AB 685

Shaun Kelly, Tolman & Wiker, Preferred Broker

Happy New Year to Everyone,

Hope everyone is doing well considering the changes we have all had to endure personally and professionally as the result of COVID 19.

More change is coming in 2021 and we want to share with you information regarding AB 685 that was signed into law by Governor Newsom. It feels like the requirements for reporting COVID claims overlap and always fall on the back of the employer, and they do. Personally, it is difficult to stay up on all of the requirements and navigate through them all. The COVID-19 incident rates remain high in California and we are being required (AB 685) to provide written notifications to all employees and employers of subcontractors that may have been exposed to COVID-19. Besides the new notification rules, the new law also includes enhanced temporary CAL/OSHA authority.

Linked below are an overview of AB 685 and sample notification letters. Please note that the template letters should be reviewed by your legal counsel and modified for your business.

 How employers go about implementing the requirements of AB 685 is the responsibility of each employer. Our effort is to inform and make you aware of the new law. If you happen to receive a letter from one of your clients notifying you that as their subcontractor, they are notifying you that your employees may have been exposed to COVID-19. This brief overview will allow you to understand why your client sent you the letter (See Notice to Subcontractors).

 Please let us know if you have any questions and please be safe out there.

AB 685 Overview

AB 685 COVID Union Notice

AB 685 COVID Employee Notice Template

Shaun Kelly joined Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services in 2005.  He specializes in all lines of property and casualty insurance for industries including contract security firms, agriculture, construction, oil and gas. Shaun received a BS in Business Administration with a major in Finance from California State University in Fresno, California. He is an active member of several industry associations, including the Association CALSAGA, the Kern County Builders Exchange and the Independent Insurance Agents of Kern County. Shaun can be reached at 661-616-4700 or skelly@tolmanandwiker.com.



Jody Stier, TEAM Software Sales Engineer, Network Partner

Integrating your scheduling and payroll processes enhances your operational efficiency, directly benefits employees and preserves thin profit margins. 

It’s no surprise to anyone who manages a contract security company that overseeing a distributed workforce is not only complicated, but also costly. You have multiple teams spread out across multiple sites, and you’re busy staying on top of shifting expectations, requirements and regulations. Every overtime hour clocked by one of your guards eats into your already thin margins since service level agreements (SLAs) often prevent you from passing overtime and excess payroll costs onto your clients. And even when you can pass on that cost, doing so can negatively impact your customer’s satisfaction with you as a service provider

One thing that can have a noticeable impact on your bottom line while allowing you to elevate the customer experience is using an industry-specific security company scheduling software. Here are three ways the right technology can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your guard scheduling.

Integrate Scheduling with Payroll
When managing things like multiple data sources, paper timekeeping and other manual processes, it’s easy to make mistakes and not always know it. One of the surest ways to reduce errors that could be costing you time and money is to move your scheduling and payroll processes to one integrated system. With a single source of data, scheduling is handled more effectively, and the information needed to process payroll accurately is already in the system. Streamlining has the potential to cut your payroll processing time by 90%, saving you significant amounts of money and time. 

Reduce Overtime and Implement Repeatable Processes

You may not know one of your guards is clocking in overtime hours until it’s too late. By using a single, digital source for scheduling and payroll, you’re able to improve visibility over your company’s scheduling habits and identify overtime, as well as over-budget jobs. Implementing easily repeatable procedures also goes a long way in reducing the workload for your managers back-office workers, freeing up their time to focus on completing revenue-generating activities and improving service delivery to your customers, instead of spending time on manual and labor some processes. 

Keep Employees Informed with Predictive Scheduling

Predictive scheduling is a growing topic of concern for contract security companies. While not a law in the state of California, predictive scheduling bills are frequently introduced. Although none have yet to pass in the state, some individual cities have laws requiring employers to provide their hourly employees with guaranteed work and predictable schedules. In addition to avoiding fines, making sure your workforce is properly informed of scheduling changes is necessary for your guards to know where they need to be and when to deliver on SLAs, even as the schedule evolves.. Easily accessible scheduling software via a mobile app ensures your hourly workers can see their schedules anytime, from anywhere, well in advance of their scheduled shifts, and they can confirm and acknowledge any scheduling changes as they happen. 

Now, more than ever, finding ways to enhance your business’s efficiency through streamlined processes is necessary to controlling the things you can. That’s why having one scheduling solution that seamlessly connects to your accounting and financial system means the potential for big impacts across your entire business. For more tools and tips on efficient and effective scheduling, review our security company scheduling software resource suite.



Tony Unfried, CSA360

The security industry has been changing at a rapid pace. New technologies are appearing daily and 2020 was the year to adapt to change or become extinct. One newly accepted but not a real new experience we are having in the Security industry is Phygital. What is phygital? Pronounced  like fidge- ital, Phygital is the blending of the best parts of digital and physical experiences to create the best customer experience.  This has been around for years, but 2020 has made it much more obvious and brought us even new necessities.

