This week I read several articles concerning the guarding industry from one talking about non-competes for security officers to technology impacting security functions. The first article was troubling. What rational can a security firm have for imposing a non-compete on security officers? This tactic shows the company’s complete disregard for their employees and their clients.

This is really a tactic to cover the security company’s inability to service its clients. The threat is that should the client change providers they will also have to replace every officer working at their facility. Often clients have a strong relationship with the security officers and a poor relationship with the provider. The non-compete adversely impact the client that wishes to find a better security provider. They want to replace the security firm, but are faced with the prospect of losing all the institutional knowledge of the current staff.

security monitoring for office buildings

The officers are another matter entirely. Often, the officer simply does not understand the impact of a non-compete or they signed it during the hiring process without really reading the contents. The security firm that employs this tactic is simply preying on security personnel thinking that this non-compete will aid in customer retention. They would rather maintain a dysfunctional relationship with their employees and clients than focus on serving both.

Sadly, this is just another example of the mediocrity of most security firms in America today. They have simply focused on the wrong things and are paying for those mistakes on the backs of their employees and often their clients. The industry is largely dominated by the big 4, all of whom have become large by the tireless pursuit of revenue rather than the pursuit of service quality. They have built their house on sinking sand.

With the pursuit of revenue came questionable acquisitions, dubious sales at low wages or cutting other costs just to grow the top line. Margins suffered and service soon followed. If we assume that the larger players have even 20% of their business in this camp, it means that they will continue to experience high turnover in both employees and customers. This will continue to sap their strength and resources and ensure that they remain a mediocre service provider. Does anyone believe that Wall Street would allow them to jettison 20% of their customers?

They will continue to chase revenue with questionable sales, make terrible acquisitions that will erode their brand and provide average service to their employees and customers. They can do nothing else as they are constantly in the hunt for more revenue, recruiting new officers and chasing low margin national accounts.

This is not to say that they don’t have some great accounts where they do good work, it is just to say that this will never be their core as it is not in their DNA. They are addicted to growth and they can only keep their Wall Street masters happy by selling everything to everyone in the vain hope that service will improve and margins along with it.

This is precisely why I started my own company. I believe that they and most of the regional players in the guard business have a broken model and therefore will never be quality providers. This leaves a huge hole in the industry for the next Vance, Barton or APS. These will be the companies to change the guarding industry. These are the companies that will disrupt an industry known for mediocrity and incorporate technology into every service offering.

I look forward to the next 10 years and think we will see the landscape in the guarding universe start to change. Hopefully, we can drag the rest of the industry along.

– Tom Parrish, CEO