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Self Employed Dog Handlers

aes69

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#1
Why are most of the dog handlers in the UK self employed? Why do companies feel the need not to contract handlers?

What is the biggest bug bear of handlers? (Not being looked after, costs, training etc)

And what is your biggest ongoing cost after your vehicle?

To put this into context, I work with probably the best 10 UK companies that provide canine services, but I still see problems and hear gripes on a daily basis. I liaise with the ops managers, MD's etc, but I'd like to hear more from the teams and how we can help push to make things better.
 

aes69

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#3
Ah yes to improve the standards, but that comes at a cost, and at the moment to the handlers (in most cases).

Companies Ops Managers should be, in my opinion able to deliver the training to ensure they're employees remain at the required standard and push them to better themselves.

They also need to have a profound understanding of the customers requirements AND the risks likely to be encountered. You can't train for something without knowing the needs.
 

SCT

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#4
Ah yes to improve the standards, but that comes at a cost, and at the moment to the handlers (in most cases).

Companies Ops Managers should be, in my opinion able to deliver the training to ensure they're employees remain at the required standard and push them to better themselves.

They also need to have a profound understanding of the customers requirements AND the risks likely to be encountered. You can't train for something without knowing the needs.
In my dog handling days, I saw the problem as twofold.

1. The owners/managers of companies supplying dogs and handlers knew nothing of the capabilities of a trained dog and therefore wouldn't know one if it bit them on the arse and were only interested in the fact they could charge more for a dog. One in particular was charging £13 an hour for a static guard and paying £7 for the guard, wheras he charged £17 for a dog and handler and paid £9 to the handler. Simple math and nothing to do with the dog. Having said that, he was also employing numpties who didn't know which end of the dog the food went.

2. Back to standards........... You know my views on this. Without an ENFORCEABLE standard the few good handlers and dogs will always be on the same level as the dickheads and fang the wonder dog
 

silent

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#5
Fang the wonder dog!!! :D

I am about to head back to blighty and am having to go down the route of setting myself up from scratch and having done things properly and fully legal I am wondering how you guys have stayed afloat??? With the decently fitted out van, liability insurance, commercial vehicle insurance its all spend spend spend and thats before I get the dog!!!
What made this worse is I went to speak to a local company before I deployed for the last time and he only pays his handlers £8, the handler on site was Ukrainian and his dog actually bit one of the employees whilst I was there!!! I didnt ask if it was called Fang :(

On a seperate note from the thread (sorry) I have always had dogs provided for me so it has come as a bit of a shock to see the prices of trained or even semi-trained dogs..... what is the going rate for a GP GSD guys??? and does anyone know of any becoming available before mid December when I hit the UK again?

As for why the self employed route for companies, I guess its an insurance thing, add that to the cost of company kennel vans and potential vets bills it must just be down to the pound notes??????
 
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benji

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#6
for me the whole thing starts with a licence to handle security dogs,this cuts out the crap from the industry.once you do this we can start to move forwards.forget wages,they are ruled by either the price of the job(by that i mean it does not matter how good your dog is,if the budget isn't there for the good wages on a job you simply cant earn them.also the integrity of the firm you sub to has to be judged which is where these public forums are invaluable).for me a DH licence is the way to move this industry forward,and it has to be governed by someone outside the industry money making process.i just want to stress that i know everyone on here knows this,i just cant see another way to get the ball rolling to improving the industry
 

SCT

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#7
for me the whole thing starts with a licence to handle security dogs,this cuts out the crap from the industry.once you do this we can start to move forwards.forget wages,they are ruled by either the price of the job(by that i mean it does not matter how good your dog is,if the budget isn't there for the good wages on a job you simply cant earn them.also the integrity of the firm you sub to has to be judged which is where these public forums are invaluable).for me a DH licence is the way to move this industry forward,and it has to be governed by someone outside the industry money making process.i just want to stress that i know everyone on here knows this,i just cant see another way to get the ball rolling to improving the industry

Licensing will only work if its not the likes of knobheads at NASDU overseeing it. The only way to keep itout of the hands of the moneygrabbers is to allow the police to do it. Thing is, they don't want to
 

silent

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#8
I agree with you Benji but exactly WHO would oversee it? The SIA? Not the best option. I once attended a small seminar hosted by the SIA to discuss the future of licensing on the CP/DS circuits and on the top table was..... the SIA (obviously), a senior policeman (understandable)...... and a senior manager from G4S !!!! and it was G4S that were calling the shots that night!! My point is that everyone who goes for the governing role will have their own agendas. Just as an example if one of the big 3 (NASDU etc) are involved they will want everyone trained to their certs / memberships etc and who would blame them?. Its my opinion that it would have to be run from a governmental level but even that is difficult as they would have to be advised by industry professionals and who would that be???? (the big 3 again!!!)
Anyway I am new to the UK self employed scene so its not my place to comment too much as yet but I am looking long and hard before deciding which organisation to join or affiliate myself with..... just thought I would chuck something into the mix!! :)
 

aes69

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#9
If you're new to the game, how have you coped with the costs? What did you find cheap/expensive and what weren't you prepared for?
 

