There is a lot more to getting a security business up and running than simply managing a team of guards. Let’s break down how to start a security company successfully in 13 simple steps.
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Which business doesn’t need security guards? Regardless of whether a business owner is looking to protect their staff, valuables, or assets, or deter any potential threats before they develop, security guards are always a necessity.
When it comes to starting a security company, there are certain things that you need to hit the ground running. Here’s our in-depth guide to everything you ever needed to know about how to start your own security company, the right way!
Why Starting a Security Company in 2023 Is a Solid Business Idea
Think about it: the pandemic has (and continues to) change the world as we know it. Security companies are known as the “fourth emergency service,” going beyond the stereotype of nightclub bouncers stopping people at the gates of a club.
Starting a security company gives you the chance to operate in a range of different niches that you might not have been aware of, including:
- Bodyguarding, armed or unarmed
- Public space surveillance (CCTV)
- Private investigations
- Cash and valuables transit guarding
- Door supervision
The possibilities are endless and can be financially lucrative indeed. In the United States alone, security services generated a revenue of $35 billion dollars in 2018. That same year (the last date on record), some 1,054,400 security guards were employed.
With the above statistics reported by the BLS, it’s no surprise that more and more entrepreneurs are interested in starting a security company. To make the process easier, here are 13 easy steps on how to start a security company.
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But Wait…What Are the Costs Involved in Starting a Security Guard Company?
There are a lot of different potential costs you need to take into account when starting a security company. But depending on the niche you choose, you might not need everything below:
- Security guard insurance, which could be as much as $6000 for 6 months.
- Legal, regulation and compliance costs could be around $500.
- Equipment, uniform (starting at around $100 each), as well as firearms and firearm licenses (if necessary).
- Regarding firearms, if a guard has their own, you would need to reimburse them for the use of their firearm’s time in use. If not, you could always buy second-hand firearms, (costing a few hundred dollars). New firearms could cost you thousands of dollars.
- Office space: We advise you to look into sharing office space with other companies (check out coworking spaces in your area) to initially save some budget.
- Marketing materials: depending on how you market your services, this could range from hundreds of dollars to a few thousand, at least at the beginning of your security guard company. Add to this the cost of setting up and running a website, which could be around $100 a year for hosting, but might be more if you want to hire a freelance graphic designer.
- Ongoing expenses will likely be for your insurance, your staff, and your office space.
- A digital security guard management solution can vary in pricing depending on the size of your company and the features required. For example, Connecteam is free for security companies with 1-10 employees and includes a Basic plan flat fee of $29 per month for up to 30 users.
Starting a Security Company Has Never Been Easier
Schedule your security guards efficiently, track their time easily, and always stay connected with Connecteam.
The Ultimate 13-Step Guide: How to Start a Security Company
Choose a Security Service to Offer
Before starting a security company, you have to decide which security services you plan to provide. Going into the security industry without knowing what you can offer to your clients will only end badly. Therefore, you need to know which services you’ll offer so you can ensure you have the funds and resources required.
You should consider looking into the following services:
- Internet technology security services, such as cybersecurity
- Home security and monitoring services
- Stationary guard services
- Patrolling services
- Crisis management
When you choose a security service niche to focus on, the rest of the process becomes much easier.
Look around at the types of businesses you see around you or are interested in, and think about any gaps you might have noticed. Maybe the grocery shop near you is a constant victim of shoplifting; maybe you live in an area where people need personal security guards. Whatever you see around you, try to think of ways to provide a solution for the gap.
- Choose a niche for your security services.
- Think about the types of businesses around you and any security gaps you can see.
Create a Legal Entity
Before starting any business, but especially when you’re starting a security guard company, you must have it registered with the correct authorities. Without registration with a legal entity, you cannot open a business bank account, apply for loans, or hire staff.
Therefore, you need to choose a business structure and a company name and plan for any taxes you’ll need to pay. You can choose from an LLC, Corporation, or a DBA.
Hire a registered agent service in order to help protect your privacy and to stay compliant through the process.
- Research the type of legal entity you should register your security business with.
- Create a legal entity, and make sure you have all the necessary paperwork needed to do so!
Name Your Business
Once you’ve chosen which legal entity to pursue, you need to choose a business name that makes your security company stand out. The CEO of USPA Nationwide Security, Michael Evans, recommends that you don’t use a personal name for your business, like “Joe’s Security.” The reason is that it implies a lack of professionalism.
Instead, use words like “International” or “National” to indicate a high level of experience. However, ensure you don’t ever use actual governmental regions, like “The California State Security Guard Company,” as this is illegal.
Do some research on how other successful security companies name themselves. See if you notice any patterns or recurring themes, such as animal imagery, and then brainstorm a few ideas for your security business.
Choose a name for your business, or at least create a draft name.
Register for Taxes
Before you can open your security guard company, you must register for various state and federal taxes. To register for taxes, you must first apply for an EIN (Employee Identification Number) – which is very easy and free to do.