With what 2020 brought to us, we have a new way of operating. Many people have installed kiosks to handle visitors and check them into buildings while other people have used thermal imaging to effectively monitor guest and employee temperature from a safe distance. RFID cards and mobile apps for entry and pre-screening are becoming commonplace. These phygital experiences help guests and employees feel safer as they are practicing social distancing and that presence of extra technology can provide an added feeling of security.
Using programs like text and push notification that allow your clients and guests to communicate with your team while an incident is occurring provides your clients and guests with the means to have a say in the environments in which they live, work, and play. It is a phygital experience  combined with the right technology that can help create a better experience for everyone and allow your team to effectively deal and be prepared for any threat or situation.

Phygital doesn’t just affect your guests, it can also affect your team. How can you use Phygital experiences to your advantage? Almost everyone has a smartphone these days. While some workplaces see them as a curse, you can use them to your advantage. Security software has become a very useful tool for making your team more accountable and prepared for anything. Using push notifications you can send live notifications to alert your team of a threat or issue at specific facilities or to even notify them of an open shift. This can help streamline communication in your facilities and save you time and money with the new efficiencies.

Another phygital experience that can help is e-learning for training. It is important to keep Security Officers prepared for any occasion. Requiring quick training on a regular basis will assure your security team is in the know. Using e-learning softwares, you can allow your staff to train from any device and learn and refine their physical protocols.
The world is changing faster than ever and it’s time to start thinking of ways YOU can implement these phygital experiences. With phygital services, you can create more efficient experiences for everyone. By looking into new technologies such as security softwares it can help create the ideal experience for everyone. 

Tony Unfried, CEO of CSA360, holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs and Criminal Justice from Indiana University, where he graduated with honors. While enrolled in his master’s program, Tony worked for The TJX Companies, Inc., leading the region in loss prevention and moving the company toward technology use in Security. Tony went on to join the most significant security company in Indiana, managing more than 500 employees and 50 sites, including the Indiana Convention Center, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center. Seeing a noticeable gap in technology use in the physical security sector, Tony created his first security software application, launched at the Super Bowl in 2012, and recognized twice for Excellence in Mobile Technology by Techpoint. Tony has also spoken on Tech in Physical Security on panels with ASIS and IAVM.


Debbie Howlett, TrackTik, Network Partner

With tensions at an all-time high right now, it’s important to ensure that our frontline security officers remain as calm, cool, and collected as possible during these difficult and trying times. One of the best ways a security company can ensure the safety of their security teams, and especially lone workers, is to equip them with the very best tools to support and protect them. Ensuring the safety and well-being of your security officers also confirms your commitment that as a security company you are complying with your health and safety obligations towards your security personnel. 

California, like many states across the U.S., is under a statewide order issued by California’s governor requiring people to wear face coverings while entering most indoor settings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But across the U.S., face masks have become a topic of hot debate, with some parts of the population flat-out refusing to wear masks while others argue that masks could save lives. 


As a result, there have been several instances of violence against security officers for enforcing safety policies across the country. 

In Flint, Michigan, a security officer was fatally shot after telling a customer to wear a state-mandated face mask. The officer was simply doing his job by upholding the governor’s executive order related to the Covid-19 pandemic for the safety of store employees and customers.  

In Chicago, two sisters were charged with attempted murder after they attacked a security officer in a shoe store who told them to wear face masks and use hand sanitizer. 

Another security officer, this time in Van Nuys, California, walked away from a fight with a broken arm after two men refused to wear masks inside a Target store.

Risky Work Environments

As more major U.S. retailers require their customers to wear face masks, store employees are often being confronted by unreasonable and sometimes violent customers who refuse to comply with the mask mandates. In August, Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, asked companies to hire security staff to enforce a store’s mask policy instead of burdening employees with the task. “Employees should not be expected to put their safety and their life on the line for the employer. That’s an unreasonable expectation,” Appelbaum said. 

However, security experts are also encouraging security officers to adopt calm, non-confrontational tones when speaking with customers about wearing a face mask. Instead of saying “You need to wear a face mask,” experts suggest using phrases like “This business has a policy requiring face masks? Are you able to get a face mask?” At the end of the day though, if a confrontation ensues, security officers, like store employees, should always escalate risky situations to law enforcement. 

Lone Work Safety

In the past, security companies were forced to rely on paper reports and check-ins via radio to know what was going on during an officer’s shift. Not anymore. Lone worker systems ensure that you are always aware of where your security officers are. These systems – which include GPS tracking and other key features – were designed to ensure that your workers are always safe and secure. 

