1. How to Ensure Effective Contracts
2. Key Terms in a Security Guard Contract
3. Three Levels of Indemnification

Security contracts templates are used by companies who hire security guards. Some companies choose to hire external companies who specialize in security, while other companies handle security in-house. Either way, this is an important function, and all parties' expectations must align. When entering an agreement, make sure:

  • The roles and responsibilities are clear and concise.
  • The authority and leadership that governs security officers are clearly expressed.
  • The number of security officers and their duties is listed and defined.
  • All parties are aware of and understand what has been agreed to in the contract.

How to Ensure Effective Contracts

  1. Outline post orders in the contract, including information about the people, the location, and the property you are protecting. Taking the time to outline what you are guarding keeps you from being responsible for any other party or locations not stated in the contract.
  2. Make sure the contract clearly lays out that you are only responsible for security and you communicate as such to your clients, their employees, guests, and your security officer as well. There are cases where the courts have held security firms responsible for injuries that normally do not fall under security duties. 
  3. Let your insurance broker and lawyer check for vague language in your contract so you minimize any liability risks that do not fall under your liability coverage. Furthermore, check your coverage to make sure you are properly insured.
  4. Make sure the contract is fair and straightforward so that you can avoid unnecessary risks. For example, you want to make sure you don't agree to reimburse (or indemnify) your client for any incident that happens as a result of their neglect. If you do indemnify the client, you are responsible for all the financial responsibility as a result.
  5. Your security detail should only perform security tasks and not other services like chauffeuring, repairs, delivery, etc. unless your contract explicitly states such duties.
  6. Make sure you don't acquire more risk exposure when adding a client as an "additional insured."

Key Terms in a Security Guard Contract

  • An indemnification clause is an agreement where one party agrees to protect the other party from certain liabilities that could lead to financial liability.
  • Indemnity and "hold harmless" are other names used to describe an indemnification clause.
  • The "indemnitor" is the party who assumes liability for certain incidents. 
  • The "indemnitee" is the party who is protected from any liability from incidents covered in the contract. 

Take out all indemnification clauses out your contract, if possible. Common law states the negligent party is liable. As an indemnitor, you agree to protect the client by assuming liability for certain incidents on the property. If you do agree to such terms, make your insurance will cover any indemnification clauses written in the contract. If your insurance policy does not cover the language in the contract to hold the client harmless, then in event of a loss, you will be responsible for covering any claims

Three Levels of Indemnification

  • Limited indemnification. Limited indemnification would protect the client from any liabilities that resulted from negligence while performing contractual duties. If you must add an indemnity clause in the contract, this is most favorable and would more than likely align with what the courts would assume.  You would only assume responsibility for your employee's negligence. Your responsibility would not extend to your client's acts of negligence — whether active or passive — nor the acts of any other individuals that are not your clients.
  • Intermediate indemnification. If you indemnify the client at an intermediate level, you are assuming liability for any claims, suits, or liability for an incident caused in whole or part due to your negligence. You may be held legally liable for certain acts even though your employee was not directly involved.
  • Broad indemnification. Broad indemnification holds you responsible for all incidents, including those that are totally your client's fault. You will expose your company to huge risk if you choose to sign a broad form hold harmless agreement. It is uncommon for most insurance policies to agree to indemnify your client's negligence. 

Pay attention to the details of your security contracts and any other master service agreements. Your clients, more often than not, have corporate lawyers protecting their interests.

If you need help with reviewing your security contract, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.