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Breaking into the Security Business and Starting Your Own Company

Updated on August 29, 2016

Wouldn't it be great to be your own boss and get paid what you really deserve? Now you can with your own security business. As a licensed security guard with your own company, you can work as much or as little as you want. You will also have the freedom to choose when and where you want work. Creating your own at-home small business can be demanding and require a lot of work, but the results are usually well worth the effort. So, if you're thinking about starting your own security business and aren't sure where to start, here are some great tips for you.

Can I Really Work in the Security Industry?

Working in the security industry can be a very demanding job. Before you start a career or a company, you need to consider several things to make sure that this type of work is really for you.

  • You must be able to pass a background check
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be willing to apprehend and restrain criminals before the police arrive
  • You must be able to stand for long periods of time
  • You must be able to stay focused and pay attention for long periods of time without getting bored
  • You must be fast acting and good at working with teammates
  • You must prepare yourself for situations of extreme pressure

These skills are very important if you want to succeed working as a security specialist. If your services will require you to be armed, you also need to be willing and able to use that weapon if necessary. In addition to these skills, if you want to run your own company, you will need to have a good working knowledge of how to run a business. A focused business plan and some accounting and contracts software will prove to be very helpful to you.


Choosing a Security Specialty

It is likely that you will already have some experience working in security before wanting to start your own company. This is a great (but not required) way to gain experience, knowledge, and future job opportunities. It will also help you obtain a pretty good idea on what type of security services you want to offer with your business. Would you like to do security guard and patrol work? Or perhaps, working with the banking industry is more up your alley? You could also provide security services for special events, concerts, and parties. There are other options as well such as CCTV operation and surveillance related work. Most often this will not be a difficult or complicated decision because you will already have some knowledge and experience working in security. In addition to making this decision, you will need to decide if you want be armed or not. Being armed allows you to take on higher risk jobs, but there also will be additional liability for you and your company.


Getting Licensed

Before you can actually work in the security field, you will need to be licensed to do so. The process to become licensed will vary by state, but at a minimum the requirements will include passing a background check, completing a training course, and filing an application that includes fingerprints and photographs. The training courses can usually be completed in less than a week. If you will be armed, additional training may be required (or you may have to apply for a different type of security related license). Rather than listing every state's security licensing website here, I will just include some resources for you.

  • Security Guard Center - Includes tips and information on how and where to obtain a license and training. Job offers are also posted on this site.
  • Security Guard Training - A wealth of knowledge about how to become properly licensed.

Overall, the process to become license is relatively easy.

Starting Your Security Company

Starting a security business will start out in the same manner that you would start any business. You will need to determine what type of business you want to run and then file articles of incorporation with your state. After this, you will need to obtain an EIN number from the IRS. Starting a business can sometimes be a daunting task, so if you have no clue where to start or there simply is too much paperwork, I recommend using the services of Legal Zoom. They can do all the work for you for a very small fee. I prefer this method over hiring an attorney because it is so easy. After this, you will just need to make sure that you keep very good records of everything that involves your business and file your annual reports on time. This will help you avoid getting into a bad tax related situation.

Business Logistics

After you have filed you articles of incorporation with your state and secured the proper licenses, it is time to start thinking about the logistics of your business. You will need to invest some money upfront to get your business started. Initially this will begin with things such as uniforms, utility belts, radios, cameras, and even vehicles.

The next thing that you will need to get your company going is to do some advertising. Don't be afraid to start a website and post some ads on craiglist. It helps if you can also get some business cards and a business brochure made. The brochure should highlight the skills, qualifications, and services that your business has to offer. If you properly advertise your business, you should have no problem getting a contract for work signed.

And finally, don't forget that you need to have liability insurance to cover you and your business in the event that something goes wrong. Depending on the scope of the work you get and where the jobs are located, insurance can be quite a hefty investment. Even so, don't skimp out on liability insurance as it can really prove useful if you find yourself in a precarious situation. If you don't have insurance, you are taking a big risk as just one mistake can send your company into bankruptcy.


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    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      @Larry - Thanks for posting that resource. I checked it out and Schneier's blog has a lot of great information.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 6 years ago from Northern California

      Anyone who's serious about security of any kind should read Bruce Schneier. He started in IT security, and branched our from there.

      Schneier POs some people, because he expresses his opinions directly. In particular, he's very skeptical about what he calls "Security Theater," which is supposed to fight crime and terrorism.