Contact your accountant or attorney if you’re not sure of which state and/or federal taxes you’re liable for (1099 vs. W-2, for example). Remember, making a mistake here could take a long time (and a lot of bureaucracy) to undo, so it’s best to be sure and ask for help from the experts if needed.
- Contact an expert (your attorney or accountant) if you need to confirm any details or consult with them.
- Apply for your EIN.
Get All Licensing
Depending on where you live, the licenses you are required to hold vary. Usually, you will need work experience in the security field – unless you previously worked in law enforcement.
SAME IMAGE AS ORIGINAL
Typically the following licenses are required:
Security Guard License
You must prove that you possess the necessary skills to perform all security guard duties and responsibilities. In California, for example, you must get training in the power to arrest and 32 hours of training in security guard skills from a California Bureau of Security and Investigative Service-approved course.
This is in addition to the initial application fee of $50.
Private Patrol Operator License
You must prove that you have the necessary skills and experience to operate a security guard company, whether private or otherwise. In Michigan, for example, you must be 21 years or older, have a high school diploma or an equivalent, and have not been convicted of a felony.
Additionally, you must show at least four years of security guard work experience in a supervisory capacity above the rank of patrolman.
The licensing fee ranges from $100 to $300, depending on the legal organization of your company.
Qualified Manager License
Your security guard company must be run by a person with a qualified security manager license in all services your business provides. In Texas, for example, you may provide an armored car, guard, alarm, and guard dog services. Therefore the qualified manager needs to know how to provide those services with at least two years of consecutive experience in each service. The application fee starts at $37.
Make sure you have all the different documents you need for each of the different licenses mentioned above! Remember to check the fees applicable for both as well, to avoid any unplanned expenses!
- Make sure you have all of the experience necessary before applying for each type of license mentioned above.
- Check out the cost of the application.
- Have all the documents you need ready for your application.
Cost for Equipment
How to start a security company will depend on what equipment you and your employees need. When on-site, you might need some or all of the following:
- Apparel: As a security guard company, you always want to remain visible so that people know where to find you. Most companies opt for a yellow jacket as the color stands out. Bulletproof vests might be needed for your staff, depending on the location your workers are patrolling. Steel toe cap boots are recommendable for every guard. The shoes must be comfortable and suitable when walking for many hours.
- Flashlights: flashlights are an essential part of being a security guard working at night or in areas that are not well lit.
- Defense gear: When starting a security guard company, you may wish to provide weapons for their defense. Weapons are required to keep your security guards safe from attacks. These weapons include guns, pepper spray, batons, etc. Be sure to check state rules to find out which defense gear your employees are permitted to use.
- Walkie-talkie: Two-way radios are great if your employees work in a large center or cover broad areas. However, digitizing your communication could be a lot more efficient. Security guard apps such as Connecteam allow you to communicate in a group or single chat.
Do your research online as to what equipment you really need; if the niche you choose doesn’t need arms and an arms license, you’ll be wasting your money if you decide to spend on both of these things!
- Do research online regarding what equipment you’ll need.
- If budgetary concerns are an issue, check if you can get some of these items second-hand, or purchase them from governmental organizations.
- Check everything you buy is usable and/or works as it should before agreeing to or completing the purchase!
Create a Business Plan
Make sure you create the business plan ahead of time as this acts as a map that will guide your business from all phases – from starting up to growth establishment. A business plan is a detailed description of exactly how your business will evolve from start to finish.
There are various plans you draft up. When starting a security business, if you need financial support from an investor or a financial institution, then you need a traditional business plan. Once completed, your investor or the bank will need to review it in order to validate your proposal.
If you do not require financial support, you can create a simple one-page business plan. The plan will describe how you will achieve success.
Check out some example business plans online, to understand what is needed. It looks like a tricky document, but it’s really not. It’s also a good idea to try and find the right business bank account for your needs.
- Do some research online to see what goes into a business plan for security companies.
- Check out our business plan template, above, and fill it in.
- Research business bank accounts.
Your security guard company must be effectively protected with proper insurance. However, there are two insurance types you should definitely have when starting a security guard company and beyond.
- Liability insurance to protect yourself if anything should happen to your client.
- Bonding insurance in case any of your client’s property is stolen by your employee.
Most security guard companies choose the Mechanic Group, an insurance agency with more than 25 years of experience in the security industry.
When it comes to insurance, shop around and try to negotiate with providers. You might just get a sweet deal if you do your homework!
- Once you know your niche, decide which type/s of insurance you need.
- Compare insurance plans and discuss with an insurance broker if you have any doubts or uncertainties or want some things explained.
Create an Awesome Logo
Your business logo is just as important as your company name as it’s the first thing a potential customer sees. If you are starting a security company, make sure your logo represents what your company does. Your logo should also be memorable, and your customer should associate security with your business.
Remember to keep the logo simple without many colors or fonts. Make sure it’s scalable so that it looks good on a billboard and doesn’t lose any finer details when printed in a smaller or bigger size.
Check out other security guard companies to see how they’ve designed their logos. You can always ask a graphic designer to help you out if you have an idea in mind, or are looking for some inspiration.
