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A hard look at major contract security.

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  • #46
    hrdickinson

    Is your company part of the top 50 in size?
    Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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    • #47
      Originally posted by hrdickinson
      N.A.,

      In terms of ASIS membership as an indication of a better employer, it means nothing if you are considering a large company and the local district manager just happens to be a member.

      I just meant if you are considering a local or small regional company, and the owner is NOT a member of ASIS or the state organization, that MAY be an indication of a lack of sophistication, and/or a lack of interest in what is going on in the industry outside his/her own company. I have met many such people and they are focused on short term profits, not on building a quality company.

      As far as you characterization of ASIS, you might be right. There is no doubt that the exhibitors at the annual conventions have changed from mostly guard companies, uniform vendors, etc. to mostly high tech companies.

      On the other hand, the local chapter meetings focus on homeland security issues, gang violence, etc. And those meetings are generally attended by security guard company representives and client organizations. At least that's true in NY and Houston. I haven't noticed a bias in either direction.
      Ok, now that makes more sense.
      Some Kind of Commando Leader

      "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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      • #48
        Why I dislike major contract security.

        Some of you have probably sensed anger and frustration in several of my posts concerning the above. I guess my bottled-up feelings are coming out now that I started this topic. Mega contract security has failed its clients, its employees, and the public. Like politicians who promise much, but deliver little, these companies cannot deliver on their promises. Those employees that truly care and work hard to set the right example are vastly outnumbered and sabotaged by coworkers who just want a paycheck, and midlevel management that doesn't have a clue about what is really happening on the frontlines of their accounts.

        The clients have been misled into believing that qualified professional security officers will protect their assets and people even if they take the cheapest bid.

        Like the clients they serve, contract security is focused on increasing revenue even if it means employing individuals that meet the bare minimum standards. The account managers are too busy to focus on improving the security services they offer, because of trying to fill the constant vacancies caused by a shocking turnover rate.

        Finally, I realize that there isn't a thing I can do about it. I go to work and do my best not to notice the futility of it all, but sometimes it's impossible not to notice. Today is one of those times.
        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Mr. Security
          Some of you have probably sensed anger and frustration in several of my posts concerning the above. I guess my bottled-up feelings are coming out now that I started this topic. Mega contract security has failed its clients, its employees, and the public. Like politicians who promise much, but deliver little, these companies cannot deliver on their promises. Those employees that truly care and work hard to set the right example are vastly outnumbered and sabotaged by coworkers who just want a paycheck, and midlevel management that doesn't have a clue about what is really happening on the frontlines of their accounts.

          The clients have been misled into believing that qualified professional security officers will protect their assets and people even if they take the cheapest bid.

          Like the clients they serve, contract security is focused on increasing revenue even if it means employing individuals that meet the bare minimum standards. The account managers are too busy to focus on improving the security services they offer, because of trying to fill the constant vacancies caused by a shocking turnover rate.

          Finally, I realize that there isn't a thing I can do about it. I go to work and do my best not to notice the futility of it all, but sometimes it's impossible not to notice. Today is one of those times.
          A frustration I understand. What more can I say other than Amen.
          "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Mr. Security
            Some of you have probably sensed anger and frustration in several of my posts concerning the above. I guess my bottled-up feelings are coming out now that I started this topic. Mega contract security has failed its clients, its employees, and the public. Like politicians who promise much, but deliver little, these companies cannot deliver on their promises. Those employees that truly care and work hard to set the right example are vastly outnumbered and sabotaged by coworkers who just want a paycheck, and midlevel management that doesn't have a clue about what is really happening on the frontlines of their accounts.

            The clients have been misled into believing that qualified professional security officers will protect their assets and people even if they take the cheapest bid.

            Like the clients they serve, contract security is focused on increasing revenue even if it means employing individuals that meet the bare minimum standards. The account managers are too busy to focus on improving the security services they offer, because of trying to fill the constant vacancies caused by a shocking turnover rate.

