How to Start a Security Company
In the United States, there are over 1 million security guards employed making security a big business.
If you want to get in on the security business, it is easier than you may think. To start a security company can seem like a daunting task, but it is among the cheapest businesses to start. With most companies charging a premium for their staff, there is a lot of money to make in the security industry.
Here are the steps to follow to make sure that you successfully start your company.
1. Make a Business Plan
The first step is to make a business plan for your security business. This will include your goals, what you want to start with, how much you want to grow, and how much financing you’ll need. You’ll want to identify your market and present research about the need for your business in the area you are targeting.
Make sure that you fully account for start-up costs and leave some money in reserve, you’ll need it. Security officers often need equipment, training, and uniforms. None of this is free, but if you take the time to look around you may be surprised at how cheap you can find what you need.
Your income depends on the number of security guards you are providing for clients. Security companies charge by the hour for their services, and that amount goes between the guard and the company.
2. Armed or Unarmed
You need to decide whether you will be offering armed or unarmed guard services. An armed security officer requires a lot more training, insurance and will command a much higher price. You need to make sure that the jurisdiction you are active in allows armed guards, and what permits they require.
If you decide to provide armed guard services you’ll need to figure out if you are providing weapons, or if they have to provide their own. If you are allowing guards to provide their own weapons, you’ll need strict parameters on what kind of weapons they can carry.
Whether you provide armed, unarmed, or both you will also need use of force policy. Make sure to check with local laws and always comply with them. Seek the advice of a lawyer that is knowledgeable in the use of force, that way they can help you set up a comprehensive policy.
3. Specialty or General Security
The more specialized the security, the more training you’ll need your officers to have. General security can work with minimal training, while some areas like bodyguarding require a great deal of knowledge. Don’t try to provide any service you aren’t comfortable or knowledgeable in.
This will also impact who you look for in your employees. Your staff will be the largest expense that your business has because they are entitled to a portion of what you collect for the service. The more trained a person is, the more experience they have, the more money they will require.
You won’t be able to start a security company without getting insurance. The larger you start, the more insurance you are going to need. Insurance is going to be a major expense, but it will protect you from enormous costs if something bad happens.
Make sure that your staff and your business are protected. Security work can be dangerous, and people who are security officers get hurt all the time. The good news is that with good training you can minimize this, and insurance doesn’t start off being too expensive.
5. Form a Legal Entity
Your business will need to be a company if you want to be successful. This will not only allow you to qualify for various tax breaks, but it will also protect your assets in case the business should fail. Don’t risk your assets and financial future, the security industry can be unforgiving and difficult to break into.
You will have to name your business, which means making sure that you select a name that sounds professional. The people who hire you to provide security are going to want top-notch service, and a name can go a long way in convincing them that you’re worth working with.
The legal entity that most form is an LLC. This is an easy type of company to make and requires less paperwork than other options. In some areas, this will have an impact on every aspect of your business, even how much personal income tax you have to pay.
6. Financial Tools
You will want to have a business bank account as well as credit cards. These can be lifesavers if emergency expenses come up. You’ll also want to make sure that you have accounting services ready to go, whether that’s doing it yourself or hiring a professional.
When it comes to accounting, hire a professional. Failing to do so won’t save you money, it will cost you money in the long run. Someone with knowledge of your state and local tax laws will be invaluable, as you will have a lot of write-offs to navigate and paperwork to go through.
Don’t forget to register your business for taxes. You will receive a unique ID number that will represent your company in the IRS database. You don’t want to get behind on taxes, as it could cost you the entire business.
7. Permits and Licensing
Depending on where you are, and what type of security guard services you provide, you are going to need to check for permits and licenses. Many states have specific requirements when it comes to armed vs unarmed security officers. Make sure you have everything you need to prevent being shut down.
The size and scope of your business can also impact the permits and licenses you need. Requirements like this often exist at the local, state, and federal levels. If you intend to operate in more than one state, for instance, you’ll need to comply with any Federal regulations on security companies.
The last thing you want to do is to break the law. That can lead to a whole host of business ruining events that you can avoid by double-checking everything. If you have any questions about the validity of a permit or license or want more information don’t hesitate to contact a business lawyer to help you out.
Make sure that you have processes in place which promote and reward compliance and accountability. These are two major areas of security that are more important now than ever before. On top of accountability, you need to have evidence if something does happen so that you can provide it to the police.
You might consider getting additional equipment that will help you with accountability. One such piece of equipment is the watchguard body camera. A body camera can help by not only increasing accountability for your staff, but also it will provide key evidence in any use of force incident.
You’ll also want to have your employees keep up a constant log of events. This will help if something happens in determining where and why it happened. This is also a powerful tool to monitor your security procedures and make sure they are being followed and that they work.
9. Marketing and Websites
You may be wondering what marketing has to do with security, and the answer is quite a bit. Generating leads and drawing in potential clients is a major factor in finding success. In order to do this, you need to have a marketing plan or hire a professional that can help you market your business.
A website is something that is far too important to overlook. This will act as your public face, the more clients you get, the more views on your website, and the more views you get, the more will become clients. It’s a win-win situation if you play your cards right with marketing, websites, and the internet.
10. Build a Brand
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, building a successful brand is key. You want your company to have a reputation that helps it gain new clients. If people begin to associate your brand with successful security operations you won’t have to work as hard to find new customers.
The most successful brands connect with people on a personal level. Making and marketing content to build your brand is also important as you want to expand your reach and go into new markets and areas. Your reputation will help make those transitions easier and more efficient.
Start a Security Company
If you are ready to start a security company, and you’ve taken all the necessary steps, then your adventure is just starting. Providing security allows you to provide a useful, important service while also making good money. You and your officers will give others peace of mind.
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