THE MAGAZINE

Guarding Against Poor Performance

By Ronald D. Heil, CPP

The young woman walked apprehensively through the dark, poorly lit underground municipal parking garage and, to her relief, located the garage manager. She asked him if he could arrange for someone to escort her to her car, a service the garage supplied in accordance with a local ordinance. The manager asked her to wait while he called the on-duty security officer. She pulled back in fear. She'd already seen the security guard, she said'and it was him she wanted protection from.

Why was there a security officer working there who inspired fear, rather than confidence, in patrons? The answer is simple, and alarmingly common: The security contract had been given to the low-bid contractor. Without enough money to hire quality personnel, the contractor had to take whoever would work for the low wage and meet the contractor's minimum employment requirements. That left the garage's patrons at risk.

Situations such as this real-life example based on my own experience are slowly bringing about a realization that there is a tangible price to pay for going with the cheapest security provider. You really do get what you pay for. Buyers must consider the level of service their company requires and select a service provider capable of meeting those requirements, even if the price is higher than the other offers on the table.

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