            Finally, I realize that there isn't a thing I can do about it. I go to work and do my best not to notice the futility of it all, but sometimes it's impossible not to notice. Today is one of those times.

            funny thing about that line that i made bold, is the EXPECT top-notch preformance althought they only want to pay you 5.25 a hour, and they get pissy when they get a warm body or something happens to the building, okay here is a example, "laura" and "ivan" were working one weekend at a building in SF, and there was some anti war protesters marching down the street, the broke out some windows in the out side conservatory area, because laura and ivan didnt want to go out side and make a "visual deterant", now the building down the road had their officers on the exterior of the property nothing happened, and no one got hurt at that building, it had cost 50,000 to repair one of the 6 windows broke as they were custom windows, that are vary rare to reproduce in the states and had never been broken prior to that incident and the only reason :"laura" didnt go outside was because she just wanted a pay check, she was a warm body, and "ivan" didnt care he wanted a pay check to send back home to his home country and was claiming 9 kids on his tax returns...... but because of these "warm bodies" the management got pissed and almost annexed the contract but our company had the lowest bid for the property ... go figure.. remember this "YOU REALLY DO GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR"
            When not at work or out watching a moive.. passed out at the keyboard.

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            • #51
              You have to remember something, folks. The company might be getting 25 an hour, and pay you only 5.25!

              Usually, though, they underbid by going, say, 6 an hour. That leaves them to pay you 5.25, and they pocket the rest. Everyone else is bidding 10 and 12 dollars an hour, because they plan on paying their employees, or paying for equipment, etc.

              A company will take a bid at a loss if it means shutting others out who could do it better, because that denies the competition profit.
              Some Kind of Commando Leader

              "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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              • #52
                Ive worked for both small time and major contract companies. I must say I have had such a better experience working for larger companies than smaller ones. Ive worked for two large contract companies, Wackenhut and Olympic Security. Ive also worked for two smaller, local companies, W.WA. Merchant Patrol, and Security Masters. Both less than 50 employees (I believe)

                At the smaller companies I hardly had a guaranteed shift, I always had random call-ins, I never made a decent wage, I rarely was at one post, I did not get any form of benefits. I provided half my own uniform, some of my uniform parts didnt fit, I didnt receive much training- it was all, "take this test, heres how we do things, ready-set-go!" I never made more than $8.00 an hour, WA State Min. Wage is approx 7.62 last time I checked.

                At the larger companies, I always have received adequate training for my position, have strong company support, received a decent wage, was given a clean-pressed- full and complete uniform, had some sort of benefits- such as health, dental, vacation, etc... have always been able to take time off when I need it (Large companies=lots of officers= good coverage). The list goes on and on...

                I may be the only one swimming against the current here, but I personally feel I am more benefitted by my larger companies than smaller ones.
                "Alright guys listen up, ya'll have probably heard this before, Jackson vs. Securiplex corporation; I am a private security officer, I have no State or governmental authority. I stand as an ordinary citizen. I have no right to; detain, interrogate or otherwise interfere with your personal property-... basically all that means is I'm a cop."-Officer Ernie
                "The Curve" 1998

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                • #53
                  I worked for 2 large companies and 1 small company. Not to include inhouse which I do now..

                  LARGE COMPANIES

                  1) STT Security- based out of Mt. Pleasant, Mi.. Training was all video based, low pay but they treated you very well. They respected the employees and the company ran like a police department. Being that the owner was a retired MSP Trooper..

                  2) Valor Security- Training was reading a manual, low pay and the company treated the employees like crap.... Low morale, no integrity and they made a lot of broken promises. They promised a raise when they took over, never got it, they promised better training which it wasnt. then they said they would give us more room to do more things at the site like bike patrol and other things which was a lie.. They never stood up for people, then black listed employees that complained about the treatment.

