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Starting a Security Services Business

Starting a security services business can be a very exciting endeavor, but one that requires accountability among employees and clients as you look out for the safety of people and property. Many people consider the entrepreneurial route, but it is a risky road to take, especially if you don't set yourself up for success.

Starting a Security Service Business Key Terms

When it comes to starting a security business, there are quite a few terms you should learn so you're speaking the same language as other people in the industry.  From gadgets to operating procedures, many of the items you'll be working with or protocols you'll be implementing have specific names.

How to Start a Security Company: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

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The business of security, Part I: How to start and manage your own ...

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Start a Security Company >> License, Contracts, Proposals, Insurance

How to Pitch Your Security Services and what not to do. How to Market Your Security Company. Web Presence & SEO for Security Business. Logo & Branding  ...

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How to Start a Security Guard Company - Small Business - Houston ...

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Starting a Security Services Business Companies: Business.com

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Security Guard Business Plan Sample - Company Summary | Bplans

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Starting a Security Services Business


Ever wanted to own your own business? Security guard and patrol services businesses are an increasingly popular choice among start-up entrepreneurs, especially since 9/11 renewed concerns about safety and security. Getting started is relatively simple—you’ll need some licenses and general business acumen, but beyond that, you need only the business skills you’d need in any business—organization, a good work ethic, and the ability to communicate well with clients.  Of course, it’s a good idea to have some sort of security background, whether it’s private security, law enforcement, or military. Not only are these credentials that prove your value, but these kinds of backgrounds mean you already understand some of the tools of the trade, including threat assessments, verbal de-escalation, investigations, and physical protection.  A security services business can take on many forms, including: 
  1. A guard-staffing firm that places security officers at predetermined locations, such as a guard shack, a corporate lobby, or a surveillance video-monitoring center.
  2. A patrol services model where you put your officers in vehicles to patrol a wide corporate campus, a major retailer, or a number of businesses or residences.
  3. Executive protection, such as “bodyguard” services and event security.
  4. A mix of these types of services, though this tends to happen as security services companies mature and spread into different markets.

Find your employees

The thing about manned security is that it requires people to be present. You need enough employees to cover for sick employees, too. If Officer Jones can’t report for duty, that guard position can’t just go empty like a desk in an office. Hire as you land the business to keep initial costs low.

Screen your employees

It wouldn’t be good if the guards themselves were committing the incidents your officers are supposed to prevent. So you need to vet your employees. No drugs. No alcohol use on shift. No felonies. Define which misdemeanors you’d allow for potential hires. Then hire a background screening company to do the work for you.

Research what licenses you need

Security companies typically have to hold a state license. Usually it’s solely the state license that is required, but check with your local government to see if there are municipal requirements as well. Sometimes only the business itself may need the license, and other times each of your employees may need a security license.
here’s what California requires of guards before they get a license: 18 years of age, 40 hours training, fingerprints, background check, and license fee. There are additional licenses you’ll need if your guards will be carrying a weapon. These differ from state to state.

Create an operational policy

Despite common depictions of security guards as lazy (there is a lot of boredom in some positions), security services is serious business and creates issues of liability that you, as an owner, will have to examine.

Find insurance

Security companies need to carry insurance to protect themselves from liabilities. It’s required by most states, whether they enforce it closely or not.

Suit Up

A professional security company will put its guards in professional outfits. Sometimes officers have to pay for their own uniforms and duty belts; sometimes these costs are covered by the employer.

Create your business contracts

This is another area where that consultant could help you out, or you may have generic contracts as models from previous security work you’ve done.
safe downloadable example of a contract between a security company and a college fraternity for security. Envision SBS’s Business-in-a-Box document compilation includes a number of standards contracts that small businesses may need. ASIS sells a helpful kit of information and contracts you’ll need for working with private security guards.

Do the training

The last thing you want is for your business to get out of control and become a bunch of cowboys running around with badges. Put in the time for the training.
  • Weapons, cuffs and batons are an entire topic in themselves. Most security companies start up as unarmed because it drops the employee costs as well as insurance costs and gear costs. Many security positions do not require more than “observation and reporting” – meaning that the guards call sworn police officers for assistance. At the very least, going unarmed saves you some costs and you can add those services once you get some clients to give your business a steady base.
  • Focus on training. Often the difference between retaining a client and losing one is how well you and your officers are trained. Devote the hours; this also translates directly into liability issues for your business.