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  • Freaking Governmental Fees

    So I took a look today at what it would take to get my company certified to the PS-Prep level when I get it up off the ground and running. The organization that is doing the certification for DHS wants $5,000 plus for the certification. $5,000 + is a ton of money to a start-up small business. I know that supposedly DHS is looking at ways to make the PS-Prep easier for small businesses to get, I hope they reduce the cost. A critical part of my business plan hinges on getting that certificate as well as other certificates. One reason I want the PS-Prep certificate is that given my state ranks #4 for the most declared emergencies out of all 50 states, I want to show potential clients that we have plans and procedures in place to weather any storm that may come our way. Damn it I have to rework everthing now. I understand that the fee is probably worth the cost, but still its a lot of money.
    Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. - 1 Corinthians 16:13

    The cleanliness of our hearts, The strength of our limbs, and commitment to our promise.

    My military contract is up and over. However, I never needed to affirm that I would defend the constitution, our freedoms, our way of life from enemies both domestic and foreign. Do not think that since I am no longer in the military, I will not pick up a weapon to defend my family, my home or my country. - Me!

  • #2
    You have probably thought of this - but in the event that you didn't....have you checked into any loans/grants for certification? FEMA may be able to provide some insight. The fee is high but I agree that the risk is worth reward.

    Best of luck!
    "The path to paradise begins in hell."
    — Dante Alighieri

    Comment


    • #3
      I think you'll find that the costs of actually complying with PS-Prep standards will be far more than the fees. Have you taken a good look at the ASIS "Organizational Resilience" standard (which was adopted by DHS)? Take a gander at this little gem: http://www.asisonline.org/guidelines...m_No._1842.pdf - bearing in mind that all of these hundreds of requirements must be documented and will require substantial investment in order to implement.

      Typically, fees aren't the issue for companies that are thinking about complying with standards of this sort, such as ISO-9000, etc. The actual cost of compliance itself (meaning, actually putting whatever systems, etc. in place that are necessary for compliance), will cost even small companies $25,000 to $50,000 or more - PLUS the fees - and months of time. It typically takes a fairly sophisticated team of people, lots of meetings, etc. It's quite complex, really.

      (You have to realize that when DHS talks about "small businesses", they don't mean new startups, the local dry cleaners or the 5-man law firm down the street. Even when they use the word "small'', they're still talking about companies that have annual sales in the $millions and hundreds of employees. In other words, "small" compared to Dow Chemical, General Mills or US Steel.) It's just a relative term. If "big" = upward of $1 billion in sales, "medium" could be, say, $100-500 million and "small" might mean $5 to 10 million or more. A guy who just opened up his own security company doesn't even figure anywhere on this scale. He's not "small" - he's microscopic!

      More to the point, there's no reason for you to be thinking about this now. As a new startup, you'll have many more practical things to be thinking about. You need to keep a single-minded focus on sales, revenue and cash flow - not PS-Prep. And youll have other things to do with your resources.

      Anyway, even if you had an OR system in place right now and the spare cash for fees, etc., by the time you could possibly jump through all the bureaucratic hoops to get certified (a lengthy process), you'll be out of business if you let yourself get sidetracked from Job One. Get your feet on the ground and look at this later. This is something for an established company to think about doing - and maybe not. The benefits are not exactly clear, as PS-Prep is still not very often a requirement in service vendor contracts.

      Last, but not least, the whole program itself is still "evolving" - which is a euphemism for "it's still a godawful bloody mess" (they're still developing the auditing standards!). By the time it might be good business strategy for you to think about this again, maybe it will be less of a Chinese fire drill, but the operative word here is "maybe". We ARE talking about the federal government.
      Last edited by SecTrainer; 01-25-2011, 03:02 AM.
      "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

      "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

      "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

      "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

      Comment


      • #4
        I understand the joys of going through an ISO certification, part of the reason for striving for the PS-Prep accrediation is so that I can show lenders that hey yeah I am a small business with perhaps one or two clients but look. When my competition up the street's office and my office both get leveled in this spring's tornado. I will be up and running within hours (critical functions) and within a few days be operating out a pre-determined alternate location. We will not be part of that 90% of small businesses that will fail, again my county and state can be somewhat disaster prone when compared to the rest of the nation. I suppose that a well thought out BC/DR program and Emergency Action Plan for the office can also do this, for less cost and headache. I also know what you are saying by million dollar revenues, last time I checked a small business in security is not defined by people but business revenue (hmmm, is this a sign that the government admits we pay our people in general so low that it would be unfair to rate us by staffing levels?)
        Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. - 1 Corinthians 16:13

        The cleanliness of our hearts, The strength of our limbs, and commitment to our promise.

        My military contract is up and over. However, I never needed to affirm that I would defend the constitution, our freedoms, our way of life from enemies both domestic and foreign. Do not think that since I am no longer in the military, I will not pick up a weapon to defend my family, my home or my country. - Me!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by FireRanger View Post
          I understand the joys of going through an ISO certification, part of the reason for striving for the PS-Prep accrediation is so that I can show lenders that hey yeah I am a small business with perhaps one or two clients but look. When my competition up the street's office and my office both get leveled in this spring's tornado. I will be up and running within hours (critical functions) and within a few days be operating out a pre-determined alternate location. We will not be part of that 90% of small businesses that will fail, again my county and state can be somewhat disaster prone when compared to the rest of the nation. I suppose that a well thought out BC/DR program and Emergency Action Plan for the office can also do this, for less cost and headache. I also know what you are saying by million dollar revenues, last time I checked a small business in security is not defined by people but business revenue (hmmm, is this a sign that the government admits we pay our people in general so low that it would be unfair to rate us by staffing levels?)
          PS-Prep certification won't help you with lenders. They're not looking for this, and they'd more likely wonder why you were wasting precious fiscal and managerial resources on it. They might conclude that if you can afford something so extraneous to your core business, you don't need a loan, or that you don't know what you should be spending your time and money on, which is building your business!

          What they want to see is a realistic business plan, good financial statements, revenue growth and - if they even ask - adequate business insurance coverage.

          Certainly, thinking about business continuity and making reasonable preparations is a good idea for any business merely as a matter of simple prudence and good management, but it's not a factor with lenders.
          Last edited by SecTrainer; 01-25-2011, 10:19 AM.
          "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

          "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

          "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

          "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

          Comment

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