                  SMALL COMPANY

                  1) Phoenix Security- Low pay, some training while any extra training we had to get on our own. I worked my way up the ladder in a few week from working factory accounts to working patrol as a CPL. then to be promoted to SGT. after only being there 3 months. Once a Sgt I was a roaming supervisor checking on all the accounts and filling in at the housing projects. As for the main bad points thats in another thread.
                  http://img363.imageshack.us/img363/3203/darrell29jc.gif

                  The FUTURE is MSP...

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                  • #54
                    Another Complaint

                    I started this thread because every once in a while the decisions that contract security managers make are mind-boggling. Why would you take a former security supervisor who was removed from his site for incompetence and a poor attitude and move him to another site to work security??
                    Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Mr. Security
                      I started this thread because every once in a while the decisions that contract security managers make are mind-boggling. Why would you take a former security supervisor who was removed from his site for incompetence and a poor attitude and move him to another site to work security??
                      Because the new client doesn't know that. If they terminated him, they'd have to find a replacement, or even work it themselves.
                      Some Kind of Commando Leader

                      "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
                        Because the new client doesn't know that. If they terminated him, they'd have to find a replacement, or even work it themselves.
                        It drives me up the wall. In addition, they have a guy who is new to the site training him instead of using an experienced guard. The rookie guard will simply pass on his inexperience. As long as we have idiot managers like this calling the shots, contract security will always come up short.
                        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Mr. Security
                          It drives me up the wall. In addition, they have a guy who is new to the site training him instead of using an experienced guard. The rookie guard will simply pass on his inexperience. As long as we have idiot managers like this calling the shots, contract security will always come up short.
                          Is the guy the guy who happens to be on the next shift the guy will be working? Most companies don't have "training officers" or "training guards." Every guard is expected to "show the new guard around."
                          Some Kind of Commando Leader

                          "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
                            Is the guy the guy who happens to be on the next shift the guy will be working? Most companies don't have "training officers" or "training guards." Every guard is expected to "show the new guard around."
                            No. Both companies that I have worked for tell their clients that the training will be conducted at the supervisor level. After they get the contract, they simply delegate it to whomever. The account is a complex one involving many CCTV cameras, HVAC operations, 40 zones for fire control and eight different buildings that must be patrolled. The account is expected to grow substantially. Why management jeopardizes a lucrative account by having incompetent guards train here is beyond me.
                            Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Many, MANY years ago I worked for a medium sized security company. They only paid us minimun wage, which at that time was $4.50 an hour (today it would be $8.00 an hour). We had some good guards that would do the basic things very well, locking required doors at the required times, doing regular patrols, etc. But if they encountered a dangerous situation, they would kind of look the other way or hide somewhere, because they did not want to risk getting injured or worse for only $4.50 an hour.

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                              • #60
                                Alright, I have said this before in this forum and I will say it again: When a company outsources security, they take the monkey off their back and put it on the back of the contract security company which is in business to make a profit. Somehow, the clients think that if a company pays their officers $10.00 per hour, that they should be billed $10.50 (5% profit). As many in this forum have explained (especially SecTrainer and NA Corbier), the costs involved are much more complicated than that. The contract security industry looks very simple from the outside looking in. In reality, it is a tricky balance of revenue, direct costs, fixed costs and working capital that can sink a company quickly if the owners/managers are not on top of it.

                                The real problem lies with the clients who ultimately don't percieve the threat and the value of security and are not willing to pay a bill rate that allows for a reasonable wage with benefits. Obviously, this is a generalization. There are many clients that are willing to pay and many security companies that will pocket the difference out of greed!

                                There are also too many companies that do not understand their cost structure and underbid contracts hoping to "make it up on volume".

                                It's business and it is a jungle out there. I feel bad for a lot of you officers that get caught in the middle. The reality is that your ability and determination will prevail, just stay the course!
                                Richard Dickinson
                                Dickinson Security Management Group, LLC
                                DSMG Provides a Variety of Software Products and Consulting Services to the Contract Security Industry
                                www.hrdickinson.com

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