On today’s episode, we take a look at what it takes to make money on mobile patrols. We dive into some of the big mistakes that hold operators back in this area, and we take a look at resources that can help you maximize the profit potential of these patrols.
One of the biggest mistakes security operators make is not keeping a tight enough lid on costs. This is especially true when it comes to cars for mobile patrol units. It’s tempting to go out and buy a big flashy car with a lot of lights to impress customers, but is it really worth the cost?
Most of the time, you’ll be able to do your job just as effectively with a cheap model, or even with a leased vehicle rather than one you own. Big expensive vehicles also tend to cost more to insure and fuel. The goal is to make money, not drive around in a sweet ride.
Another mistake we see is that many operators tend to overpromise to customers and overextend their staff. This might mean assigning one driver to a larger area than they can feasibly cover, or taking on properties too far outside your area of expertise. Many operators feel they have to overpromise in order to win contracts, but ultimately they just hurt themselves and the industry.
“It’s not sustainable,” I tell Chris. “It’s not growth or contracts you can really count on long term. It’s just destined to fail when you overextend yourself.”
Ultimately, going down this route means facing two bad options at the end of the month. You can either A) commit enough resources to carry out the job, and by doing so not make much if any money, or B) do a poor job with not enough guards or resources and risk angering and losing the customer.
The key to avoiding those two scenarios is to have a detailed plan in place ahead of time. There are a number of useful tools out there that help you budget your costs and plan routes so that you have a definite accounting of your capabilities and profitability.
With most properties operating on a tight security budget, route management software allows you to tangibly justify your costs to customers and set realistic expectations. Ultimately, customers are happier when you set realistic expectations and explain your process rather than promising the world. These tools also allow you to better communicate your activities with customers. Here are a few amazing resources we have available for mobile patrol operators:
- Webinar: Maximizing Your Mobile Patrol Profitability (part one)
- Webinar: Maximizing Your Mobile Patrol Profitability (part two)
- Podcast: The Keys to Launching a Successful Mobile Patrol
- Mobile Patrol Cost Calculator
- Article: How to Calculate the Lifecycle Cost of a Patrol Vehicle
- Using Silvertrac to Manage Vehicle Inspections
“You’re going to have to go with the budget that the property, or the community, or the commercial site has set,” says Chris. “They’re not going to say ‘hey, we believe you’ll provide a better service, let us go ahead and give you the extra dollar.’ They’re going to ask you to prove it out.”
That means showing how you can deliver the services they need on their budget. On your side, you then have to find a way to deliver those services at a high level while keeping costs low.
One cost cutting tool we discuss is using Silvertrac’s inspection tool to allow one supervisor to do all the vehicle inspections at once and make the information available to everyone. That way, instead of each driver inspecting their vehicle before their route, they can start their routes immediately and hit more locations.
Ultimately, the security industry is incredibly price competitive, which means profits come from keeping costs low and maintaining good relationships with customers.