Guarding Against Poor Performance

By Ronald D. Heil, CPP

Contractor Scoresheet

When comparing contractor responses to a request for proposal, a scorecard can be a handy tool to see and compare the strengths and weaknesses of each response. The author recommends creating a matrix that rates important areas on a scale from one to six. These can include the following items, but the scorecard should be customized to meet your organization's specific wants and needs:

  • How security officers will be supervised
  • Type of training given to officers
  • Type of background checks and preemployment screening conducted on officers
  • Whether drug screenings are conducted on officers
  • Whether psychological or personality testing is conducted
  • Average years of experience of officers
  • Benefits offered to officers
  • Turnover rate
  • Types/hours of shifts worked
  • Background of officers
  • Value-added services offered by the contractor
  • Price


A company's contracted security officer is often in the public view and interacts with employees, customers, and visitors. The officer is, therefore, viewed as a representative of that company, and not just in the eyes of the public; courts have found companies liable for the actions of contracted security officers. Given the importance of guard services, companies should be wary of hiring personnel via the lowest-bid contract.

When forced to do business via low-bid contracts, contractors adopt personnel practices that are the source of the very problems that cause the most problems for client companies. Chief among these is reducing hourly wages for officers to the point at which they do not attract quality people, which results in a cascading series of problems.

For instance, uncompetitive wages strongly affect the turnover rate (the rate at which personnel leave a particular employer and need to be replaced).

The recommended solution starts with an understanding of the employer-employee relationship. Then, the purchaser of the security service should establish its needs carefully, create a detailed request for proposal (RFP), and select the offer that best fits the needs identified.

RFPs should lay out the specific services the client wants, including the number of posts, the days per week and holidays that each post must be staffed, and the type of uniform required. The company should also consider any additional services offered by the contractor.

To accurately compare the contractors' proposals, it's important to use a scoresheet that rates the factors of most importance to the hiring company. Companies unfamiliar with the process may want to hire a security consultants to help them through it.

Ronald D. Heil, CPP, CSC (Certified Security Consultant), serves as director of consulting for SecuraComm Consulting Inc., in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a member of ASIS International.



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