The $31 billion security services market is experiencing new growth opportunities, making now an excellent time to invest in establishing and expanding security businesses.
With the end of the recession, corporate profits have recovered, making more funds available for outsourced security guard services.
Furthermore, the explosion of new businesses in the last five years has resulted in a larger clientele pool, but competition is fierce.
As a result of new technologies, IBIS World predicts that security firms will face fierce competition from security alarm service systems, which provide remote monitoring and off-site response services, over the next five years.
How should you go about growing your security business, and what growth strategies should you employ to compete effectively? Here are our top marketing tips:
Tips for growing a security business
1. Make your company stand out
It is critical to stand out in the security industry. To differentiate yourself from the competition, create compelling customer value propositions (CVPs). Without strong CVPs, price becomes the only real way for potential clients to differentiate your company from the competition.
Great CVPs speak to the needs of the prospect and understand the language they use. Many security professionals will market to their leanings rather than those of their customer base. Smart marketers, on the other hand, will:
- Describe how their product or service solves a specific problem.
- Provide quantifiable outcomes for their services.
- Provide specific reasons why their company is superior to competitors.
- Specifically address specific problem areas
For instance, instead of saying, “We have 50 years of collective security and law enforcement experience,” respond to your client’s wants and needs with greater specificity. “For over two decades, we’ve been meeting the security needs of property owners’ associations.”
2. Be a tech-savvy provider
According to Gary Kuty of Guardian 8, one of the key differences between large national security firms and smaller, regional players is technology adoption. If you want to invest in a growing security company, technology, especially mobile technology, can assist with almost any security guard’s task. Real-time incident communications, web-based reporting tools, GPS location data, and security guard management software quickly replace traditional “pen – and – paper guard tours,” and small businesses are struggling to keep up.
Kuty emphasizes that every company must integrate technology into its operations or partner with a provider who can assist them if they lack in-house resources. You don’t have to go all-in with so many options available, so Kuty suggests that small businesses identify the most critical areas where efficiencies can be realized, and services can be streamlined.
“I believe prospective end users are looking for companies that are technologically savvy,” he says, “because most of the larger companies that guard companies serve have the technology internally, and they expect their vendors to have the same technology.”
Technology is also a big game changer and a good hiring incentive and should be at the root of your expansion plan.
3. Keep an eye on all competitors, including internal ones.
When pitching your security services, don’t just compare yourself to the competition. Keep in mind that many businesses may be considering hiring their security team rather than hiring a private security firm. Prepare for this possibility. Even if it isn’t mentioned, assume it’s an option on the table. This article by Ahmad Hamidi of Secure Guard Security Services in California, 8 Reasons Private Security Is Better Than Internal Security Staff, provides some useful pointers that you can incorporate into your customer discussions and marketing materials:
- Emphasize the lower risk of hiring an outside company.
- Highlight the time savings that can be realized due to the lack of training.
- Notify them of the labor costs (benefits, salaries, and employment taxes) that would be incurred if they hired internally.
- Discuss how you handle all aspects of security staff management, such as coordinating staff schedules and filling in for an absent guard.
- Emphasize the flexibility you offer in terms of tailoring your services to their specific requirements.
4. Know the law.
When launching a security guard business, it’s critical to understand the laws. Security guards, as previously stated, do not have the same authority and responsibilities as police officers. They do, however, have the authority to make citizen arrests when necessary. Of course, some laws apply to how your guards behave and your overall business practices. Also, many states require individuals to complete a course with the official certification before working as a security guard.
To run a business, you must first create a legal business entity, buy insurance, obtain any necessary permits and licenses, enroll with the IRS, and create a business-specific bank account. Knowing the legalities of setting up your organization, handling finances, paying employees, and so on is critical to getting your business off to a good start and should be thoroughly researched.
5. Select the right people.
Knowing how to establish a security company includes understanding that its employees are the foundation of any successful business. Choosing the right person for the right job can make or break a company, and this is especially true when it relates to security guards versus other jobs that need to be performed in your company.
