What Condo Buildings are Looking for in a Security Company
By: Phillip Livingston
Date Published: September 25, 2020
When it comes to condo security, buildings want a team of professionals who make them feel safe. Providing security for a condo community is a little different than working for a commercial business, and seasoned security companies understand this. While many of the procedures are the same as those carried out in an office building or a mall, condo security is “more personal.” People live in these buildings, and if there’s a security issue, it impacts the residents’ private lives.
That being said, condo security can still be a hard sell. While the value of having a security team on the premises is obvious, condo corporations are always going to think about the costs involved. Some boards may feel that it is just too expensive to hire a security company, especially if they care for a smaller community. Similarly, if the security budget is relatively small, it can be difficult for the board or property manager to convince residents to pay more money to hire a security company. The attitude about security in a condo also depends largely on the demographics of the residents, and whether they own or rent their units. If a building is largely owner-inhabited, it is likely to have a higher degree of security.
Though some buildings will never bring a security team on board, two things generally push a condo building to at least inquire about security:
- When a high-end/luxury condo has a dedicated budget for security
- If a recent crime trend has emerged in a condo building
When a prospective client does reach out, here are some of the key things they will be looking for.
Security guards are being asked to do more
When a corporation hires a security company, they are looking for professionals to help them maintain the safety and security of the building, and minimize any criminal and/or disruptive activities. However, security firms are being asked to take on a number of additional responsibilities. This includes maintaining a detailed summary of each shift, checking up on equipment, issuing and tracking visitor parking, and sometimes managing parcel delivery and pickups.
Make sure your team is prepared to deliver more than standard services. Having a guard tour system like Patrol Points, designed by Condo Control Central, can set your company up for success and make you stand out from the competition. An online security system allows management to schedule upcoming or recurring patrols so that security and concierge can check their schedule beforehand and prepare for upcoming patrols. But the system can do so much more. Staff have access to security logs as well as incident reporting, key tracking, and authorized entry. Each guard has their own account. They can complete all tasks and conduct assigned patrols using just their phone. Officers don’t even need a WiFi connection to perform security patrols, which comes in handy when patrolling parking garages, stairwells, and basements.
The software also maintains all data on the cloud, which gives you the ability to run reports and share key information with board members or the property manager. This allows you to show your clients how your services have improved security and reduced incidents for the building. When property managers and boards are shown data to back up the investment in security, they are more likely to accept the cost.
Patrol Points was designed to improve and streamline the patrol guard checkpoint experience. With this resource, security companies can reduce the time and resources needed to provide safe, efficient, and affordable patrol guard security.
Companies must show that they can do something that technology cannot
There tends to be an overreliance on one element of security, and that is security cameras. Cameras are cost-effective, and can discourage some unwanted activity, but too often, there is no one available to monitor those cameras. With this strategy, buildings can only react to destructive activity after it has happened.
Yes, boards can go back and see what happened in a common element like a pool or an elevator; having cameras can help to protect those things. Sometimes the person who caused damage to the building or harm to other residents can be identified and reprimanded. But the cameras alone won’t solve everything. No matter how many cameras are in the building, unless the residents believe they are living in a secure environment, the system can still fall apart.
Only people can defuse a fight or stop someone who is in the process of vandalizing a common element. Trained guards have an understanding of how to assess a situation, and what to do when the unexpected occurs. Security tech can be an excellent assistant, but it can’t replace humans altogether.
Offer an integrated approach to security
An integrated approach to security is necessary to have a good program within a condo corporation. Incorporating cameras and guards is ideal. That’s because security and concierge can’t be two places at once. There is a lot of ongoing activity with visitors always coming and going. Someone might need assistance with visitor parking and they might have to help with package processing, too. During those times, cameras can catch something that the guards may miss.
Having security software is an added benefit. Guards can accomplish more, even though they are responsible for completing more tasks. Plus, the data and information logged into the system can be very useful to the entire security team. Instead of having to tell your colleague about everything that happened during your shift, they can refer to the log and follow up with you if they need additional information about anything.
Provide clear information about licences, processes and skills
Most security managers will agree that condo corporations will base much of their final decision on pricing. But we all know that the most affordable option isn’t always the best one. Don’t sell your company short; instead, make sure your team has all of the necessary licences, that they are properly trained, and that they have the skills needed to provide a high level of service. Below is a checklist of items condo corporations will want to see.
- Mandatory provincial or state training and licensing
- Liability insurance
- Clean criminal record
- Valid first aid certification (this may not be mandatory depending on where you live)
Specialized services and/or equipment
- Insurance to carry batons, handcuffs and other defensive equipment
- Insurance for valet parking, if applicable
- Security software
Standard operating procedures
- Emergency contacts
- Fire alarm monitoring
- Process for acquiring key information about amenities, mechanical rooms, emergency equipment, etc.
- Process for acquiring and learning about building rules, parking policies, etc.
- Ongoing or periodic follow up by a security manager
- Replacement procedures for staff to fill in during vacations, illness or other staffing situations
It’s good to have your own processes in place, but be prepared to make adjustments. Different condos have different procedures, so you may want to ask them about their:
- Lost and found policy
- Process for handling packages
- Fire alarm procedures
- Visitor policies
- Building rules
- Instructions for use of security systems, including display monitors and fob access
- What site training is provided to staff
Securing new clients can be a challenge, but companies that can offer an integrated approach to security, and provide clear data to support the effectiveness of their services, are much more likely to grow their business and build long-lasting relationships.
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