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6 tips to setup a security company and propel your business forward

More than 27 million Americans are entrepreneurs ( – their own boss, running their own company, earning a living on their own schedule. Millions more aspire to be. Perhaps you are among them, and perhaps you feel that starting your own security company is your calling, or at least an area of opportunity. Now, you need a plan on how to set up a security business.

“When considering how to setup your own security company it is important to understand the true nature of a security business.”

There are many types of security businesses, but one of the most common opportunities for an aspiring entrepreneur is the security guard business; to maintain a team of trained security personnel and offer your services to customers who need guarding for their people or property. There’s a lot to learn to know how to start your own private security company.

Blue flashing lights of a police car

When thinking of such a business, it is important to understand that security guards have no more authority than anyone else in the general public; they are not police officers, and the distinction between law enforcement officers and security guards could not be more significant. However, security guards do fill a very useful purpose in modern society, giving a presence of authority and often serving as an effective crime deterrent, customer liaison, and more. If you are genuinely interested in being your own boss while helping others feel safe and secure, it might behoove you to set up a security company. Keep reading to learn how to run a successful security company.

Keeping People Safe Can Be a Calling

The old adage “better safe than sorry” is certainly relevant in today’s society. The threat of violence has infiltrated even the seemingly most safe havens. Educational institutions, houses of worship, libraries, and hospitals have all experienced increasing acts of violence in recent years. Otherwise peaceful organizations have found it necessary to retain private security to help safeguard their members.

Whether positioned inside the entrance of a building, housed outside in a guard booth that controls access to the facility like a church security booth, or dispersed throughout the complex, more and more companies are employing security details to keep their people and property safe. Some organizations are even opening security divisions within their own company, but most are outsourcing and hiring from medium to small security guard providers, so it’s a good time to start up a security company.

If you want to know how to start your own security business, this article will help you with the 6 most important tips to answer your question: How do I set up my own security guard company?

Security guards standing on the street

Tip #1: Start small and size your company right

There is nothing wrong with starting small. Doing so can be easy and cost-effective. Too many budding entrepreneurs feel the need to “go big” right out of the gate; that kind of monetary and emotional investment can be detrimental. When you open a security company, you need just a few well-trained guards, to begin with.

Don’t be afraid to be “the little guy” for a while.

When starting a private security business, first earn a good, solid reputation for being the best security business in the immediate area. Then, put the money you’ve earned back into the company to grow when your business necessitates additional resources, or to push outside your initial geographic boundaries.

Just because you can add people or products, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Don’t spend a lot of money on advertising in the beginning. Never underestimate the power of social media or face-to-face interactions in obtaining your first clients but be sure to invest in a dedicated advertising budget and campaign once your business is well established.

A computer with a map on the screen

Tip #2: Choose the right people.

Part of knowing how to own a security company is knowing that the foundation of every successful business is its employees. Choosing the right people for the right job can make or break an organization, and this is particularly true when it comes to security guards versus the other jobs that need to be done in your organization.

While you may want to see a strong, imposing presence as a security officer in the field, you certainly don’t want to see that same intimidating bouncer acting as a receptionist in your front office. Furthermore, you don’t want the same person protecting a door as you have doing the financial books or maintaining your facilities – you need different people for different jobs.

When making hiring decisions about guards themselves, choose someone who you would trust to protect your own family, and make sure they receive thorough training! Choose other employees for the specific skills needed to do their specific job. Sure, some people might be good at multiple jobs, and you are lucky to find such people. But do not convince someone to do a job that they are not good at just because you want to keep staff small; doing so can damage your company in a variety of ways.

Regardless of their position in your company – security guard, janitor, or receptionist – each and every individual should pass a rigorous background check. Your business is only as good as the people it employs!

Learn more by doing a web search on how to conduct employee background checks, and check out this article for some more best practices in the security industry.

Tip #3: Know the law.

