THUNDER BAY -- Manish Agarwal had been working in the security industry for more than 10 years when the company he worked at had a change of management. The new owner’s policies didn’t resonate with him, and believing that he could provide better customer service, he decided to start his own company to do what he believed was right.
REP Security was established in October 2013, and REP stands for Respected, Experienced and Professional. Agarwal wants to make sure everyone feels respected - not just his clients, but also his employees and the people his employees interact with. The first thing he looks for in a potential employee is people skills - the ability to enforce rules without confrontation, and the ability to deescalate situations. The last thing he wants is a “bouncer” mentality, he says.
The son of small-business owners, Agarwal is comfortable being flexible and responding to the inevitable ups and downs of entrepreneurship. When COVID restrictions closed down businesses, he wasn’t as affected as most other companies - he has always worked out of his home, so he has no overhead to worry about.
REP Security currently employs about 75 full time, part time and casual employees, though the numbers fluctuate. With the city’s major events such as Blues Festival cancelled this year, the company has lost some work, but the pandemic has brought in new work from retailers looking to add security personnel at the door so that stores can maintain proper social distancing and hygiene protocols.
Agarwal has a degree in HR and while working at big companies, noticed how many businesses do not treat their employees fairly. He does not believe in asking people to do things he would not do himself.
Security is usually a minimum wage job, but because he is not willing to work for $14 an hour himself, all of his employees get paid a minimum of $19.50. When he makes bids for contracts, he bases his calculations on paying people that amount. That does mean that he sometimes does not get contracts, because his offer is not the cheapest - but he believes in what he does.
“I don’t want to grow too big too fast. I don’t want to be the biggest, I want to be the best,” he says.