Take Precautions When Hiring Private Security Guards
If your community is frustrated with crime in the area and with the police response, it might consider hiring a private security company. But it’s important for an association to review the contract before hiring a private security company. That’s because, typically, security companies provide owners with form contracts to sign. Form contracts often don’t spell out many of the details needed in the agreement, and can result in poor service and overcharges. Also, a form contract could make an association liable for an event or an action that was the security company’s fault.
What key provisions should your contract with a security company include? There are six key provisions to include. Make sure that:
- Requirements are spelled out, especially the qualifications for the guards;
- Coverage requirements are spelled out;
- The guard company is an independent contractor;
- The association is not required to pay for guards’ mistakes or misdeeds;
- Insurance requirements are set; and
- The association has a right to terminate the contract for any reason.
Because of the many issues involved, it’s a good idea to have a specialist look over the proposed security company contract before signing it.
Remember that it’s very important to spell out the qualifications of the guards the security firm will provide. When a security company gets a contract, it often holds a “cattle call” to interview many guards, with little or no regard for their qualifications. If the company you hire uses this method of recruiting, your association could end up with some big headaches. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the security company provides guards who have been thoroughly screened and are fit to do their jobs. They should meet state and local requirements for security guards, including a criminal background check, and pass an annual physical.
Guards also should understand English and speak simple phrases well enough to handle emergency situations. The guards should be certified in CPR and first aid. Although this isn’t related to security, guards are often first on the scene of an accident, and such training could help save lives. Ask your association’s attorney about using this language in your contract with a security company.
Model Contract Language: Minimum Requirements for Security Guards
All personnel assigned to this account will: (1) Possess proof of having met the requirements from the State of [insert state] and City of [insert city] for private security guards; (2) demonstrate the ability to read, write, and speak English equivalent to a high school graduate; (3) pass an annual fitness examination, including drug and alcohol testing by a licensed physician; (4) possess CPR and first aid certification as set forth by the American Red Cross or equivalent association; and (5) pass a comprehensive pre-employment background/reference check.
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