By John R. Lehman
I’ve been asked for over a year to address the subject of contracts. Specifically, contracts between Personal Protective Operatives, (or their companies), and the people they protect.
In this posting, I will try to simplify the explanation of the “Contract” and offer an approach from our perspective on the creation and use of this form of agreement.
The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the contract is really quite simple.
Let’s start with the “Why?”
If you have ever been in a hotel room and looked up at the sprinkler, you noticed the little coat hanger symbol with a big red line through it on a label next to the sprinkler. That symbol means “Don’t hang anything on this”. One has to assume that someone had to have hung a coat hanger on the sprinkler head causing a very wet result AND it had to have happened more than once to justify the expense of putting stickers by every sprinkler in the country..
The written contract is needed because someone before us breached a “verbal” agreement. The contract in our case is needed to insure that all parties agreeing to a set of conditions, allowing them to operate with each other, are doing so with equal and clear understanding.
Who needs a written contract?
Anyone who enters into any agreement with anyone else.
A contract between the Principal person to be protected and the protection provider is only the beginning. Agreements between the “Client” and members of his domestic staff, Protection team and limousine and rental car agencies, apartment lease agreements, and even in between individual members of the protective team are all necessary.
What is a contract and what should be listed within it?
“A written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, which is intended to be enforceable by law”. A “protective services” contract should specify:
- Responsible entities or persons entering into the agreement
- The signer’s legal address and contact information
- Specific tasks to be performed
- Locations (with addresses) where work will be performed
- Conditions under which you will perform the required tasks
- Conditions under which you would cease performing these tasks
- Responsibilities of each party to provide certain or specific equipment
- Expectations of each party
- Restrictions on each party
- Insurance requirements
- Start and end dates
- Penalties for issues such as non-performance/non-payment
- Rates of pay, schedule of payments and due dates
Additional items to consider as attachments to the main contract might include:
- A Non-Compete, Non-Disclosure (an “NCND” or “NDA”). Each party signs the other’s agreements.
- A copy of regulatory rules and statutes under which you might be working
- Copies of other agreements to be signed, i.e. Rental, Lease, Memberships
- Assigned Equipment Agreement (radios, weapons, credit cards, vehicles…)
- Affidavit to allow access to Client’s personal information
Remember that the Client signs the same agreements that you do.
When is it appropriate to bring up “the contract” or set up a time to sign a contract?
My typical conversation starts out with a greeting and “How may I help you?”
The Client or their representative answers “I am considering using a Bodyguard, What do I need to do?”
My Answer is usually “We can help you, but I need to ask you a couple of quick questions”
“I assure you that I will not ask for personal identifiable information now but I need to establish what type of help you need.”
Are you in danger at this moment?
Do you currently have someone protecting you?
Are you armed?
You don’t have to tell me where you are yet, but you can if you want to…
Are you in a safe location?
Are you using your normal cell phone?
Are you driving your own vehicle or one assigned to you by someone else?
If you are in hiding, are you using your own identity or credit cards?
The “Where” is very important. You must choose a place that limits the client’s public exposure while still offering them the feeling that they are surrounded by people and free to get up and leave at any time. I will offer immediate security and pick up and escort of the Client but it’s rare and even rarer that they accept.
Once I have established the person’s real need or level of fear, and current level of safety, I will ask for a place and time to meet. I will suggest a Law Enforcement building or if the person is in extreme duress and fearful, the person’s Attorney’s office or a bank lobby.
I never suggest the movie line that they must “come alone”. If they are in real fear, a companion may ease their tensions and make it easier to negotiate with them.
Have an Attorney draft and design your contracts and all attachments. Get your Attorney to read anything you will sign. AND , I always have a contract package with me!!
The “How” involves considering the frame of mind of the client and their safety.
I introduce myself to the client and we sit. I always sit within arm’s reach of them.
I open my brief case and place the contract package on the table. The top contract is an agreement to not disclose anything about the ensuing conversation to ANYONE. It also establishes my legal right to the person’s personal information through his permission via an Affidavit which we have notarized.
I explain who I am, what I will and won’t do, I explain that I am not a “Bodyguard” but rather a “Personal Protection Consultant” AND I explain the difference between the two.
I continue asking open-ended questions to allow them to explain their situation. This process establishes trust and prepares the person to sign the Operating Agreement.
I explain that I will need to perform a few tasks and explain that I will get some personal information from them and run a background investigation on them. And if I decide to help them then I will contact them in 24 hours and require a 5000.00 dollar cash retainer and that I will need them to answer as many questions as is possible on a “Client Questionnaire”. The Client Questionnaire that I designed is a minimum of 430 questions and as many as 700. (Depending on the Client and the size and expanse of the estate).
The agreement also states that if I am not retained, they will get 3000.00 dollars back and they will keep all of the information I discovered. I secure a cashier’s check or U.S. Postal money order before we separate. The cashier’s check or money order helps to insure that the funds are legitimate.
