The top 8 questions to ask when outsourcing security guards


There are plenty of security risks that arise when setting up a business or moving to a new office building. Perhaps you don’t know the area very well, or you’re simply concerned about the safety of your employees and physical assets. 

You’ve considered all of the options for security, and you’ve decided that outsourcing is your best bet. But what do you need to ask to ensure you hire the right team? 

  1. Why would you choose an outsourced security guards option over in-house? 

You’ve chosen your office premises, you’ve hired all of your employees and now you’re thinking about how to keep them both safe. 

Some businesses opt for insourcing security guards, which may prove to be more expensive and time-consuming when it comes to recruitment and training. Insourcing could be your best option if you have the resources available and the time commitment isn’t a concern. 

However, suppose you don’t have the time or the capacity to commit to an in-house security team. In that case, outsourcing is the way to go. The security company you work with will do all of the recruitment and provide all of the training. They may also offer other services you haven’t even thought of — like uniform management. 

Then think about all of the training, qualification, legalities and connections to law enforcement. This isn’t something every business possesses in-house.

  1. What licenses do you have or require?

Licensing regulations for security guards vary from country to country, and in the UK, they can vary by the role of the security professional

For example, security guards are not licensed to work on premises that serve or permit alcohol consumption like bars and clubs. This means that a licensed door supervisor can act as a security guard but a security guard cannot take the place of a door supervisor.

In the UK, all security guards must hold an SIA license. For the US, it’s different in each state, with the bare minimum requirements being: 

  • 18 years of age or older
  • No violent or felony convictions
  • Being of sound mind
  • Hold a GED or high school diploma. 

It’s essential to ask the question of what licenses a security company itself and its guards have. You don’t want to breach any laws or state regulations. By asking, you’re also ensuring they’re fit for the job.

  1. What training do your security guards undergo?

Similar to licensing, training requirements for security guards vary in different countries. Most of the time, guards have to complete a course either online or in person. The depth and range of this training are important to know so you can have peace of mind that your security guards know what they’re doing.

Some security companies offer their own in-house training program. But others can be looser with their requirements, so you want to make sure the company you hire has high training standards in place.

This could also include first-aid training. Security personnel are often the first on the scene of incidents day or night, so first aid training is a massive advantage to any security guard. As of 1 October 2021 in the UK, all door supervision and security guard licence holders need a first aid qualification and new top-up training before they renew their licence. 

Another thing to consider for specific countries is whether the security guards have any armed guard training if they carry a firearm on duty. 

  1. What supervision or management do you do?

You’re already running a business; you don’t want to spend your precious time supervising extra tasks or managing more employees.

It’s vital that the security company you’re hiring actually keeps an eye on their staff, so you don’t have to. Many security guard supervisors do regular inspections, monitor the quality of service, resolve any work-related issues and coordinate schedules for all of their employees.

A lack of adequate supervision could lead to additional security risks and leave you open to negligent security claims, which is the last thing you need. In fact, cases where the failure to provide adequate security measures, including lighting, locks, fencing and security guards, tend to result in larger settlements and jury verdicts

  1. Do you have any experience with similar clients?

Like any other company or agency, it’s important to know if your security provider has worked with clients similar to yours. You want to see that they have the right experience and knowledge of your industry so they can do the job you want them to do. 

Suppose the security company has worked with a similar client. In that case, they may already have some recommendations for what you need so you can speed up the process. For example, if you’re opening a retail store in a heavy traffic area, you’ll likely need a visible security guard present at all times and maybe even a store detective and covert surveillance. You can only find out the right option when you ask the question. 

  1. Do you have any other cost-effective alternatives?

It may seem a little too extensive to have security guards on your premises 24/7, so it’s vital to ask any prospective partner their recommendations for your business needs. 

You may only need a mobile response unit to visit the building when an alarm is triggered, or maybe you need an entire round-the-clock security team. Be sure to ask the question so you’re not spending too much or too little and leaving your business open to risk.

  1. How do you implement new technologies?

Security companies tend to offer many different services, from CCTV installation and monitoring to concierge services and access control. If you’re looking for a security guard, chances are you may also be in the market for some other services. If you can use one company for all of your security needs, their services will cohesively work together, and you’ll get the best service possible.  

You also want to make sure your security company is up to date with the latest security technology. The industry is constantly changing and developing, so hiring a company that can change along with it is a huge advantage. Having guards who are trained in using any new technology that is implemented is also a must.

  1. How would your guards deal with angry members of the public? And other similar questions

When you’re looking to hire a security company, it’s essentially a job interview, so you’re going to ask questions that will apply to the work they’ll be doing. 

Situational questions like ‘What would your guards do if they’re faced with anti-social behavior on the job?’ are important because they give you real-world context to the work they’re promising to do. 

Finding the right security company to outsource your security guards can be a time-consuming task. You have to ask the right questions to get the right service for your business. Taking the time to understand your security needs and the regulations of the area you operate can make the process smoother. That way, you can have the peace of mind that you and your business are protected. 

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