From Matthew Blakey, Director of SME, STANLEY Security
Security companies come in all different shapes and sizes, from sole traders working in a specific locality through to large international companies with considerable resources and accreditations. And there are a lot of them! If you’re looking for a new security system for your properties, or want to upgrade or extend an existing one, it’s difficult to know where to start.
I can’t tell you which company is right for you, but I can impart one key piece of advice that should be at the heart of your search: look for a security company that takes the time to understand your security ‘pain points’ and can deliver a solution that directly addresses them.
There’s no set menu when it comes to security systems. Every landlord has their own requirements, just like every site has its own layout. A supplier who takes a prescriptive approach to security will never deliver you the best outcome.
So what does this security company look like?
Does size matter?
Let’s start with the size of the company. There seems to be a general impression that you get a more personal service, tailored to your needs, when dealing with smaller, local companies. However, with less resources and staff, that service may not be as reliable as that provided by a larger company. Whilst larger security companies have considerable resources, are you in danger of being one of many customers and therefore less important to them? And aren’t they ‘faceless’ organisations where you never deal with the same person twice?
The larger security companies can offer an excellent level of service tailored to your precise needs but check to see you get a dedicated Account Manager or a single person who acts as the main point of contact. Whilst you may not need to contact your Account Manager to get a repair done, for example, he/she remains the go to person who is most familiar with your requirements.
Larger security companies can also offer attractive finance options. Look for those that offer in-house finance solutions, such as STANLEY Assure rental finance, as these are far more flexible than going through third parties and can be structured to suit your specific requirements. For example, you may want to mix and match what you pay for within those terms and be able to adjust the terms as your circumstances change.
Is there a process in place?
Ultimately, whether it’s a small or large company, it’s the approach they take that matters and how they fulfil your security needs. This approach should start with a security risk assessment alongside a review of the current security. If it’s a small, straightforward project your Account Manager should have the expertise to be able to design the security system. If your requirements result in a more complex system then a dedicated in-house system designer should be involved.
The system design should be presented to you along with a detailed estimate and a time line for the works. A scrupulous, competent security company will try to utilise any existing security equipment you may have in place, to help keep costs down and wastage to a minimum. Ideally the company should not be tied into a specific manufacturer so they can recommend product that suits your needs, not one that matches their product portfolio first and foremost. They should also be up to date with latest developments in security.
Once you green light the project, the installation commences to a set timeline. If you are using a smaller local company, make sure they have sufficient staff to start the job in a timely fashion and complete it without dividing their time between other installs. If it’s a national company you opt for, check to see if they have a team locally based to you.
The last part of the project, but an extremely important one, is the Commission & Handover. It’s at this stage that you need to reconcile what was agreed and what has actually been achieved.
On going support
Once your security system is up and running, you need regular maintenance, so check what servicing options are available through your installer. Also, what level of response you can expect if something goes wrong with the system; how quickly can they respond?
Lastly, is your security provider able to offer system monitoring?
The key to success in most security installations is listening to the customer’s requirements and designing a system that meets those needs. An off the peg suit may do well for work, but an off the shelf security system rarely does.