Once we have discussed the safety and security issues and I have established the validity of the concern and the client’s legitimacy AND their financial ability to pay for my services, we discuss the rate and cost of expenses. We discuss issues with travel and clothing and equipment and weapons and my team’s intrusion into the client’s private world and more. We agree to meet again within 24 hours and sign the final contract to engage in business. We separate and I run a complete background on the Client and everyone they know.
When we meet again, we sit, I open the file, I hand the client a pen and the contract is signed within 60 seconds. I then discuss our Personal Protection Officers, show the client a file on two officers who can work within the client’s parameters and he picks his lead man. It is then up to the Lead man to pick his team. I then call the chosen lead man and he is at our location within 2 minutes. The lead then takes possession of the Client and I depart. The now Close Protection Officer (CPO) begins training the Client and if required, building his team.
This may seem completely strange and one can argue that this is just not the proper way this is done. So do it your way. But I sign 90% of the potential clients I meet with. Of those, 40% are for terms in excess of 90 days. The 60% are clients needing less than 10 days. Naturally, I have left a few things out to protect my strategies and real methods for meeting with the client, but this is as close as I can come to a quick education on contracts.
As far as Taking possession of the Client, That’s for next time.
About the Author
Mr. Lehman is the Vice President of Athena Academy. He is the founder and CEO of White Star Consulting, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. He is a certified TCOL (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement) classroom and Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, Federal Protective Service authorized Instructor, Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor, ASP Baton/Handcuff Instructor and unarmed defensive tactics Instructor using the Russian Systema discipline. He is a Texas Licensed Instructor for unarmed and armed Security and teaches the Texas Personal Protection Officer (PPO) course. Mr. Lehman joined Athena Academy Instructor’s team on January 2013, with over 27 years of corporate and private security experience
One of the cases when training and awareness can save your life. This person has been attending many security and driving courses. He managed to keep his calmness, react fast and escape from the ambush: ”On Thursday afternoon a group of men tried to abduct the Greek shipowner Ioannis Martinos. At least five men armed with Kalashnikovs tried to attack the young shipowner on his way back home. However, he managed to remain calm and escaped with his car. He then returned to his office and informed the police about the incident.
The authorities collected video from security road cameras, hoping to identify the perpetrators.
Ioannis Martinos is the son of the shipowner Andreas Martinos and is married to Marina Livanos (daughter of the shipowner George Livanos). His family has three shipping companies: “Thenamaris” with a fleet of 34 tankers and 11 dry bulk carriers, “Minerva Marine” with a fleet of 31 tankers and one dry bulk carrier and “East Med” with a fleet of 20 dry bulk carriers…read more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/12/12/attempted-abduction-of-shipowner/
John Lehman, Athena Academy’s Vice President, did a research recently, he contacted several past clients for whom he no longer provide service and reviewed about 40 questionnaires files. Here are comments from the majority of the clients questioned along with the most desired qualifications:
-Minimum of a high school diploma
-Have 10 client references and 10 personal references
-Speak, read and write in the language of the country you operate in.
-Height not over 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm) for men
-Height not over 5 feet 9 inches (175.26 cm) for women
-Weight not over 220 lbs men, 160 lbs women for max height.
-35 to 50 years of age
-Manicured or at least well groomed nails. (men and women)
-Know how to tell time and ALWAYS be 15 minutes early.
-Be fiscally responsible with the client’s money
-Don’t talk too much but always have an answer to any question
-Smile, be polite, speak quietly but with authority
-Don’t get too friendly or too comfortable with the client
-Be both typing and computer literate
-No visible tattoos. (This means outside of a bathing suit line)
-No piercings other than ladies earlobes (None for men)
-No habits.(smoking, drinking, chewing tobacco, chewing gum, biting nails, picking nose, sniffing…….)
-No facial hair. (this includes mustaches, beards, and sideburns)
-No strong perfumes or colognes
-Must wear antiperspirant and deodorant
-Never out-dress the client (no jewelry or expensive watches, no cuff-links, no bright scarves or ties, no designer suits or shoes, no three-piece or double-breasted suites, and ladies…. No dresses……ever).
-Men, no hair on the collar. Women, hair tied back in a bun. No ponytails for women or men.
-Only one button undone below the collar when a tie is not worn
-If you carry it, know how to use it. (this includes weapons of any kind, electronic devices including cell phones and counter-surveillance equipment)
-Know how to drive and how to prepare the car for the client
-Know business and dining etiquette
-Know how to lose an argument gracefully.
-Know how to say please, thank you, good night and good-bye.
Notice on this list that Shooting and martial arts was not even referenced or mentioned. So before you agree to work for your next client, ask yourself if you or your team members fit the client’s overall needs. Regardless of the answer, you are the one that has to adapt.
I am a graduate student of both CPO level 1in 2011 and CPO level 2 in 2012.