Here are a few technologies that could save a security officer’s life: 

  • Instant Incident Reporting & Video Recording

Modern lone worker systems allow for your security officers to take video footage and photos in real-time at the location of an incident, while also sending instant alerts to the office support staff that something is amiss. Video recording (sometimes referred to as “Watch Mode”) can also improve lone worker safety by providing officers with the ability to record interventions and other potentially dangerous situations they may encounter during a shift. For example, let’s say that one of your security officers encounters an intruder while on patrol. Rather than attempting to describe the suspect afterwards, they can instead activate Watch Mode to capture a clear image of the perpetrator. This not only helps law enforcement take proper action, but it can also protect your officer against legal concerns if there is a dispute surrounding the incident. 

  • GPS Tracking 

One of the most frequently highlighted features of lone worker systems is GPS tracking, which allows you to keep tabs on a security officer’s location at all times. Many lone worker systems take things a step further with the implementation of geofencing systems and other alarm features. By establishing geofence boundaries for a particular site, you will automatically be notified if an officer strayed outside their assigned area. This allows you to check in on your officer and make sure everything is okay.

  • Checkpoints

Checkpoints along your security officer’s route also make it easier to track their progress and safety. Lone worker systems can send automatic notifications when an officer reaches a checkpoint, or when they fail to show up on time. This allows you to become aware of a potential incident, even if your officer hasn’t called in to report a problem. 

  • Panic Button

For situations when your officer is in serious trouble, the inclusion of a panic button ensures that your officer can send an immediate alert to your office team. A list of emergency contacts – individuals security officers can call in the event of an 

emergency – should also be available to lone workers. Your site-dedicated emergency contact can then take swift action to call emergency services and get the necessary support to your officer. Being able to respond quickly to this type of notification could very well save a security officer’s life.

By providing a reliable method of monitoring your security officers during their shift, lone worker systems provide a better approach to safety while also promoting overall peace of mind. This ensures that your officers receive the protection and support they need when dispatched to new sites or locations where face mask policies and other safety protocols are in place and need to be enforced.

Debbie is an experienced writer with a demonstrated history of working in the security industry. She is based in Montreal, Canada, with TrackTik—a dynamic and cutting-edge tech company that sells cloud-based security workforce management software.


Tory Brownyard, Brownyard Group

This time last year, I wrote about how security insurance was entering a hard market, in which underwriting guidelines become stricter and insurance premiums rise. At the time, I never suspected that a tragic, once-in-a-lifetime pandemic would outweigh or complicate all industry trends and predictions. However, many of those very trends have reinforced the importance of tried-and-true risk management practices, particularly contracts.

Over the past year, the security industry, like all industries, has had to react and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Security officers were tasked with responsibilities typically reserved for police officers or medical personnel (i.e., crowd control, COVID-19 screenings). As a result, private security is in demand.

When business is expanding, it can be tempting to skim through contracts or quickly sign one provided by the client. Often the contingencies against which contracts are meant to protect seem abstract or distant. However, from a risk management perspective, they can do the very practical work of clarifying roles, transferring risk and mitigating liabilities. 

Security firms and their clients can define post orders for guards in contracts, which is particularly important as guards are asked to take on new roles due to the pandemic or social unrest. For example, the contract can clearly state that the guard is responsible to protect the client’s property and the client, but not shared parking lots or third parties. Many claims against guard firms stem from violent acts on a client’s premise, and security firms can be held liable for alleged negligence or inadequate protection even if the incident involves people or property the firm did not anticipate protecting. In the absence of specific post orders, a security firm may have assumed the duty to protect any people or against any incidents on the premises. 

In short, contracts may help limit liability by clearly stating who and what guards are responsible for protecting. Language about the scope of work can also protect the security firm; rather than saying that guards will eliminate risks, contracts can say that they will reduce certain risks. Though it is not legally binding, marketing and advertising language may also create an expectation in clients. Some firms promise their services provide “total protection from harm,” which may lead clients to expect that guards can prevent all violent incidents, vandalism, theft, etc.

Indemnification clauses play a significant role is determining liability when an incident occurs. An indemnification clause “holds harmless” one contract party (i.e., the client) in specific types of incidents that result from negligence or errors by the other contract party (i.e., the security officer). This shifts financial responsibility for a claim from the client to the security firm and their insurer.

In contracts, indemnification can be broad or limited. Limited indemnification can protect a security firm against assuming all liability for incidents that may be partially or wholly due to the client’s negligence; it holds the security firm responsible for incidents that are, put simply, the fault of guards. Broad indemnification language would hold the security firm solely responsible for any incident covered by insurance, whether or not the client was also negligent. In extreme circumstances where a security firm is held responsible for an incident due solely to a client’s negligence, the firm’s insurance may deny the claim.

Clients’ contracts may also include a “waiver of subrogation.” This language means one party (the security firm) has agreed to waive its rights of recovery against the other party (the client) for the second party’s negligence. This prevents your insurance company from recovering losses from the other party in the event of a claim. This can increase insurance costs, as some insurers require additional coverage for contracts that include a waiver of subrogation.

