanted to get my name out there as much as possible.

            How did you approach the client? In one of the cases, I spent time to go and meet and talk with the person responsible with setting up security for their facility. I now receive all of their event security, unless the client specifically wants someone else. I continue to go and talk with this same person and feel I am on the way in developing a great relationship with her. I know this will result in more referrals for me.

            How did you win the contract? In the case of the above example, I believe it was my efforts in establishing that personal relationship with the person who organizes their events.

            How long did it take you to win a contract? I've had my website set up since September of 2009 and I got my first event "contract" in December, with several follow up contracts in February, March and April. From there on, I've continued to receive calls for their events.

            How difficult would you say it is to win a contract? It is difficult. My area (Omaha, Ne) has several very large companies (Signal 88 Security, Armored Knights, Silverhawk Security, Securitas, Omaha Security, etc..), so finding my niche in this environment is still a work in progress.

            How many attempts was it before you won your first contract?I initially set up my company to utilize only armed off duty Law Enforcement (I'm an active full time Police Officer), but after turning down several calls for unarmed Security during the first few months of my website being up, I added unarmed services and now most of my business is unarmed services.

            Finally, what advice/ guidance would you give to a young company looking to win its first contract? Speaking from experience, I would spend time reading as much as you can about security, local companies, and the environment you are working in. My personal situation is somewhat unique, as I'm a full time Police Officer and this is kind of a part-time business for me. But my goal was not to start a business to work at full-time, just to start something small and try and control the growth. I've been fairly successful in my first year. Since January 1 of this year, I've done just under $8000 in security sales, which was more than I envisioned in my first year. I am taking time to learn the business slowly and educating myself on business practices and marketing. As I said, my situation is unique, but I can tell you what has worked and not worked for me. Email me at [email protected] and I'll answer any more questions you have if I can help. One thing I've noticed is that it's difficult to get any help from people when you are trying to get started. This forum has been one of the exceptions to the rule, though, so continue to be involved. I wish you luck.

            Feel free to pm me if you don’t want to disclose all of this information openly.

            Thanks in advance, (I'm UK based so this won't create any further competition for you US members) Danny.
            If anyone else has any advice for gaining contracts, I would appreciate any advice or ideas. I'm always looking for new ideas or help.

            Comment

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