The California Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) regulate the security industry. Information regarding security companies may be obtained from BSIS by calling (800) 952-5210 or by using this link

Private patrol companies employ security guards and dispatch them to protect persons or property or to prevent theft. The company must be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the security guards must be registered with the Department. Licensing and registration involve criminal history background checks through the Department of Justice and FBI. The company may contract with you, but an individual security guard may not, unless he or she is also licensed as a private patrol operator.

On-Scene Security Services, Inc. has prepared the following checklist of questions, which may help in providing a better understanding of the type of service and quality you should expect from a security company.

• Is the company licensed by the State?
All security companies must have a PPO License Number issued by BSIS. The license number must appear on all advertising, business cards, letterhead, brochures, etc. Some local municipal governments may require additional licenses and/or permits.

• Are the branch offices, if any, also licensed?
Each branch office must be licensed and the license certificate prominently displayed.

• Does each of the company’s Security Officers have a valid “Guard Registration Card”?
All Security Officers must have in their possession a valid “Guard Registration Card” and picture identification in order to work.

• Can the company provide proof of Worker’s Compensation Insurance?
State law requires employers to provide Worker’s Compensation for all employees. If an Officer is injured on your property and the security company does not have proper insurance, you could be liable. It is a good idea to have the insurance company mail the certificate of insurance directly to you.

• Can the company provide proof of General Liability Insurance?
Check the amount of coverage. The security company and its Officers are acting as your agent. If the security company is not properly insured you could be held liable for any wrongdoing on their part.
It is a good idea to have the insurance company list you as additionally insured and mail the certificate of insurance directly to you.

• Does the company conduct drug screen tests of its employees?
Most businesses today conduct drug screen tests of prospective employees and many conduct reasonable suspension and post accident checks after hire.

• What is the uniformed appearance of the company’s Security Officers?
Section 7582.28 of the Business and Professions Code states that a private patrol licensee, or officer, director, partner, manager, or employee of a private patrol licensee wearing a distinctive uniform shall wear a patch on each shoulder of his or her uniform that reads “private security” and that includes the full name of the private patrol company by which the person is employed or for which the person is a representative and a badge or cloth patch on the upper left breast of the uniform. The badge must also include an identification number or the words “private security”.
A Security Officer at your place of business represents you and your company. A sharp, well-uniformed Officer reflects favorably on your business.

• Does the company pay its employees legally?
State law requires employers to pay all employees a minimum wage of $6.75 per hour and overtime under the following conditions:
• Over 8 hours in a day and/or over 40 hours in a week must be paid at 1.5 times the normal hourly rate.
• Over 12 hours in a single day must be paid at 2.0 times the normal hourly rate.
• The first 8 hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of a workweek must be paid at 1.5 times the normal hourly rate.
• Over 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day of a workweek must be paid at 2.0 times the normal hourly rate.
An employee, who is working for a company that is not paying in accordance with the law, may indicate that the employee is not able to work legally as a security officer because of a criminal background or an illegal immigration status. It may also indicate that the employee has a poor work history and is unable to gain and maintain employment. An employee that is not being paid legally, is being taken advantage of by a company willing to disregard the law.

• Do you believe the company can perform as promised at the price quoted?
All security companies have similar fixed costs in terms of doing business. Payroll expenses, insurance costs, licensing fees, maintenance and overhead are just some of the factors, which help determine the price a security company charges for its services.
If a security company charges too low of a price for its services, more than likely, they are not properly licensed, insured or paying their employees in accordance with the fair labor standards act. Costs are being cut somewhere, possibly at the expense of the customer, the employee and/or the service they are providing.
The old adage “You get what you pay for” is just as true in the security industry as it is in any other business.