From a risk management perspective, a contract best-case scenario has a few characteristics.  Contracts in which clients agree to limited indemnification can help protect the financial interests of a security firm, as can contracts without a waiver of subrogation. In addition, the contract should include language specifying the scope of the security firm’s responsibilities and language that excludes third-party beneficiaries. Finally, the contract can state that the client is responsible for securing their own general liability and property coverage; the contract with the guard firm is not a replacement for insurance.

Negotiating contract language can be particularly challenging with large clients who often have their lawyers provide contracts that fully indemnify the client against any incidents related to guards’ duties. However, my stance is that it is worth asking for revisions. At the least, security firms can seek to be held harmless (indemnified) against damages from incidents resulting from the client’s negligence. 

Some security firms choose to sign contracts with broad language because they want to win a big contract that can help their business expand. For others, assuming the risk may not be worth it. No matter what, I often recommend security firms work with a lawyer to create a standard contract with language and terms that adequately protect them.

Risk management is exactly that — management, not elimination, of risk. Over the past decade, the security industry has experienced a slew of large settlements against security firms. It is not just the risk of a claim, but the size of potential claims, that we should be taking into consideration. A phenomenon known as “social inflation” has been driving up the cost of claims as juries award larger and larger settlements. We cannot control these broad social and legal trends, but we can manage business-level risks.

The security industry stepped up to protect people and businesses during the pandemic and political unrest of 2020. That quick response is a testament to the strength of the industry, but it can create situations where security firms become responsible for risks they did not foresee. That’s why contracts and insurance are there — to protect you so you can focus on your mission.

Tory Brownyard, CPCU, is President of Brownyard Group (www.brownyard.com), an insurance program administrator with specialty programs for select industry groups. In addition to his responsibilities as President, he currently spearheads the Brownguard security guard insurance program. Tory is a highly regarded subject matter expert in the field of Security Insurance and has contributed to industry publications such as Security Magazine and has been featured regularly in leading insurance publications. He can be contacted at TBrownyard@brownyard.com.


Armand Adkins, GuardsLink

2020 will forever be remembered in history as the year a pandemic forced the world to pause.  As we have reached the development of a vaccine, reports from health organizations worldwide predicted the elevated infection levels we are seeing as we enter into the new year. This means that COVID-19 will continue to heighten not only health and life risks globally, but also business and property risks. Since protecting life and properties from risks are the fundamental duties of security officers, that means they are the ones in the front line of defense. In this article, we will discuss the security risks security officers need to know about COVID-19, and steps to take as security companies and individual security officers.. 

Security Risks To Beware

Protective Gear

The respiratory virus is one that spreads through contact. For this reason, governments have mandated anyone intending to go out in public to wear some form of protective gear covering their mouth and nose. In a bid to comply, everyone is now going around with a mask, gloves, and other identity obscuring wearables, which makes it difficult to correctly identify an individual when necessary.

The use of face coverings create two immediate issues for security officers.  First is the issue of identification.  Instead of being able to see the entire face of someone being observed, security officers will need to rely more on what was once a more second level means of direct identification.  Examples of the new normal where faces are covered include, but is not limited to: clothing (whether distinctive or by color), height, tattoos, people they are with, and any identifying jewelry or technology.  Observation skills need to broaden and security must be prepared for descriptions that are more inclusion of second tier identifiers. 


We are in the era of remote working, which has been accelerated by the pandemic. Virtually everything has been moved online, including workers as well as customers. Because workers are using their own computers at home, they do not have the trusted security their office once provided, leaving them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This is where awareness and education become essential. As the saying goes, cybersecurity is only as strong as the weakest link. A simple phishing email opened by an unsuspecting staff member could result in monetary and reputation loss running into millions of dollars; hence, an incident that could have been easily avoided if everyone was well educated.

The key to administrative operations taking place remotely is heightened communication.  We can now reach out to our colleagues in a number of almost immediate ways: call, text, chat, email, and/or walkie-talkie apps or devices.  Accordingly, if a communication does not sound “normal” to your organization, employees should be strongly encouraged to verify using a second method of communication since we may not be able to pop by someone’s desk at this time to confirm face-to-face.  We all know normal co-worker requests that don’t require verification, but when something confidential or access-based is requested, be on the safe side.  

Updated Protocols

At the beginning of last year, no one could have predicted or envisioned that the world would stand still. Most existing protocols were not equipped to handle a pandemic. In most organizations, these old protocols introduced during an employee’s orientation are what security officers are still adhering to. With the disruptions caused by the pandemic, most operations and protocols now have fundamental changes, which security officers need to be aware of. Their up to date knowledge needs to be updated through continuous training, whether online or offline. New information is being released everyday.

Training is one of the most important protocol changes that security officers and security companies have had to adjust for with the pandemic.  Training is still required to be timely and proper to obtain and maintain a compliant guard card, and it’s still the employer’s responsibility to track that their security officers are on the path to be sufficiently trained and store relevant training certificates.  That said, it has become logistically so much harder in an environment where on-site training is impacted by COVID-19 and people are remote from their administrative headquarters to meet compliance with old training practices.

