Conducting a property walk while trying to win a security contract is an extremely helpful tactic. Property walks give a security guard company a ton of specific information about the property that can be used during the proposal process.
Many times, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is brought up when talking about property walks. CPTED practices can help you outline a basic list of things to look for during property walks before you discuss specific needs. It can also help you show a potential client your knowledge base.
But, knowing the ins and outs of CPTED only helps you solve the generic problems of a property - not specific needs. Conducting effective property walks and talking with the property manager are the best ways to understand what specific problems your security services can help solve.
This article will go over:
- The Benefit of Property Walks
- How to Conduct Effective Property Walks
- Property Walk Best Practices
- Working with the Existing Guard Company
What’s the Benefit of Conducting Property Walks?
Much like routine, on-site guard tours you run for existing contracts, property walks give you and your team the most hands-on knowledge of what’s going on at a property. It does way more than any sit-down conversation or website visit will.
The information you gather by doing a property walk will help you show a potential client exactly how your security services will provide value to them. Plus, when the property manager sees that you notice the issues they care about on the property, you establish trust.
How to Conduct Effective Property Walks
Knowing the benefit of conducting property walks is great, but it doesn’t get you very far if you don’t know how to conduct them properly. The first step to conducting an effective property walk is gathering critical information. What types of information to look for will be covered later.
Collecting the right information will enable you to come prepared to your first meeting with a property manager. If you bring up issues you know the property manager is dealing with, they will be more likely to trust you when you’ve proven you know their pain points.
Most of that information will come from actually conducting an official property walk, but there are a few extra things you can do to figure out what kind of information you should be looking for without needing the direct help of the property manager.
Before you meet with the property manager, do some research on their property and where it’s located. A simple search on the internet can show you crime trends by zip code. If you want to find current and former resident complaints about a specific property, check out review sites like this one.
Talk to Residents & Vendors
Residents are not shy about property complaints. Just by putting on a friendly face and asking the right questions, a handful of dissatisfied residents can tell you everything you need to know about a property’s problems (just make sure you clear this with the property manager first).
Vendors are the same. Maintenance crews and even existing security officers will open right up about problems they see - and even how they might fix them - if you show the right amount of interest.
Apply as a Prospective Tenant
One of the easiest ways to learn about the property is to act as a prospective tenant. Coordinate with the property manager to have someone show you around as if you are looking to move into the property.
During a property tour you can ask questions about parking, security personnel, and more. This will also help you understand your potential client and how they deal with residents.
Best Practices for Conducting Property Walks
After you’ve collected background information and verified the pain points of the property with the manager, it’s time to actually conduct the property walk. Here are a few tips to help run a successful walk:
Do property walks at the right time. Usually weekend nights are the most important times to catch issues like noise complaints and vandalism, but weekday mornings can also give you valuable information. Talking with the property manager, residents, and vendors should help you decide what time is best.
Look for obvious signs of a problem. Is the landscaping maintained? Are barbecues and pools clean? Does the parking lot have cars without permits? Is there graffiti everywhere? Keep your eyes peeled and you will usually find some obvious issues.
Run a Daily Activity Report. Actually reporting issues and putting them into a DAR during the property walk will show the property manager the different types of issues that happen on their property. Showing them a professional security report is also a great way to reinforce the professionalism of your company.
Bring a sales rep on the walk. Bringing a sales rep on the property while you’re evaluating it can be much more beneficial than bringing a security guard with you. Walking the property will give the rep a better understanding of issues associated with the property type and can help them sell better in the future.
Yes, it’s important for your security guards to know the property as well, but a good training program can prepare them for most situations.
Working with the Existing Guard Company
Transitioning security services can be a tricky business. But when it comes to improving the effectiveness of a property walk, the existing guard company can give you a lot of help.
Before you do the walk, ask the property manager if there are any individual security officers from the existing company that they like. If they give you someone, it’s a huge win for your company in 3 ways:
- The officer can show you all the key problems at the property and can run you through them on the property walk.
- If there’s a problem unit/person on the property that hasn’t been dealt with, they can tell you why. Maybe their current employer doesn’t provide detailed incident reports to the property manager
- If you like them, you have the potential to poach them after the transition and have an employee that already knows the property well.
Property walks can seem boring and routine. But a well-run property walk can give you a gold mine of information that you can use to your advantage during the proposal process. Want even more great information on how to win more security contracts? Check out this article.