It’s important to understand what the laws are when starting a security guard business. As previously mentioned, security guards do not have the same authority and obligations as police officers. They are, however, entitled to make citizen’s arrests as necessary. Of course, there are laws that apply not only to how your guards behave, but to your business practices in general. Also be aware that many states require individuals to take a course with an official certification in order to work as a security guard.

To run a business you will need to establish a legal business entity, purchase insurance, procure any necessary licenses and permits, register with the IRS, and open a business specific bank account. Understanding the legalities of establishing your organization, managing money, paying employees and so forth is a major factor in starting your business on the right track, and is something you should research in great detail.

Tip #4: Understand business and involve experts

Setting up a security company and handling all of the legal paperwork can be quite daunting. If you don’t have any previous business experience, it may be best to hire someone who does. Filing business taxes alone is an arduous process. At the very least, utilizing the services of a private accountant could save you significant time and money – in taxes and legal fees should your calculations for the IRS be incorrect – as well as sanity. Part of being a successful business person is knowing when to delegate tasks to professionals.

Knowing when to hire professionals can also come in handy with training. For example, unless you are a self-defense professional, you may want to hire a person who IS to help train your security guards and ensure they are prepared for anything that they may encounter on the job. It’s not enough to say “I know how to start my own security guard company” and then try doing it all on your own. You may want to consult or hire a human resources specialist to handle hiring and benefits paperwork. There are a variety of areas where the expertise of someone who does that specific thing for a living may be better for you and your company than you trying to do it all yourself and spreading yourself too thin.

People's hands on a desk with a computer and workflow chart

Tip #5: Know when to delegate – you can’t do it all.

Even if you know how to set up your own security company, you need qualified people in your organization to support your endeavor. Michael Gerber, author of the best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited, stresses the importance of hiring people who specialize (as we discussed in Tip #4), but also ensuring that each person has a backup. For instance, if you are hired to provide security for a wedding reception but you fall victim to food poisoning the night before, your entire business could crumble if you don’t have a suitable replacement.

“It is imperative that no solitary person hold all the power within your business, and that more than one person is trained and available for every job.”

According to Gerber, one of the biggest mistakes that new business owners make is thinking that they can do it all and building an entire business around only themselves. Such a business is doomed for failure, not because you aren’t amazing – you are – but because you simply can’t be everywhere at once and do everything.

Delegate not only responsibilities but wisdom as well. For example, make sure someone else knows the password to your voicemail system in the event you are unable to communicate. Many a yarn has been spun about overly controlling people and their subsequent downfalls. Don’t find yourself the antagonist of a cautionary fairytale by making the mistake of over-confidence and thinking that you can do it all.

Remember, even if you are amazing and CAN do everything, you can’t be in multiple places at once, so you will need a team of trained guards to take on all of the business that you plan to bring in!

Learn to delegate effectively and be the protagonist in a tale of tremendous success!

Tip #6: Create the right structure.

Not every fairytale takes place in a castle. Likewise, not every business needs a storefront. Operating out of your home might be fine in the beginning, and even in the long run, especially given that most of the work your staff does will be on your customer’s property.

Yet, when providing security, it may be prudent to consider investing in a guard booth to give your business an advantage. By offering the services provided with a guard booth you can significantly expand your client base and the services that you can offer. Peruse some of the options available to rent or own a guard booth here.

Furthermore, if your company becomes so large that you want clients to be able to come into the office to discuss new business or sign contracts, you may find yourself wanting to work out of an actual office or storefront. If you do, think carefully about where you put your business. A security guard business is usually something a potential client is specifically searching for, so you can take advantage of less expensive real estate options for your office without having to spend a lot of money on a really visible location in a high traffic area. An out of the way, yet convenient and professional looking office will serve you fine when starting a security company.

A Guardian Booth raised security booth with steps leading to it

With the right attitude, equipment, people, and training, you can have a successful security company of your own! For additional helpful hints and insight on how to set up a security company visit this industry source designed by entrepreneurs.

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