Many consumers must be aware of security/patrol companies who are taking advantage of the tough economic times we're currently combating. We have found that many unlicensed security guards are being placed on duty posts without required licenses and permits which not only brings liability to the patrol company, but to the client as well. To save and make a quick buck, some companies (and unlicensed companies which don't exist) are not meeting the requirements set by the state so they can save money and underbid to secure contracts they do not qualify for.
In an effort to better inform our clients and future clients what to look for and be aware of, we have developed this resource page so you can pick the right company and assure you are not only getting the service you're paying for, but also having licensed guards patrolling your communities and properties.
1. CHECKLIST FOR HIRING SECURITY GUARD SERVICES - The California Association of Licensed Security Agencies, Guards & Associates (CALSAGA) has developed a questionnaire for consumers to find a legitimate company to handle their security & patrol needs. 2. COMPLAINT LEAD FORM - The California Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security & Investigative Services (BSIS) is the agency that regulates Private Patrol Companies. This is a complaint form to report any suspected unlicensed activity.
1. How can I check to see if my current patrol company is licensed?
License information is available online on the BSIS website. You can check a company or guard license by clicking here and selecting "Private Patrol Operator".
2. I know patrol companies have to be licensed by the State of California, what other licenses are required?
Most cities require a business license to work within their city. This includes out-of-city businesses. Contact your local business license division for inquiries on your patrol company. Additionally, copies of worker's compensation and liability insurance should be obtained which is usually required.
3. I have a security guard on my property. Can I ask him to see his permits?
You have every right to ask for the guard's licenses and permits as a client. The guard must show you his/her permits upon request while on duty. By law permits must be in the guard's possession while at work.
4. I recently found out that the security company on my property is unlicensed. Who can I report this to?
BSIS has a form to report unlicensed activity. If you know you're patrol company is operating without a license, whether it's the company or one of their employees, you can file the following complaint form by clicking here.
5. I received several quotes for service. I noticed one company gave a really low quote nobody could compete with. Why is this?
Some companies can offer low quotes for several reasons. One of them is that the company is so large, they profit by volume which usually means the service is sometimes not all that great (not in all cases). Another reason is that the company may not be paying the required licenses, insurances, employee training, etc. so that they can better compete. Generally, you get what you pay for.
6. I noticed that the company I hired provides guards without patches on their uniforms and they drive plain cars. Can they do this?
NO. the California Business & Professions Code requires that guards wear shoulder patches and a badge when in uniform (B&P 7582.26(f)). Additionally, vehicles used for patrol must be marked in accordance with California Vehicle Code 25279. Guards should be easily identified by you and your residents. In certain cases, uniforms are not required (i.e. loss prevention, executive protection, etc.).
7. The security company I have placed an unlicensed guard on my property and claims he didn't know his guard didn't have a license. What can I do?
It is the responsibility (State law) for the patrol company to verify and assure their guards are licensed and trained before being put to work (B&P Code 7583.2(e)). There is no excuse to have an unlicensed guard on duty. You can report known unlicensed activity, like mentioned above, by clicking here.