Online training and tracking platforms on the market, such as GuardsLink, can address the need to modernize how training is performed and monitored to make the taking of training easier and affordable, while improving the administrative experience in keeping a well-trained and compliant workforce.  While not all training can be done online, such as firearms or baton training, many companies during COVID-19 have shifted their training, where possible, to a distance learning model that have realized administrative advantages as well.

With all company policies and procedures, sometimes it takes an event like the pandemic to revisit our systems to see if there is a newer or better way to perform the same tasks.  Much like Zoom, keep your eyes out for business solutions that may have been adopted because of COVID-19 that will now have a positive place moving forward in our businesses.

COVID-19 Safety Precautions 

At the battle frontline in the war against COVID-19 are medical professionals and security officers, in their collaboration for the protection of both life and properties. But who then, is protecting these selfless people. Below are some COVID-19 safety precautions for security guards to help minimize the occupational risks of exposure.

It is strongly recommended that the following information be addressed with your security officers to the point of it becoming second nature.  Moreover, it would be best practice to post this information is a highly visible area within your organization so that the standards and expectations of your company is understood by the security personnel you employ.

Frequent Hand Washing 

Hand washing is one of the most common COVID-19 safety precautions, even though many still do not know how it should be done properly nor do they know the effective frequency of when it should be done. As a safety precaution, security officers should develop the habit of frequently washing their hands at least every two hours. There is also a right way to wash hands: scrub thoroughly- including the back of hands- using soap, for no less than 20 seconds under running water.

Avoid Touching Your Face 

The coronavirus enters the body once it comes in contact with body fluids. Our mouth, eyes, and nose are easy entry points, especially when touched with unwashed or unsanitized hands. There is also a right way to sanitize your hands. First is to ensure you use a sanitizer with over 60% alcohol content. The second is to rub your hands together until they are dry.

Social Distancing 

Limit physical contact as much as possible, especially with known infected persons. There is also the right distance for social distancing: at least 6 feet between one person and another.  Security officers can project their presence while still respecting distances for a great majority of their responsibilities.

Even where security officers have been notified of a new policy of maintaining social distancing, marking the 6 feet distance is a better implementation.  Marking such areas in front of security stations will ensure that the security officers and those approaching the security stations will clearly understand where to stand while interacting so as to take realistic and rational precautions to protect both sides of the interactions.

PPE Kits 

Security officers are usually kitted for protection, regardless of whether they are armed or unarmed security officers. With the pandemic still ongoing, the personal protection equipment of security officers needs to be updated and optimized to handle COVID-19 issues. There are also the right elements for a PPE, which include safety glasses/goggles, FDA-approved surgical masks, disposable coveralls and disposable nitrile gloves.  It is important to use the precautions and coverings that make the most sense for the health of your security officers, while remaining effective in the field.

Final Thoughts

We need to stay the course and be smart and safe.  Even though COVID-19 has tried our patience and impacted our lives for nearly a year – and even though vaccines are beginning to be rolled out nationwide – now is not the time to lower our guards and be lax or to think that the pandemic can no longer harm our businesses or security officers.

Instead of hoping the pandemic just goes away, take the time needed to think through your procedures and systems to determine if there is a better way, whether that’s your internal or external communications, training, or operational systems.  Use the pandemic to kickstart that process.

That light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter – by safe and successful during the final phases of COVID-19 and all the rest of 2021.

Armand Adkins is CEO of GuardsLink, a provider of best-in-class systems to support physical security companies.  With 26 years of legal, compliance and operational experience, Armand leads a dynamic company that delivers two unique services to address the training and hiring needs of security companies

The GuardsLink platform (GuardsLink.com) is an end-to-end solution to give security companies the ability to provide their employees branded online training that is both affordable and quality, and includes an integrated system to monitor and manage guard training and certificates. 

SecurityHires (SecurityHires.com) is a security industry focused job board designed and built using cutting edge technology to assist in all the hiring requirements of security companies seeking qualified security officers.  

Those looking for an intuitive and robust training solution implemented at no cost and includes a revenue sharing model, or more information regarding the benefits of the industry specific job board, should contact Armand at info@GuardsLink.com or call (888) 360-9373 ext 1006.


Chris Anderson, Thinkcurity, Silvertrac, CALSAGA Network Partner

No matter what stage a private security company is in, growth is a primary goal. The simple answer to growth is winning more contracts. But that is never as simple as it sounds.

There are a lot of methods to secure more contracts as a security provider and it’s helpful to consider them. But one of the most effective ways is to diversify the security services that you offer.

It’s clear that security services are not one-size-fits all. Potential clients will be looking for services that fit their specific wants and needs. So how do you add services to your operation that will win you more bids so you can grow year after year?

  1. Know what security services are in high demand
  2. Learn how to effectively add services based on your current size

If you read this article and still want more resources, check out the day 2 keynote speech from the Virtual Physical Security Summit. Steve Vitale talks all about how to incorporate new security services into your operation.