silent

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#10
aes69, if that was to me mate its a mixed bag really. Having to buy my own dog is a new thing for me and the cost of a dog now as compared to maybe 7 or 8 years ago is a huge change. When I looked at the insurances, liability, personal injury and animal health insurances that was something that I didnt have much of a clue about and so took some decent advice on that but its something I couldnt and wouldnt do without. Luckily I got a huge deal on the fully equipped van which may yet allow me enough to get my search dog in addition to my GP.
The game itself isnt something I am new to mate..... being self employed in the UK now thats new and its scarey as buggery!!!
 

ed

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#11
hey silent mate welcome back to the UK

what accountant do you use mate i was given a good price by anna at whittaker and co CPW members many seem to be using there services so to speak

if it helps all the best ed
 

silent

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#12
I use Fairhursts in Wigan mate, 1 cause they are local to me, 2 cause they are open weekends and 3 cause I have damning photos of my account manager being loud and inappropriate in the town centre!!! seriously though I like to be able to call in for advice and have a personal meeting with the same guy who knows my business well.
 

ed

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#13
lol ok mate

damning photos always help mate

all the best with it cheers ed
 

benji

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#14
could it be that the police are not interested because its an increase in work for no extra pay or reward for them.here's just my thinking,you take the next police dog handler with the relevant quals that is being forced out due to cuts from each grouping(ie for me it would be beds/herts/cambs),you offer him the chance to stay in the police(continuing his pension etc etc)at a post of security dog handler/police/sia liaison.give him a desk and a laptop and let him manage all security dogs in his/her area.all handlers have to licence to acpo standard every year at a cost to either the handler or the firm payable to the sia.you have to complete at least 1 monthly continuation training session(again cost paid by handler or firm)with said instructor who will document the training session.the instructor has the right to withdraw the license if he see's fit at any time following a procedure and if you miss a training session your license is automatically suspended until that session is completed.of course this would take some ironing out but its just an early idea,also it would eventually need to be set up so non police could create a career path to fill positions of instructors/assessors in the future.
 

aes69

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#15
Have you any idea how much a basic plod costs? A cop who attracts, lets say £30K doesn't cost the force £30K!
 

benji

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#16
i dont know the proper maths for how much an officer costs but i do know that if from the outset if the attitude of all involved is going to be 100% money orientated it will never get off the ground and the industry will never change until one day someone gets seriously hurt by a security dog causing a massive knee jerk reaction which will end us up only god knows where.i understand financing this sort of thing will take some looking at but its my understanding that this type of system works well in some european countries so why not over here too.
 

aes69

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#17
It won't happen for GP dogs because there's not enough of them and they don't routinely cause issues.
 

mcd

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#18
Biggest gripe I have is the insultingly low pay available to good, well-trained Dog Handlers in the UK. We constantly lose out on jobs we tender for because we want to pay Handlers £12.50/hr plus travelling etc and there are just too many idiots with their vans done up like Police vans and with their Utility Vests dripping with every conceivable line and piece of equipment which they'll never use, and happy to do it for £7/hr. We can't compete with that and most clients only care about the cheapest option. I don't think it'll ever change and I despair for the future of those good, professional handlers I know as they are losing out to the "walts" of this industry.
 

benji

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#19
ive always said the worst part of being a security dog handler is the job,i love the fact that my job is also my life,it has to be when you have living breathing animals in your care and i love going training with my dogs.but the bit where im on site earning my wages is a joke sometimes verging on insulting(to all professional handlers that is) .everyone is right,nothing will change because no one cares.i just keep my head down at work and keep remembering that the work side is only about 30% of my life with my dogs,and the rest more than makes up for it,while i can afford it
 

aes69

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#20
ive always said the worst part of being a security dog handler is the job,i love the fact that my job is also my life,it has to be when you have living breathing animals in your care and i love going training with my dogs.but the bit where im on site earning my wages is a joke sometimes verging on insulting(to all professional handlers that is)
I don't understand this statement. Why is being on site a joke and insulting?

The whole idea for this thread was to find ou what costs you incur that should really be picked up by the company you work for. I'm also guessing that most of you work for non-ACS accredited companies?
 
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