The Partnership Link – Residential Property Managers and Security Vendors

Residential property managers have a variety of issues to consider ensuring the success of their properties. As a manager they are not only focusing on their resident’s needs as well as positive experiences within the community at large, but managing their complex operational resources and budgets making every effort at attempting to balance those resources to meet their organizational objectives. This includes their budget for security, which traditionally is severely deficient or is deferred with risk based focus on more pressing operational expenses or margin increase. Often, the view of security is that it is an intangible, an expense that might not have more immediate effects on their return on investment, (You don’t need it until you need it). It brings to question the old idiom, “You get what you pay for”, where a property manager recognizes the need for security, but has to balance strict corporate financial controls to maximize organizational profits with meeting a need that might not produce tangible results immediately. The result often times being property managers contracting with sub-standard or the lowest priced technically acceptable security vendors that eventually become more of an issue then a solution.

Which brings to question, how do property managers get the most out of what they pay for? Well, there is not one simple solution or cure all as each property is different based on geographic location, size, classification rating, etc. However, there are some aspects that are organic to all property managers across the nation. Items like site security assessments, CPTED method, defense in-depth, policy initiatives, etc. But, one of the most important aspects to a robust physical security system is what we at Talos Secure Group, Inc. call the “partnership link”, which focuses on the relationship based human aspect of a property managers security needs. The partnership link starts at the solicitation phase when a property manager is seeking a security vendor and continues throughout the duration of the work performance.

What is the partnership link? The partnership link is deeper than the client vendor business relationship. It is the deeper human relationship element between the property manager and the security vendor finding solutions to meet each party’s goals and objectives. For property managers it is protection of assets as well as ensuring the safety and security of their residents within budget constraints, for Talos Secure Group, Inc. it is providing a quality security service and advice to make our communities safer at a reasonable price. Talos Secure Group, Inc. believes in these partnerships, integrating ourselves as a part of the property managers business objectives in protecting their success. It is a proactive relationship that is solutions based and result oriented.

With all this being said we believe that property managers need to be cognizant of the balance concerning selecting a security vendor in developing the relationship link. Although the relationship link is a symbiotic, not exclusive to one party, it starts with the property manager understanding their security need and vetting vendors to fill that need. Some aspects that property manager should always consider within doing their due diligence to ensure a relationship oriented vendor:

·  Property managers need to think about and assess their security needs. Although they might not be security professionals, they have an idea of their issues and possible solutions to those issues.

·  Many contract security vendors only have one line of business, usually providing guard services, thus their knowledge base is only focused on that service. So, in effect when the property manager contacts the vendor for consultation the vendors focus is selling those guard services to max, not taking into account the actual property managers protection needs. A capable vendor that has multiple specialties will listen to the property managers issues and articulate a solution that meets the property manager’s needs through an in-depth assessment to recommend a practical and cost-effective solution, sometimes Guard Services might not be required.

· It is important that property managers truly vet their prospective vendors. Not just in the aspect of performance history, but who is the organizations leadership, their backgrounds, their capabilities, their vision and organizational culture, etc. There are many vendors out there that make claims or false truths to deceptively make their competency level to be far superior then it is. Property managers should research the vendor, look at their web-site, verify their PPO Licenses, ask for references, be skeptical, ask questions and ask them to quantify their claims of who they say they are and their backgrounds.

· When a property manager starts to speak to vendors during solicitation ask the vendor how they will be a partner in your success. How will they meet your needs within your budget, get involved and see what solutions the vendor articulates, can that solution be developed within budget? Is the vendor personable and knowledgeable in articulating a variety of ideas or are they just trying to up-sell you with their primary business line? The partnership link will begin here, an honest, open and ethical partnership to execute an effective security solution at a reasonable cost.

Bottom line, if a property manager does their due-diligence based on relationship-partnership link oriented criteria with an understanding of their security needs they can better forecast security vendor results and performance. This is as real security professionals are passionate about what they do, who they are and enthusiastic about meeting their client needs. Relationship oriented vendors have a clear vision, knowledge and background that can be vetted and necessary to create a partnership link. These vendors are willing to work with property managers to find reasonable solutions giving professional advice and work hard to make find the right solution for a client maximizing what the property manager is budgeted for.

Robert Smith is the Executive Managing Director of Talos Secure Group, Inc.