Today Total Security Solutions is a major nationwide bullet resistant barrier component manufacturer—but that wasn’t always the case. TSS started out exclusively sub-contracting, supplying contractors and glaziers. Although TSS does a great deal of “tier 1” direct client work now, roughly 60 percent of their business is still in subcontracting. “We really value keeping that balance,” TSS CEO Jim Richards says. “We can be as hands-on as the contractor needs, without getting between them and their client.”
Designing and Implementing the Right Bullet Resistant Barrier for the Project
In contrast to many bullet resistant component suppliers, even as they’ve grown TSS has avoided punching out cookie-cutter mix-n-match pieces. They specialize in complete, end-to-end bullet resistant barrier systems, each of which is custom designed, engineered, and fabricated to meet a specific client’s needs.
“Every barrier,” Jim notes, “Is a specific solution for a specific situation. And because we have a lot of experience handling the full client experience—not just sub-contracting—we’re sensitive to all the places something can start to go off the rails: A mismatch in hardware when the client needs discreet security, tolerance stack-ups creating installation issues, miscommunications that can drive up costs or slow down delivery.”
Framing is a perfect example. Most bullet proof companies are still using un-rated frames. This helps keep their quote low, but it is a big security trade off. It’s troubling to imagine a bullet resistant barrier with a UL-rated window held in place with framing someone ran out and grabbed at Home Depot.
“We can help you with clients who are having trouble coming to grips with the gap between what they want, what they need, and what they can afford.”
Helping Contractors Through the Hard Conversations
TSS has a lot of experience helping manage sticker shock. As TSS Sales Manager Bob George explains, “Many clients come in saying ‘We want Level 8, we want the highest.’ Yes, Level 8 is going to protect your from some pretty heavy-duty stuff, but the windows will be 2.5” thick—double the thickness of Level 3, and almost triple the weight, nearly 30 pounds per square foot. It’s a very difficult material to work with. The material itself is more expensive, and much more difficult to fabricate. The added weight means you need to beef up walls and counters, and make special arrangements to bring the material in and position it. Two guys aren’t going to put a thousand pound window in place on their own. Going up to Level 8 drives up labor costs significantly. Do you need that extremely high level of protection?”
Jim adds, “They often can’t fathom that this material is at least double what normal glass costs. Depending on the scope of work, it can climb from there to three times, even five times more. Talking someone down in this situation, that might not be comfortable for you—after all, we’re talking about people’s safety here. But these are conversations we have every day. We’re ready to drill down and figure out what they really need and how we can get that to them within their budget.”
Giving Contractors No-Drama Installations
Jim and his team pride themselves on “silent installations”—an installation that’s so hassle-free it’s almost like magic. For TSS, the proof is in the testimonials:
- “They were here when they said they were going to be, with the estimates and the drawings, they showed up when they were supposed to, and everything was just as neat as a pin. We were really, really tickled with their work.”—Holly Eades, Clark Energy vice president of finance
- “It was very easy for us, very easy to deal with TSS. We just had no issues at all. … They did all their work at night. I made sure they were set up, they came and talked to me beforehand, told me what they needed, and made sure the alarms were good and gave them time frames, and they were in and out, totally cleaned up when the left—it was seamless. … It looks great. We love it.”—Gina Mims, facilities supervisor for the Health Plan of San Joaquin
“Sure, we like the ‘wow factor,'” Jim says. “We’re really pleased when a client walks in and says, ‘Wow! This looks so good, so much better than we’d hoped!’ But I’ve gotta say, that silence—when something went so smoothly they don’t even think to remark on it until you ask—that’s when we know we really made a contractor look good.”