While you want a strong, imposing presence in the field as a security officer, you don’t want that same intimidating bouncer working as a receptionist in your front office. Furthermore, you don’t want the same person guarding a door as maintaining your facilities or doing the financial books – different people for different jobs.
6. Incorporate your team into your growth strategies
Don’t make the mistake of underinvesting in your employees. Security guard companies have recently fallen into what Courtney Sparkman, CEO, and Founder of OfficeReports.com, a company that manufactures real-time security guard management software, refers to “the Security Guard Industry Death Spiral,” in which guards criticize their employers for not paying them enough. Their customers are chastised for not treating them with enough respect.
Sparkman emphasizes the importance of security guard companies taking responsibility and consistently identifying and rewarding high-performing officers, citing ASIS International’s Ralph Day Security Officer of the Year Award program as an example. He also urges security firms to find ways to establish negotiations with their team to have a clear understanding of the needs and challenges of their employees. Go above and beyond by remembering to share your vision and growth plans with them. Remember that every employee contributes to your success.
7. Instead of selling, educate your buyers.
The majority of us despise being sold to. Today’s purchasing behavior is more influenced by self-education. Your customers educate themselves online, listen to what other buyers have to say, and are better informed earlier in the process. When you knock on their door, they will most likely have a good idea of what the market has to offer and might also have a price in mind.
Accepting and acting on these shifts in buyer behavior should be a critical component of your growth strategy.
Instead of just selling, think about what your buyers want and use that to your advantage.
- Create a blog and share best practices in your industry. Here are some more topics to consider writing about.
- Contact your target prospect list and ask them to come for a seminar or workshop to take lessons about these practices and what they should look out for when developing a security guard program.
- Search for which industry websites your buyers visit. Contact these publications and ask if you can be interviewed or if they will accept a guest blog/article submission. If you need assistance, hire a writer to turn your ideas into a publishable piece.
8. Evaluate your pricing strategy
One foolproof way of winning more bids is to keep your prices low. Nevertheless, that’s easier said than done. When you set your prices too low, you put yourself in an untenable position. If you set your prices too high, your competitors will quickly undercut you. What should I do?
To determine the best rate, you can offer clients, consider your desired profit margin and overhead costs. On our website, we provide free calculators to assist you in crunching the numbers.
You should also keep in mind that companies that provide better services can charge more. It is critical to understand how to justify why your company may be more expensive than competitors.
Bringing strong CVPs to the table will help you rationalize a higher rate. For instance, a guard management software and recurring invoice software that helps make you more liable than the next company increases your value. Clean uniforms and improved channels of communication will also bring value to your company. Good reviews and testimonials can also help you prove your worth.
9. Do your research
Good marketing entails more than just branding and advertising; it also entails understanding the specific needs of specific prospects and allowing them to guide your approach. Frequently, adjusting and improving your contract proposals to meet those requirements can mean the difference between a win and a rejection.
To better understand your prospects’ specific frustrations, ask them about their previous experiences with security companies. If they’re looking for a new security company, odds are they have some feedback on the one they just fired. This feedback can be incorporated into your value propositions to increase the likelihood of connecting with similar leads.
10. Examine your reviews
Any security digital marketing strategy must include online reviews. Suppose property managers don’t find satisfied clients. In that case, they will check your company’s pages on online review sites like Google and Yelp, which will significantly reduce your chances of landing the deal.
Improving your reviews necessitates attacking the issue from both sides. Reach out to anyone who has given you a negative review and see if you can persuade them to change their rating. Simultaneously, encourage and incentivize existing customers to leave you positive online reviews.
11. Referrals and testimonials
Request testimonials from customers for use on your corporate website and in advertising. This gives your company credibility and serves as an example of a positive track record. Asking satisfied customers for referrals is another way to gain positive and free marketing. It’s a simple step that many smaller businesses overlook or are too afraid to take; leave extra business cards. Find businesses in a related field or meet the needs of a similar target audience, such as a private investigator who does not do security or limo service that caters to wealthy clients’ needs and agrees to refer customers to one another.