- Do some research on other security guard logos.
- Either use design software like Canva or ask a graphic designer for some help in designing your logo.
Get Funds For Your Security Guard Company
If you can’t contribute 100% of the money when starting a security guard company, you should consider taking out a bank loan or obtaining credit. However, make sure you step into the bank well prepared. Bring all essential documents, such as registration with the authority, mission statement, business plan, and legal papers.
Female entrepreneurs have access to small business grants that can be explored. When you receive funding, this can also help you determine what your business rates will be.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a financial advisor. Most will give you a free initial meeting to discuss how they might be able to help you.
- Plan your budget and see if there are any shortfalls, and if so, how much.
- Check your options for business loans, investments, or other financial supplementation.
- Remember to check and bring all of the documents you need to any meeting!
Create a Website For Your Business
It’s no secret that establishing your company’s credibility starts with a business website. Your potential clients will check your site to see what you’re all about – from the “about us” section to pricing to customer testimonials and more.
Remember that your website should be compelling – don’t clutter it with too much text or irrelevant images. The loading speed should be quick, and navigation should be simple. Use a free website builder, such as Wix, to design a stunning website.
Designing a website can be a really time-consuming process, so if you don’t have a single design-loving bone in your body, you can always look for templates to implement!
- Do research on free website software, or if you’re looking for a paid website solution (which may look more professional), do research on cheap hosting plans, and website builder software.
- Check out website builder templates, especially those that are easy and quick to use!
Get on Social Media
Just like a website is essential, so are social media channels. It’s a great way to promote your business as you’ll just be starting out and need to establish yourself as successful. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.m there are many channels you can use to reach and connect with clients.
Your customers expect you to be on social media! Customers will check to see if you’re posting on a regular basis. They will also look at the reviews other clients left, and they might contact you on social media with questions or comments. Your security guards can also act as employee advocates for your business.
Your security business’s social media pages are not an extension of your personal social pages: keep every update and post relevant to your target audience.
- Do some research on interesting topics to post about. You can even check other security guard companies to see the sorts of topics they post about!
- Decide on a posting schedule (for example, a weekly post on Tuesdays) and plan out a month of content based on this schedule.
Use Technology to Manage Your Team
Opening a new security guard business comes with a lot of responsibilities, not to mention, a lot of unnecessary administrative headaches. You need to ensure that you’re as efficient as possible so that you don’t waste time and you can put the focus back on growing your business.
In the past, security guard companies used to do everything manually, including:
- Scheduling on pen and paper, or making Excel-based timesheets
- Communicating via apps such as WhatsApp, which invade employees’ privacy.
- Taking employees’ words for when they clocked in and out, leading to buddy punching and time theft.
All of this creates unnecessary roadblocks, errors, and can even lose you a lot of money, very quickly.
When it comes to training new security guards, doing so with some technological delegation is a much quicker, effortless, and time-saving way of scaling up fast, and onboarding to the highest standards possible, every single time.
Most businesses – not just security businesses – typically use a range of several online tools to get tasks done, but this is both a horrible waste of resources and energy, not to mention, budget.
All of this leads to the conclusion that digitizing your business from the get-go is the way to hit the ground running. And, there is a fantastic, all-in-one solution tailor-made just for security guard companies.
Connecteam – The #1 Employee App for Security Companies
Connecteam is an award-winning employee management software solution that allows security companies to manage their guards’ day-to-day more effectively and efficiently.
With a simple, easy-to-use mobile interface that even the least tech-savvy security guards can access, Connecteam ensures that business owners, managers, and employees no longer need to rely on outdated, paper-based methods to handle various aspects of their security company.
Thousands of security companies use this all-in-one solution to simplify the most time-consuming aspects of their daily business operations. These include:
What’s more, is that Connecteam includes top-quality customer service that is dedicated to helping security companies get the most out of the platform in order to meet their business goals.
With Connecteam’s 14-day free trial, your security business can benefit from a limited range of valuable products to improve your time tracking, security guard scheduling, internal communication, and much more.
Delegating the unnecessary or administrative tasks of your security business management to an app is the best way to scale quickly and run a profitable business from the get-go! That’s exactly how one security guard company saved time and money with Connecteam!
- Decide which tasks can be delegated to a management app.
- Sign up to Connecteam for free, and get started in under 2 minutes!
The #1 App for Security Businesses
Easily build schedules, track employee hours, and instantly communicate with your entire workforce with Connecteam.
The Bottom Line on How to Start a Security Company
These steps are exactly what you need to open a security company, but how to start a private security company super successfully right from the get-go!
Understanding what you must do before you open your doors will help you succeed. First, you need to know what services you will offer. Then, you need a catchy business name and logo. Once you have decided on all the above, you can create a business plan and then find the right digital tool to help you manage all of your business’s needs.
Using all-in-one security guard management software like Connecteam will propel you to run the most successful security business from the very beginning, as well as to scale it in the future. Invest in starting a security company right, and its future success will take care of itself!