Is it Better to Outsource Security or Handle it in-House?

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All businesses need some form of security. Thousands of businesses fall victim to crime each year, and there’s no sign of that abating any time soon. That’s the sad reality, I’m afraid. But what can you do to protect your livelihood?

A security team is essential these days; no business is safe without one. But how should you handle it? Should you employ and train and payroll your own in-house security team? Or should you outsource, and leave it to the professionals? There are many good security companies out there like CDX Security that have security guards in Liverpool and many different other areas within the UK. They do a very good job but the question is, should you hire them or hire people in-house?

There’s pros and cons to both options, outlined below. 

Handling it In-house

Pros

  • Anybody you hire to be a full time member of staff will undoubtedly have a stronger connection to your business, your team, your products/services, and your needs. There’s no replacement for a good reliable employee who shows up every day, knows what is expected of them, and delivers it consistently. If you outsource, you lose that reliability.
  • It will often work out cheaper for you to hire your own security staff. Short term, you will pay out more for interviewing and training etc, but long term you will see the savings from employing your own team.
  • If you hire in-house, you don’t need to worry about making sure your security staff are SIA (Security Industry Authority) licenced. All private security firms must comply with this mandatory licencing body, and you will pay a premium for SIA licenced security officers.
  • If you hire your own team, you know that they’re priorities are the same as yours. If you outsource, you know that the security firm you hire is also trying to run a business and to make money. This can be seen as a clash of interests, and can lead to mistrust between your company and your contractor. 

Cons

  • This may seem contradictory to what was mentioned above, but handling security in-house can work out to be more expensive, depending on your business needs. If you have a large site that needs 24/7 monitoring, 365 days a year, you will find that what could have been a cheaper option has now turned into a significant drain on your bottom line. Figure out exactly what your needs are before you make any decisions about what to do!
  • Again, a downside to a pro mentioned above. If you do hire your own team, you don’t have the peace of mind that your staff are SIA licenced. This means that while they wouldn’t be operating illegally (they are part of your team, not private security), they may not be completely up to date with the latest regulations and rules. This can lead to problems if someone acts outside the boundaries of what is required from a security officer.
  • It’s always difficult to get rid of a poorly performing staff member, and a security team employee is no different. However, if you had outsourced, you could simply contact your provider and request a personnel change, and they will be more than happy to accommodate. After all, they want to keep your business too!

Outsourcing

Pros

  • Right off the bat it’s worth mentioning again the SIA licencing scheme. As soon as you hire a private security firm, you know that they must be SIA licenced (or else they wouldn’t be operating legally), and they will be up to date and in the know on all the latest rules and regulations that govern the security industry. This licence is worth its weight in gold when it comes to peace of mind that your security team are acting as they should, and will be providing you with the best possible service. 
  • Private security firms will offer flexible and customisable schedules to work around you and your business needs. Remember, they want you to hire them, so lay it all out on the table for them and find out if they can deliver what you need. You will generally find that they are willing to offer a wide range of solutions, and sometimes alternatives that you may not have considered yourself. This can also be more cost-effective.
  • Talking of cost, it’s important to remember that there’s no definitive answer to what the costliest way is to proceed with security. Again, this entirely depends on your business and your needs. Having said that, in the long run, you can end up saving money if you employ a good reliable private security firm. Not only in the money you pay out to them, but in the effectiveness of their work; saving you money on damage or theft losses.

Cons

  • The main downside of outsourcing is that you never really know what you’re going to get until you’ve got it. Sure, you can do your research, and you definitely should, but every security officer is different, every day, every job, is different. There is no guarantee that you’re going to get what you pay for. And while you can of course take this up with the firm you hire, you may be stuck with them for a minimum contract until you can change provider. Always check for SIA licencing and other accreditations, along with proof of insurance. Speak to other business owners too, and check the feedback on review aggregator sites.
  • Ultimately you will have less control over who turns up to work on any given day. Most firms will try to ensure the same staff turn up to the same jobs, but that’s not always possible. And if something goes wrong on the day your regular security officer isn’t there, the stand-in may not know the specific requirements needed for operating on your site. You have no say over who turns up, how they conduct themselves, and their chosen methods. You can talk to them and try to work with them as much as you like, but ultimately, they report to their boss at the security firm, not you. 

It’s not an easy decision to make, and once again the deciding factor should always be what you and your business needs! Don’t take this decision lightly, and always shop around for the best providers out there if you choose to outsource, and make sure they’re licenced and accredited!