First Response vs The Competition
In the current economic climate we are in, we are seeing the rise up of many budgetary products and services. This is a great time to be a buyer, as things are practically sold at “fire sale” pricing. However, as this may be true for watches, suits and other items of extravagance, this is not the same for services such as janitorial and especially in the security industry. Costs as are as high as ever and do not seem to be coming down anytime soon. Let’s just look at our 3 highest expenses: wages, health Insurance, and gasoline. Need we say more? It is safe to say we are not the only provider dealing with these costs, however, they are dealing with them differently, whether that is lowering their costs, by paying less, eliminating health insurance and driving less, which would result in a lack of provided services.
Security officers are a strong representation of property management and their decision making. It is imperative this representative is professional, qualified and well trained. In some cases across the country, courts have found clients liable for the actions of their contract security officers. We feel we are only as good as our Officer providing the services.
Over the next few pages we have outlined some of the “smoke and mirrors” our competition is putting into the hands and decisions of our clients, prospects and other willing decision makers. Our goal is to not show how great we are or how weak they may be, but to bring to light the consequences of choosing the wrong provider and how these costs are handled.
REVENUE SEEKER vs. SERVICE PROVIDER
We feel there are two types of providers our there: “service providers” and “revenue seekers”.
As all security providers seek revenue for their services, the specific distinction is motive and priority. Revenue seekers have a great sense of desperation to their approach in such a way that without the business their business may fail. Instead, if the priority is focused on providing the service, and improving the service, and working with the Officers providing the services, the revenue will come through word of mouth, client retention and many other long-term benefits.
Unfortunately, low-bid service providers are out there and they are attempting to make their “big break” in this current economic environment. They are overpromising and under-delivering their services at unbelievably low pricing in an effort to attract as much business as they can. In an effort for other good companies to compete with these low-bid service providers, the competition is cutting corners such as reducing security officer wages for officers to the point where they cannot attract quality people. As a result, this creates high turnover of officers which results in inexperienced officers on location and lower hiring standards in order to fill the vacancy. In some companies in the industry, the turnover rate is as high as 300%: That’s the same as replacing the whole work force three times in a years time!
Other practices of low-bid contractors that directly affect the quality of officers include:
- Minimal training
- Little or no pre-employment screening
- Limited supervisory staff/coverage
- Little to no health benefits
- It’s important to remember that benefit packages are critical for retaining workers.
By choosing a low-bidder, clients are encouraging and enabling companies to lower their costs in an effort to gain new contracts, which in turn decreases officer wages, training and officer benefits. Results of this, as stated above, result in high turnover, lower quality of officers and constant challenges.
SECURITY vs. TOUCH PROBE
As of late, we have been receiving many questions from current clients and prospective clients regarding our competitors offering low-cost services with the use of “verification” ‘touch points’. ‘Touch Points’ can be a very helpful tool to tracking exact times and exact locations. This tool is often best used for very time sensitive processes with little room for failure, such as mechanical pumps, cooling units, etc. Outside of these specific uses, we feel there are limitations to this tool for the service of patrol. We currently do not use any type of touch probe or button system for any patrol services we provide. The following is a clearer definition of our competitive advantage in comparison to the ‘touch probe’. We do this for many reasons, but the main ones are:
- We feel ‘touch points’ create tunnel vision. This occurs when an Officer or competitor feels they just need to ‘touch’ the ‘buttons’ to prove they were there on location providing a service. The service becomes ‘touching buttons’ and not observing, reporting and deterring.
- If/when ‘tunnel vision’ sets in, the time on property will dramatically decrease. The Officers may be found on the property just long enough to touch the buttons. Very often, a competitor may provide a lower rate for services, as they know it will only take a limited amount of time on location to ‘touch’ the ‘buttons’.
- ‘Buttons’ can be labeled anything to allow an easy definition of which button is where. With this, comes the possibility of the competitor creating duplicate ‘buttons’ with the same names. This is obviously an unethical way of doing things, however, we have seen it done before. This is the number one reason in which First Response does not provide any ‘touch probes.’
When we sign a contract for security services, we stand by that contract. In no way do we want to give the impression we are providing the services without actually providing the services. When it all comes down to the basics, touching buttons is not security.
We are the only provider that utilizes a GPS tracking system in each of our patrol vehicles. We do this for our own internal checks and balances to ensure our Officers are providing the services we have contracted for. Our contracts mean a lot to us and we feel it is our duty to provide due diligence for our services.
PRICE OF DOING BUSINESS vs. PRICE TO GET BUSINESS
As in all things, you get what you pay for. Security services to include patrol and on-site security services, are no different. First Response is known for its great reputation and consistent services, and we support this by providing a quality service at a fair price, versus an inferior service for a cheap price. As we would love the opportunity to lower our pricing and compete with the competition who may be offering a ‘steal’, we cannot come to grips with what we feel would suffer if that was to occur:
- We would need to lower Officer pay rates. This would be reflected in the quality of Officer on location and may not represent your management of the property. We feel our employees are a viable asset and understand the importance of rewarding each Officer for the great work they perform.
- We would lower or cut some of our current Officer benefits. We believe each Officer should feel taken care of, and in turn will take better care of our client’s property.
- We would not be able to add additional patrol vehicles on the road due to costs not being covered.
- We would lower or limit our hours of supervision which would result in a lack of quality control.
- We could not afford our level of insurance needed to meet our client requirements.
Do not be fooled by low patrol pricing. We have all been there, including First Response. To cover our costs, which happen to be fixed, we must bring in revenue…any revenue. Many smaller companies will take any revenue they can find and guarantee a service, which they will attempt to provide…for a while. The problem arises when the smaller company adds too many accounts for the first couple patrol cars to handle, yet there is not enough revenue to add the next car. At this time, the service will suffer. Quality will decline and pricing will need to increase, as there is no other option.
We understand that other companies may be promising the same amount of services every night at a lower monthly fee. Because your safety and security is important to First Response, our ethics guide us to inform our clients what they are receiving. A true, reputable company cannot operate at this rate. Although, we know you would hold them accountable, we feel it necessary to educate property managers of the possibilities of over-promising and under-delivering of services. We know there is time and effort into making a service provider switch, educating your residents/tenants and any new service issues.
We would like to tell you why we feel that First Response is the right choice for your property.