Types of Security Services to Add

Knowing what specific services potential clients want will help a lot as you start to consider which services you should add to your operation. For example, 2020 changed the physical security industry dramatically and many security clients want things like remote guarding services or security guards trained in de-escalation tactics.

With that in mind, take a look at these 5 services that show big potential for growth in the industry.

  1. Security Risk Assessments

Risk assessments are a service that every security company should offer no matter what size or stage they are because they affect the rest of your service offerings.

When you do a risk assessment, you will be able to see what specific security needs a current or potential client has and how you can address them with the services you provide. Risk assessments can also tell you what services you might need to add to your business.

An initial assessment and property walk won’t tell you everything you need to know about a new property. Steve Vitale – an expert in this area – recommends doing 30, 60, and 90-day risk assessment check-ins with every new client.

  1. Off-Duty Officers

Off-duty police officers, retired police officers, and veterans are great assets to any physical security company. These are people with tons of experience and training – especially in skills like de-escalation and tactical communication.

Police officers and veterans also allow you to justify higher bill rates (just keep in mind you usually have to pay them more, too). Clients tend to feel better about having experienced, highly trained security officers on the job and are willing to pay for it.

  1. Security Technology

The world runs on information and your clients are no different. Offering security technology as part of your services provides you and your client with more information which means better decision making.

If you don’t have any physical security technologies, guard tour software is a great place to start. It will allow you and your supervisors to see what’s going on in your business and the data it collects will show clients that they are getting what they paid for.

For larger security companies, having a global security operations center (GSOC) will help you collect even more data that will help you use resources efficiently and make better decisions.

  1. Mobile Patrol

Mobile patrols have become more and more popular over the years. They give you an opportunity to win contracts with clients who might not be able to afford a standing guard but still want a small amount of security coverage at their property.

The key to a successful mobile patrol is good private security fleet management. This includes things like managing your mobile patrol costs and knowing what the best vehicles are for private security.

  1. Remote Monitoring

Remote monitoring is a security service that is being requested more and more for reasons similar to mobile patrols. It is great for clients because it usually costs less, and it is great for security businesses because they can pay one officer to patrol multiple locations at once.

Plus, implementing remote monitoring systems has gotten much easier over the years as technology has gotten cheaper and things like artificial intelligence have become more readily available.

How to Effectively Add New Security Services

Adding services is one of the best ways to win new contracts from clients who are looking for those services. Not to mention it’s a great way to grow contracts with existing clients. Use these tips to make sure that you know how to add new services to your company in the most effective way – even if you’re small.

  1. Self Evaluation

If you’re just starting out as a security company, you might only offer standing guards. You might even be the one on site!

Before adding your next service, there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself:

  • What does our company have the resources to offer?
  • What services do our current and prospective clients need?

Without the right resources, you will quickly find yourself in over your head. Don’t forget resources include personnel.

Make sure you aren’t straining your supervisors by giving them too much to manage. And when you add a new service, make sure you have well-trained employees that can implement it.

  1. Affiliate Service Partners

A great solution for small security companies looking to add new services is to partner with other security companies that already offer those services – especially companies that specialize in the specific services you’re looking to add.

The key here is to make sure any security company you do partner with aligns with your culture, values, and standards. Don’t settle for a company just because they offer the services you need.

If you need help finding companies to partner with, check in with your local and regional security associations, chamber of commerce, or even LinkedIn.

  1. Technology

While security technology can be viewed as part of your services, you can also use it to add new services easier.

Using technology in your security business is one of the most efficient ways to manage the entire operation at scale. As you grow, your security technology should do the heavy lifting for you and allow you to oversee every part of the business.

Security technology will also provide you with data you need during the self-evaluation process. Data from your GSOC and summary reports from the field can show you trends that will help you make informed decisions when it is time to change or add the security services you provide.


If you’re a private security company in growth mode, adding new services is one of the best ways to win new contracts and grow existing ones. When it’s time to add a new service, keep these two tips in mind:

  • Add services that current and potential clients are asking for
  • Be strategic in when and how you add services

If you want more resources, remember to check out this webinar on incorporating new services into your security operation.

Chris is the Founder of Silvertrac Software and has been working in the security industry for more than 25 years. He enjoys working with our clients everyday to help them grow their businesses and really enjoy what they are doing. Chris currently lives and works in Seal Beach, CA.


Jeff Davis, TEAM Software, CALSAGA Network Partner

Understanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and how to apply it to your business could mean significant savings on your labor costs. 

When labor is your top expense, like it is in the contract security industry, anythisng you can do to control those that costs is going to have a positive impact on your bottom line. Even though your labor costs may increase, you can’t just increase prices for your customers when they can easily find another service provider willing to charge less. One way to help offset labor costs is through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program.

