What is Boutique Security?

In researching your options for private security service, you’ve likely found that despite having different names and uniforms, many security companies seem the same. They all promise professional, reliable service at a competitive rate. Many boast of the training their guards receive and of the rigorous background checks they perform during the hiring process. Virtually all advertise that they are “licensed, bonded, and insured,” despite the fact that this represents the bare minimum standards any security agency must meet in order to operate. In light of so many repetitive claims and descriptions of quality, it can be difficult to determine the best security agency for your needs.


This is where we distinguish ourselves. Rather than offer our own claims of quality, dependability, and professionalism (which, while true, does nothing to set us apart from our competitors), we prefer to share our overall philosophy and operating model so you can decide if it aligns with your own values.


Boutique defined

A boutique is defined as “a business that focuses on a small segment of a niche – serving clients who want a personalized experience and who want to know that they are getting the very best products or services.” That is, a boutique does not aim to compete directly with all players in a particular industry. Rather, it offers specialized, typically high-end service to a smaller segment of on overall market that seeks quality over economy.


To this end, we proudly assure all of our potential clients that we are NOT the cheapest provider in their area of security services. We realize that cost may be the main factor in deciding whether or not to hire security, and we happily direct those clients to other agencies which specialize in budget-friendly options. However, we also realize that some clients demand more from a security provider than a “warm body,” and are willing to pay a higher (yet still reasonable) premium to obtain it. When you partner with CERBERUS, you can be assured that the guards dispatched to your property or place of business all have either a law enforcement or military background, are in-shape, and are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to protect you and your assets.


Why are some companies so cheap?

You may be wondering why there is such a vast disparity in the pricing of security services, ranging from $18-20 an hour to upwards of $60 an hour. This disparity results primarily from two main factors:


(1) company size

(2) guard quality


The cheapest companies are invariably also the largest, typically operating on a regional or nation scale (e.g. Allied Universal, Securitas, G4S). While these companies are perfectly willing to provide budget-friendly “solutions” (more on that later) to price sensitive clients, they are only able to do so by operating at a massive scale and by hiring virtually anyone who can pass a criminal background check.


While a local security company may service anywhere from 3 to 15 client accounts at any one time, a large national company will service tens of thousands. This allows them to charge only 2-3 dollars more per hour than what they pay the guard and still make millions in profit. In contrast, a local security company cannot operate on such thin margins. One broken piece of equipment or one lawsuit would quickly erase any profits, forcing them into bankruptcy.


Regarding guard quality, the hiring standards of virtually all large national and regional players tend towards the minimum. Due to the low rate of pay they offer their guards (in order to remain the cheapest option to clients), their turnover rates are astronomical. Virtually 80% of all guards they hire quit or switch companies within a year. As a result of this constant churning of guards, they are continually filling new vacancies with more “warm bodies” in order to keep the whole operation running. If they became more selective in order to reduce turnover, they would be forced to pay more to attract higher quality guards, thus threatening their position in the market as the cheapest provider. In contrast, local security companies virtually always offer higher rates of pay than the national brands, and consequently retain their guards much longer, developing a relationship that can last for years.


I want cheap security - so what?

You may be wondering if there are any real drawbacks to simply soliciting the lowest bidder when it comes to security services. After all, isn’t security’s main role just to “observe and report” any incidents to law enforcement? Does working security really require much skill?


Consider this – in an era where mass shootings, theft, and random acts of violence are increasingly commonplace, waiting on the police to intervene in an unfolding crisis can have fatal consequences. As important as police are in keeping communities safe and maintaining law and order, there is little they can do to prevent crime in areas where they are not already physically present. Their main role involves responding to and investigating criminal incidents, not thwarting them before they happen.


In contrast, a high quality and experienced on-site security guard such as one provided by CERBERUS creates both a visual deterrent to any would-be wrongdoer and the ability to stop crimes in progress. A low quality, inexperienced security guard (such as those often hired by national and regional chains) on the other hand can actually become a liability and end up costing a client much more in damages than any money they might have saved on their hourly rate.


To put it simply, security is increasingly tasked with deterring and intervening in serious, violent crimes that require a high level of skill to handle properly. A “cheap” security guard is only cheap to the extent that nothing ever happens on your property. If it does, the “cheap” guard’s inability to respond swiftly and effectively could prove disastrous.