How to Start a Security Company

By Matt Smolsky , last updated February 2, 2012

The security profession continues to grow and starting your own security company could be a very profitable career move. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the need for security guards will increase 14% through 2018. Cutbacks in state and local spending have impacted police forces, which has led private companies and some private citizens to increase their demand for security guards. Here are guidelines on how to start a security company.

There are a variety of niches your security company could fill. Private patrol operators are often one or two person operations. Private investigators conduct investigations for private citizens, corporations, attorneys, among others. General security firms supply guards to gated housing developments, companies, events and more.

Owning the Company

Keep in mind, being a security guard and running a security company are two entirely different occupations. Of course, knowing the profession and understanding the duties of a security guard are essential to running a security company. You'll also need above average people skills, since you'll be working with all levels and all different kinds of individuals. Your organizational and management skills must be outstanding. As the owner, you'll be responsible for hiring guards, placing them in the right locations, ensuring your clients are properly staffed, as well as training and sourcing new assignments for your staff.

Proper Training

If you don't have any security guard training, then you need to. You must know how to handle a gun properly and in accordance with your state laws. You'll also need to learn how to use a baton. Your local law enforcement agencies will have a list of qualified training programs. Drug testing will be required, and there will likely be requirements for future random drug tests. Consider taking criminal law classes. While you don't need a 2- or 4-year degree, understanding how the law works will give you valuable insight into how a security company interacts with general law enforcement. You'll need to do thorough background checks on everyone you hire, including checking references. Then, once you have your staff in place, you'll need to develop a plan of training and retraining.

Understanding Requirements

One of your first steps should be to investigate what kind of requirements your state has for running a security company. You may need special licenses and certification. Some states require exams. You will most certainly need to pass a background check. You'll need to show experience in the security filed, either in loss prevention at a store, with a police department or for a licensed security firm. There are also federal laws that involve background checks, permits, licenses, etc. You will need to become well-versed in every aspect of state and federal compliance. The best way to find out is to get in contact with your state either online or via the phone.

As a start up, you'll need financing and capital. While a security company is not the most expensive company to start, it does require some initial investment. You'll need office space, telephone service, Internet, office supplies, computers, firearms, other applicable equipment and more. If you need financing, you should develop a business plan that includes the market you'll serve, your competition, profit/loss statements, your personal and company financial statements, and your three or five year plan.

Resources and References
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