Red Flags and Green Flags When Choosing a Bulletproof Barrier Partner

Whether you’re hiring a contractor or a caterer, if you have the feeling that they’re overpromising, they don’t understand their own limitations, or if they aren’t getting back to you in a timely manner, you know in your gut to take a pass and keep looking.

Finding a bulletproofing provider is no different. I’ve spent decades in this business, and seen so many bulletproofers come and go. Those classic red flags—the overpromising, the lack of an established track record, the chronically unanswered messages and questions—are just as important here as in any other field.

But there’s one major red flag that seems more important than any other when your safety and security are on the line.

The Biggest Red Flag Is Lack of Curiosity

If your bulletproofing provider doesn’t have that curiosity to ask that second or third or fourth question, how are they going to uncover the true issues, determine what needs to be done, and sniff out where a potential problem is? The vendor who isn’t asking good questions during that initial discussion is the same one who gets halfway into a project and is suddenly saying “Oh, well, I didn't know that would be an issue. I didn’t know that was a requirement of your project. I didn’t know there would be six weeks of lead time for this material.” 

And then it’s nothing but delays and change-orders and “unforeseen” expenses.
Your ballistic barrier will touch every element of your building and operations. That means there are a lot of possible complications during installation. 

What if there are material or supply-chain issues? What if the flooring contractor is behind schedule? What if our access control system doesn’t arrive before you’re ready to install the bullet resistant doors? What if road closures make the loading dock inaccessible? What if winter comes early?

If you’re talking to a potential ballistic barrier partner and they don’t have answers and examples of how they’ve handled these hiccups in the past, that’s a red flag. If you feel like they’re resisting even discussing potential issues and obstacles, it demonstrates a lack of curiosity and engagement—and it might be a signal to walk away from that relationship.

Five “Green Flags” for a Bulletproof Barrier Partner

If you’re in the sales or quoting process, green flags will be just as visible as the red ones. 

These are the signs that you’re dealing with someone with a high level of competence and is part of an organization that is ready to take on your challenge:

1. They’re Responsive

They get back to you in a timely manner. Someone who doesn’t answer an email for two weeks is probably not going to pick up the phone when there is an installation problem Sunday night.

2. They’re Attentive 

When you’re talking, their eyes, ears, and mind are on you and your project.

3. They Ask Questions

Some of their questions might be surprising, or dig into details even you don’t know off the top of your head. They are making sure they understand all of the requirements, challenges, and potential obstacles.

4. They Talk About the Process in Concrete Terms 

Your rep should be eager to walk you through the entire process in detail, explaining what it will take for a successful project.

5. They Give You a Good Gut Feeling

Do a gut check. How innately confident do you feel about working with this person? You should finish that first call confident in their ability to deliver.

Anybody can put a quote out there or bid a project. If you’re sitting with somebody and they’re saying, “Yes, yes, yes; that’s no problem and this is no problem,” that right there is a huge problem! 

No one can see the future or predict the weather. No one saw the Key Bridge Collapse coming, or the Suez Canal blockage, or COVID. There are always problems. If someone insists everything is “no problem,” they should be able to give examples of why it’s no problem for them.

That fifth and final green flag—that gut-level confidence—usually springs up automatically if the other four flags are there. Responsiveness, attentiveness, curiosity, and a mastery of details are the foundation of making promises you can deliver on.

TSS Puts Your Custom Needs First

I built Total Security Solutions specifically so I wouldn’t have to be the guy who says “we didn’t expect this” or “we didn’t foresee that” or “we failed to anticipate all the other things.”  So we’re constantly driving that curiosity, measuring our performance, and focusing on customer service.
If you have any questions, or are ready to begin moving forward with a project, we’re here to help. Contact us—you’ll hear back quickly from an expert who is ready to listen.

Jim Richards is co-founder and CEO of Total Security Solutions, an industry leader in the design, fabrication, and installation of custom bulletproof barriers. Jim has nearly 30 years of experience in the bullet-resistant glass and physical security industries.


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