The agreement with Iran, Greece's economic disaster and a sharp downturn in China's economy; amongst other things, have caused yet another application of the brakes in the oil patch. There has been a slight uptick in fracking, but even that appears to lack momentum. Maintenance and support, like work over rigs, are some of the few activities steadily ginning along. We are just entering the dog days of summer and this does not bode well for security work in the patch. I believe the yearly loss of workers: due to winter Texans heading North and away from the heat, is one of the few reasons that here are any gates open at all. It is my strong belief that extreme care should be taken by anyone contemplating coming South for gate guard work this winter. My advice to you: if you do not secure a gate before coming down, is don't come. If the security company says they can't place you unless you're in the area; tell them politely that you're not interested in serving as a standby. If I haven't dissuaded you, only agree to come if the security company is willing to provide a spot for you while you wait for a gate. The only bright spot might be for those licensed guards that are returning. If you can't already tell; I am doing my best to help prevent the debacle we suffered through last winter. For those of you that missed it, the crash in oil prices last winter saw guards suffering through long waits for gate openings. Some reportedly set for weeks or longer. Seeing this downturn is especially disturbing, given the time of year. It is my sincere hope that my predictions are in error. However, if gate guard work has any kind of accurate barometer, it is the amount of infrastructure that is sitting unused in security yards. Based on a recent tour, including our own company's yard, things do not look good.
I realize this blog entry may have some of you wondering what a unlicensed noob should do. I think the employment outlook for someone having no other source of income is not good. I believe the days of coming down to the patch with only change in your pocket and just enough gas to get to a gate are, unfortunately, gone. If you're determined, have an alternate plan in place and some money set aside. Do not attempt to get licensed and on a gate after mid August. Traditionally, Labor Day is when winter Texans migrate south, so you should be here prior to that. Security companies have a reputation for not answering and/or returning calls. The best thing you can do to assist your hunt for a gate, is to establish a rapport with guards that are actually doing the work. Social media is a great place to start and you will find that most guards are very helpful. I guarantee you I can get someone on the phone much quicker than a noob ever could. Additionally those of us doing the work have a finger on its pulse, and know the market. If you approach this work with the attitude of a contractor you can find it very rewarding, especially monetarily.