Access Control

6 Questions to Help You Find the Right Commercial Security Partner

By Chuck Robinson

When it comes to finding the right commercial security partner, you should never cut corners. While all companies may promise similar results, not all security providers have the level of expertise your specific project or needs may require.

Proper security design, installation and maintenance are vital for keeping everyone in your building safe, while also protecting you from code compliance issues and other liabilities. Plus, choosing the wrong security partner can really cost you––in time, money and hassle.

So, how do you ensure you’re making a good choice in a commercial security partner?

It starts by asking the right questions. This can go a long way to finding a reliable, reputable vendor that meets your needs.

Ask These Questions When Choosing a Security Partner for Your Business

If you’re looking to find the right commercial security partner, here are six questions you should ask when interviewing potential vendors.

1. What licenses and certifications do your team members have?

Every security company in Tennessee should have at least one person on staff who has an active electronic licensure through the Tennessee Alarm Board. However, not all companies ensure that every employee is licensed.

At ACT, we require all employees to get this license within their first year of employment, which involves sitting through a 3-day course and passing a final exam. As a result, you can feel confident that every single person you’ll work with at ACT is extremely knowledgeable, from the receptionist to the service technician.

We also carry a manufacturer certification for every manufacturer we work with, so we’re trained and certified in each product and piece of equipment we sell.

Asking potential vendor partners how many employees have state licenses and manufacturer certifications should tell you how serious the company is about making sure their team has the expertise to do the job.

2. Does your company have in-house security design capabilities?

It’s important to keep in mind that not all security partners have the ability to effectively design and draw out your systems.

Many companies will rely on product manufacturers or third party companies for design assistance instead of hiring designers directly. This can create problems during installation, because parts and pieces from different manufacturers don’t always work well together and determining what is needed can become a hassle and cause project delays.

At ACT, we have three in-house designers on staff who can build out security designs on architectural blueprints. Because of this, we have a better understanding of the individual parts that make up your system, and we’re able to vet everything before we start the installation process, saving you time and money.

3. Can you provide references for projects of similar size and scope?

This question is especially important if your project involves a large or complex system. We’ve seen other companies sell massive systems without having the manpower or the expertise to support the installation.

For example, one company sold a system to a major warehouse but didn’t have enough staff to install and service a project of that size. Instead, they’ve had to subcontract a lot of the work to us or other partners because they weren’t prepared to complete it or support it long term.  This can impact project delivery, quality of work and functionality of the system.

To avoid problems like these, be sure to verify that the company you choose has successfully completed projects of a similar size and scope in the past.

4. How will you service my system after the installation? 

When looking for a partner to complete a security system installation, it’s important to plan ahead for future maintenance and service needs. Look for a security partner that has a dedicated service department. Also, be sure to get clear guidance about who you can reach out to if you need assistance.

If the company doesn’t have those things, you may experience longer lead times when you need repairs. Or, even worse, the partner may lack the expertise needed to troubleshoot and perform maintenance when problems arise.

Keep in mind that installations require different knowledge than service and repair work. Just because a technician knows how to install a system doesn’t mean they’ll know how to effectively fix it when problems arise.

At ACT, we have a large, fully-staffed service team that’s armed with the expertise needed to keep servicing your systems for years into the future. And our online service portal that makes it easy for you to log and track service tickets.

It’s also important to find out if the company offers a service agreement, where they guarantee service at a fixed price for a fixed amount of time. This can save you money in the long run and make it easier for you to plan for the future, since you’ll know exactly what you can expect to spend on maintenance each month.

5. What is your average customer tenure?

Knowing how long customers typically stay with a company can help you get a sense of the quality of service they provide. If customers are constantly leaving the company, that’s not a good sign.

At ACT, we lose less than 3 percent of our customers each year. Most of our clients have worked with us for years. For instance, we’ve provided security services to the Dollar General  Headquarters and Highwoods Properties in the Nashville area for nearly 15 years. And we’ve been working with Ensworth School and the Nissan plant in Smyrna ever since they were built.

If the company you’re interviewing doesn’t know the answer to this question or hesitates to answer it, that’s not a good sign. Companies with a loyal customer base will be able to stand behind this question and offer up examples to prove it.

6. What do your security services cost?

While pricing will naturally play a role in your decision-making process, it’s not the most important factor when choosing a vendor.

Beware of small startup companies that buy equipment over the counter and sell it cheap, but lack the expertise needed to install it or service it properly. This can lead to compliance issues and greater liabilities for your business.

Remember that, in this arena, you get what you pay for. If the vendor’s pricing seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s why this question should be last on your list, not first.

Make sure you understand the qualifications of the security vendor first. Then, you can focus on price.

Hire a Commercial Security Vendor with Confidence

By asking the questions mentioned above, you can weed out unreliable partners and ensure you’re getting the best possible service within your price range.

Are you looking for a trustworthy, experienced partner for your next project? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about why ACT is the right security partner for Nashville area businesses.

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