It’s frustrating when my potential clients don’t understand that when they hire self-employed guards, they put their business, their staff and the security guard themselves at great risk.
Remember that all it takes to be a security guard is to pass training and receive a certificate. After that, any agency can scoop them up, advertise they have security officers available and then sell their services to you. You might think you’re getting a great deal as self-employed guards are usually far cheaper than anything Magenta can provide.
What you might not understand is that the benefits you lose far outweigh the few quid saved, to the point that self-employed security can even put your business in danger. Here’s a few examples of what’s missing when you use self-employed security:
No Back Up
Security works primarily as a deterrent, so simply having the officer visible and on site is typically enough to keep your business safe. However, an especially determined criminal may still break in to your premises, attacking the security officer in the process.
Not only do they take off with your stock, the officer you employed could be in critical condition until someone finds them. If the attack happened at night, it could be hours before they get any help.
When you hire security, all you see is the guard and, if they’re self-employed, that’s all you get. But at Magenta, along with the guard you get an entire network backing them up, with check calls every hour into our control room and mobile units that can respond immediately to any problems.
Not long ago, one of our guards didn’t respond to a random health and safety call. Our control centre knew something was wrong, so they alerted our mobile unit. They found him passed out from a stroke but thanks to our support team he was able to get the medical assistance he needed, while also providing an immediate replacement so that our client’s service had minimal interruption.
No Minimum Wage
Along with cutting out any infrastructure cost, another reason agencies can undercut legitimate security companies is that they can pay self-employed guards under minimum wage. Once the agency takes their cut, the guards are left with very little to live on, often having to work hundreds of hours a week or multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
Someone who’s stressed and sleep deprived is in no state to actively monitor and protect your business. In fact, they’ll probably be more interested in finding an opportunity to catch up on their sleep than keep an eye out for potential threats. No one tries their hardest when they’re not valued, so don’t be surprised if the budget security you hire doesn’t put in the effort or even actively undermines your security.
At Magenta, every one our staff receive all the benefits of being full time employees. No one works excessive hours, they get holiday and sick pay and we even do our best to place them close to their homes. The effort that we put into looking after them, they pass on to looking after your business.
No Sick Pay
Someone who’s self-employed also doesn’t get sick pay. While they could report to their agency that they can’t work, it’s more likely that fear of losing a day’s wages or even their job causes them to work through their illness.
This is dangerous for two reasons. One, someone who’s ill won’t be alert and vigilant, undermining the entire reason they’re there in the first place. Two, they could spread their illness into your business and beyond, putting you, your staff and their families at risk.
All Magenta staff receive sick pay, allowing them to recuperate and remain isolated. While they recover, we immediately send out appropriate replacement staff so that the service you pay us for and the safety of your business is uninterrupted.
Now that you know the hidden dangers of self-employed security, what can you do to stop it? For now, simply not hiring self-employed guards can help to minimise the demand but the only long term solution is for the security industry to be regulated by full business licensing.
I’m actively campaigning for business licensing, along with fellow reputable security companies. Until we’re successful, staying informed is the best way to protect yourself from rogue agencies and shoddy service, so share this blog post to do your part in keeping UK businesses safe.
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