WOTC is a U.S. federal tax credit designed to promote the hiring of individuals from certain groups who have faced significant barriers to employment. When an employer hires a qualifying employee who meets WOTC criteria, they can claim a federal tax credit against the employee’s paid wages. According to the Department of Labor, over two million WOTC certifications were issued in 2019.

While it may sound simple, there is a learning curve to understanding all the complexities of the program. Here is a quick overview to help you get started with WOTC.

Which of Your Hires are Eligible?

The first step to understanding WOTC is having a basic understanding of who’s eligible for the program. Under WOTC guidelines outlined by the IRS, qualified groups include:

  • Qualified veterans
  • Ex-felons
  • Qualified long-term unemployment recipients
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients
  • Qualified IV-A recipients
  • Designated Community Residents (DCR)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Referrals
  • Summer Youth Employees
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients
  • Long-term family assistance recipients

Specifically looking at qualified veterans, that includes individuals who meet specific unemployment criteria including but not limited to being unemployed for at least four weeks prior to being hired;, being a service-connected disabled veteran; and being a member of a family who receives assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Potential Savings to Your Security Company

According to the Employment Development Department of California, depending on the target group eligibility of the person hired, wages and the number of hours worked, WOTC allows businesses to claim tax credits up to $9,600 of qualified wages per eligible employee, which can be deducted from taxable income. WOTC is especially beneficial for security contract companies due to the number of veterans who pursue a career in the security industry after they’re done serving in the military. As of 2020, over 1.5 million veterans live in California alone. WOTC is also particularly helpful for companies with high employee turnover and new hire rates. Because you can file a claim for any eligible new hire who works at least 120 hours, employers that are continually bringing on new employees can use WOTC to help offset onboarding and recruiting costs. 

How Do I Set Up WOTC Filing for My Company? 

In order to claim WOTC for eligible employees, you must file certification request applications with the state workforce agencies within 28 calendar days of the new hire’s start date. You can find specific submission instructions on California’s workforce agency website. Navigating the WOTC process, especially if you’ve never filed before, can seem daunting. It’s important to verify all steps of the process are followed correctly and to partner with companies that can simplify the process if you don’t have the ability to do it in-house. And, if you use a security industry-specific ERP as your one source of record, you already have all the information you need in one place.

TEAM Software is dedicated to ensuring our software solutions meet the ever-changing needs of our customers. We’re also continually working to bring you relevant content to help you manage your business better by taking advantage of programs like WOTC. While we’re committed to keeping you informed, it’s important to do your own research, and consult your own legal and tax advisors when necessary, too. For more information on the WOTC tax credit, visit the United States Department of Labor WOTC page.


Ki Lin Tay, Esq.and Jaimee K. Wellerstein, Esq., Bradley & Gmelich, CALSAGA Legal Advisor

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (FFCRA), the first ever paid leave of absence law to be enacted on a national level,  mandated that certain employers provide emergency paid sick leave and expanded paid family and medical leave to eligible employees experiencing COVID-19-related issues. The FFCRA was passed in March of 2020 in the face of the COVID-19 health crisis, and seemingly just as quickly as it was enacted, it has come to an end. 

On December 21, 2020, Congress opted not to extend FFCRA paid leave obligations beyond 2020, leaving the FFCRA to expire as planned on December 31. As a result, employers are no longer obligated to provide FFCRA paid leave to employees, despite the common belief that these entitlements would be extended into 2021, to maintain some level of paid leave benefit while the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The subject of paid leave, however, was not entirely abandoned by the federal government. On December 27, 2020, the federal government signed its latest COVID-19 stimulus bill into law. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 allows employers – on a voluntary basis – to continue to provide paid leave entitlements through March 31, 2021 in exchange for a payroll tax credit.

With all of the ongoing changes in the COVID-19 legal landscape, what does this mean for employers?

FFCRA Paid Leave Obligations Expired on December 31, 2020, But Expanded Tax Credits are Available Through March 31, 2021

As of December 31, 2020, employers with fewer than 500 employees are no longer required to provide FFCRA COVID-19 paid leave benefits to employees. This includes both emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and paid childcare leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). While employers have no further obligation to provide FFCRA benefits to employees, employers may choose to continue providing FFCRA paid leave benefits to eligible employees and will receive a payroll tax credit for such paid leave through March 31, 2021.

Importantly, while the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 extends the EPSL and EFMLEA tax credits created by the FFCRA until March 31, 2021, it does not create any additional paid benefits for employees who have exhausted their 80 hours of EPSL or 12 weeks of EFMLEA leave under the FFCRA. Instead, the bill merely authorizes tax credits through March 31, 2021, which allows (but does not require) employers to extend FFCRA benefits to eligible employees to receive the corresponding tax benefit. 