Before enrolling at Athena I had done my research on several personal protection schools. I either found them to be too expensive or only 3 or 4 day course which just isn’t enough time to give someone the knowledge and training one needs to get into this field.
What I like about Athena Academy that really seperates itself from other schools, is that because they have their courses in levels, it makes it affordable. The classes are small enough so each student is given undivided attention from the instructors. The instructors are professional and extremely knowledgeable in the personal protection field. But more importantly they focus on the advantages and importance females have in this type of male dominated industry. I came out of this training with so much knowledge and confidence that I knew I wanted to pursue this type of career.
With the help and resources from Athena Academy and it’s instructors, I have been given job opportunities and am currently licensed and working in Texas. I look forward to pursue more training from Athena Academy including the level 3 CPO course and any other training that is offered.
Stephanie Bausch Athena Academy Graduated CPO Student Level I in 2011 and Level II in 2012.
Mrs. Bausch is licensed and currently working in Texas.
We know what the Term “Warrior Mindset” is supposed to mean.
It is having the emotional drive and mental preparedness to think through the problem, fight through the problem and then not stopping until you are satisfied with the solution. While this works well on the battlefield, can we assume that this “mindset” will work in the Executive Protection Industry?
Who hasn’t heard the term “Warrior Mindset”? It brings to mind a soldier on a battlefield, covered in blood and dirt, with either a sword or a battle rifle, surrounded by the bodies of his fallen enemies.
It also brings to mind a person who wakes up at 5 a.m. and runs 5 miles, before he does 100 push-ups and then still hits the speed bag, all before 6 a.m., then calmly walks into the board room at 9 a.m. and conquers the world with the confidence of a 5 star General.
The negative of this vision however, is the tanned muscular former soldier that still has his mustache and goatee left over from Afghanistan, standing around in his name-brand tactical pants, with his eyes covered by his name-brand sunglasses and his finger indexed over his name-brand rifle. Let’s not forget his name-brand hat that he doesn’t have the decency to remove when he enters a room, or the name-brand chewing tobacco he won’t spit out before he speaks. And the battlefield language and military vernaculars he uses to insure that everyone around him knows he is (or was) a soldier.
So the question really isn’t whether the Warrior Mindset will work, or has a place in our profession of Executive Protection, it is whether the person hired for the job can adapt the warrior mindset to our profession with the appropriate amount of finesse, etiquette, good manners, consideration and common decency, all of which are ignored in combat training.
It is possible to take children who were raised with good manners and turn them into foot soldiers, or take soldiers with no social polish and train them as officers, (understanding that officers are taught civility, manners and etiquette as part of their training and operating protocols), but it is almost impossible to convince a billionaire businessman that a Neanderthal can fly jet fighters or that an infantry soldier can wear a suit and blend in with a group of world class business leaders.
So the question has to be answered with another question:
Is it possible to hire a person with the “Warrior Mindset” who also possesses the other qualities desired by the client?
To answer that question, you have to ask the client what they expect.
Since every client is different and each of their needs and risk scenarios is different, an extensive client questionnaire must be completed and analyzed in order to interview, handpick and if needed, train the right individual for the job.
In preparation for this article, I contacted several past clients for whom I no longer provide service and reviewed about 40 questionnaires files. Here are comments from the majority of the clients questioned along with the most desired qualifications:
- Minimum of a high school diploma
- Have 10 client references and 10 personal references
- Speak, read and write in the language of the country you operate in.
- Height not over 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm) for men
- Height not over 5 feet 9 inches (175.26 cm) for women
- Weight not over 220 lbs men, 160 lbs women for max height.
- 35 to 50 years of age
- Manicured or at least well groomed nails. (men and women)
- Know how to tell time and ALWAYS be 15 minutes early.
- Be fiscally responsible with the client’s money
- Don’t talk too much but always have an answer to any question
- Smile, be polite, speak quietly but with authority
- Don’t get too friendly or too comfortable with the client
- Be both typing and computer literate
- No visible tattoos. (This means outside of a bathing suit line)
- No piercings other than ladies earlobes (None for men)
- No habits.(smoking, drinking, chewing tobacco, chewing gum, biting nails, picking nose, sniffing…….)
- No facial hair. (this includes mustaches, beards, and sideburns)
- No strong perfumes or colognes
- Must wear antiperspirant and deodorant
- Never out-dress the client (no jewelry or expensive watches, no cuff-links, no bright scarves or ties, no designer suits or shoes, no three-piece or double-breasted suites, and ladies…. No dresses……ever).
- Men, no hair on the collar. Women, hair tied back in a bun. No ponytails for women or men.
- Only one button undone below the collar when a tie is not worn
- If you carry it, know how to use it. (this includes weapons of any kind, electronic devices including cell phones and counter-surveillance equipment)
- Know how to drive and how to prepare the car for the client
- Know business and dining etiquette
- Know how to lose an argument gracefully.
- Know how to say please, thank you, good night and good-bye.