Importantly, California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law (CSPSL) and COVID-19 Food Sector Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law (CFSSPSL), which mandate 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave for Californians employed by employers with 500 or more employees, were to be extended if the FFCRA’s benefits were extended. Thus, along with the expiration of the FFCRA’s benefits, California’s CPSPSL and CFSSPSL paid sick leave mandates have also expired as of December 31, 2020. Since the California paid sick leave benefits do not provide a corresponding tax credit, the federal extension of tax credits to March 2021 does not appear to impact CSPSL or CFSSPSL. California employers should monitor the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) website for the most up-to-date information. In addition, all employers should review any applicable state or local leave ordinances.

No Retaliation By Employers

In order to remain eligible for payroll tax credits for continuing FFCRA paid leave benefits through March 31, 2021, employers must not retaliate, discharge, discipline, or in any way discriminate against employees who seek to take paid leave as provided for in the FFCRA. While this prohibition is addressed in the context of eligibility for expanded tax credits, employers should be mindful that the anti-retaliation provisions of the FFCRA are still applicable to any past use of FFCRA benefits, even if employers do not extend benefits through the first calendar quarter of 2021. 

Employers Must Employ Accurate Recordkeeping of COVID-19-Related Leave

If employers opt to voluntarily provide FFCRA paid leave benefits between January 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021, in order to claim the expanded tax credits, employers must keep accurate records of such COVID-19-related leave and ensure that they comply with the leave limits imposed by the FFCRA. That is, employers must pay close attention to the amount of paid leave for which they will be eligible for tax credits, and should adhere to the specific limitations on paid leave afforded by the FFCRA, as such limits will apply to the available payroll tax credits. With respect to employer-provided paid leave for which tax credits will not be sought, such leave may be tracked separately and administered in accordance with the employer’s paid leave policies.

As we enter 2021, with the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight, employers must brace themselves for another challenging year of navigating COVID-19 and its substantial impact on the workplace. In the meantime, the expanded tax credits afforded by the new federal stimulus bill may provide some degree of support for employers seeking to help their employees stay afloat as they face difficult circumstances caused by COVID-19.

Lessons for Employers: Employers should decide whether to voluntarily extend FFCRA paid leave benefits to employees through March 31, 2021. If doing so, employers must continue to accurately document the use of such leave and ensure compliance with appropriate recordkeeping in order to receive the expanded tax credits. Additionally, employers should determine whether other state and local laws mandate the provision of paid leave benefits similar to those required by the FFCRA, and should closely monitor any developments and adhere to such laws, as applicable to their jurisdiction.

Need assistance with managing your workforce during COVID-19?  Contact the attorneys at Bradley & Gmelich LLP.

K. Wellerstein is a Partner at Bradley & Gmelich LLP and the Head of the firm’s Employment Department. Jaimee concentrates her practice in representing employers in all aspects of employment law, including defense of wage and hour class actions, PAGA claims, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful discharge, misclassification, and other employment related lawsuits. She also provides employment counseling and training in all of these areas. The firm acts as general counsel for many security companies in California.    

Jaimee routinely represents employers in federal and state courts and in arbitration proceedings throughout the state, as well as at administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, the United States Department of Labor, and other federal and state agencies. Jaimee assists as a Legal Advisor to CALSAGA, and is a member of ASIS International. She is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell, the highest peer rating available. jwellerstein@bglawyers.com / 818-243-5200.






Ki Lin Tay is a Senior Associate Attorney at Bradley & Gmelich LLP. Ki Lin focuses her practice on representing employers and providing strategic advice and counsel in all aspects of employment law and workplace matters, including employment law compliance, employment litigation, workplace investigations, internal audits, wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, misclassification, wage and hour, and general contract matters.

As a qualified attorney in both the United States and Canada, Ki Lin’s experience representing and defending employers in her legal practice is broad and international in scope. Prior to joining the Firm, Ki Lin served as in-house company Counsel and Head of Legal for a national human resources compliance company, arming her with a unique understanding of the dynamics from both sides of the table. Ki Lin specializes in working proactively with employers to develop business and legal strategies that mitigate the risk of employment disputes and maintain compliance with the complex and dynamic landscape of employment law. She regularly provides employers with the mechanisms needed to reduce potential liability and exposure, including employment law counseling, workplace training programs, company policy and handbooks, and all other employment-related contracts and documents used to manage legal risk. ktay@bglawyers.com


Breaking News Regarding COVID-19

Today Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the California Department of Public Health has ended the regional Stay-at-Home order which was announced in December. The state will now revert to the Blueprint tier system. All but 4 counties in California are currently in the most restrictive purple tier.

Learn more about current restrictions.

Even with the Stay-at-Home order lifted, it is important that all of your officers carry their Guard Card at all times while on duty and while traveling to and from work. Please extend this reminder to your team.

CALSAGA will continue to update you on matters that effect you and your business. We appreciate the hard work of you and your employees. Please let us know what we can do to assist you.

Stay in the know! The next edition of The Californian: The Quarterly Newsletter of CALSAGA will be available on Monday, February 1st. You can also review all past editions of The Californian.