General liability insurance protects your business from another person or business's claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs and damage to property. Some examples of what could be covered are below:
Here's What You Should Know About Starting A Security Company
So, you want to start a security company. That's great news! Just that there are important things you should know about it. At the end of the day, you don't want to start a random security company. You want to have a successful
security company, right?
What is a private security company anyway?
This type of company offers security services to private and public clients. It provides not only unarmed, but also armed expertise and professionals for a certain fee.
Before starting the work, the company and the client agree on a specific cost, as well as all the terms and conditions of the security services.
As a private security company is dealing with highly important matters, there are obviously some pretty clear rules concerning it. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics clarifies that a security company can engage in various services which include, but are not limited to:
• patrol services
• security guards
It can also ensure security in public or private spaces such as offices, buildings or parking spaces.
Why is there a need for private security companies?
There are two main reasons for this
• Public security is most of the time unable to cover certain areas, let alone to take care of private individuals in public or private spaces
• Many companies and individuals feel the need to have extra protection against people with bad intentions who can inflict physical harm or material damage.
People want to feel safe at any given time. Sometimes only private security companies have the power to ensure this peace of mind.
So this need for more protection and the gap left by public services makes a private security firm extremely useful. These professional services can protect properties and persons accordingly.
Are there standard services?
Each company has its own security-related offer of services. Also, every company and individual has specific needs and preferences that need to be addressed adequately.
Therefore many companies opt to be flexible and to make sure that clients' needs and expectations are met. So they can go the extra mile and provide customized offers according to the client's requirements.
The management of resources works great not only to significantly enhance customer satisfaction, but also to get recommendations for future collaborations. This eventually equals to more substantial revenues.
Certifications and licenses you need to have a security company
As with any other business, it is mandatory to have certain licenses and certifications in order to enter the business. Moreover, due to the nature of this field of activity, the regulations are of course strict.
The authority in charge with licensing private security operators is the Department of Consumer Affairs. There are a few licenses that you must obtain for yourself or for your employees:
Private patrol operator (PPO) license
Operating a security guard firm is not an easy task, particularly as it is its responsibility to keep people and properties out of harm's way. The rules vary from one state to another. The PPO can be the same as the QM (Qualified Manager).
These are the most commonly encountered requirements to obtain this license:
• You must be over 18
• You must have a clean criminal history background
• You should submit a license fee and pay the federal fees and the costs of service. This sums up to less than $1,000
• No violations or offenses of the Private Security Services Act
Make sure you know exactly what's required of you in your own state or in the state where you'd like to establish a security business.
For example, in Michigan, you need to have a clean background check, to be over 21 years old. Apart from this, it is also essential to be a high school graduate. Licensing fees usually don't go over $300 and can go as low as $100. A few years of experience in the field might also feature among the requirements.
Qualified manager (QM) license
A private security services company needs to be run by a qualified manager.
Thinking of managing the business yourself? Great, but you'll need this license for every service you offer. Experience matters a lot here as well.
The fees to apply for this license start around $40. Just keep in mind that each service requires a license. For example, you will need a separate one for guard dog services and for alarm ones.
Apart from the requirements for a PPO, you should have at least one year experience in security (guard, patrolperson or something related).
There is also an exam, which consists of:
• Emergency procedures
• Business and security knowledge
• Use of weapons
• The Private Security Services Act
Go to a live scan facility and submit an application including the fee, two passport-like recent photos and a signed Private Patrol Operator Live Scan form.
Security guard license
It's essential to be aware of the fact that security guards need to be employed. It is not possible for them to work as contractors so this option of collaboration is out from the very start.
Also, each person who works as a security guard needs a security guard license, which proves the required abilities to act properly in all situation that might occur. This involves training. There are courses approved by the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Service. They are typically 32 hours long.
Here's how things go in California: Rules and laws
Whether you're a bodyguard or a security guard, that doesn't make any difference in this state as you have to comply with the same regulations. Also, all employees need to carry their license at any given time.
Only licensed private patrol operators can work as bodyguards or security guards. Also, bodyguards who don't wear a uniform yet have a weapon that is out of sight need obviously not only a license to work in the industry, but also a firearm permit.
• BSIS Insurance for Security Guards
• PPO Guard Insurance
• Security Guard Liability
There are exceptions to this rule for active duty peace officers and retired ones who are allowed to carry hidden weapons.
Should you build your own business from the start or buy a franchise?
Is it possible to buy a franchise too. However, you can also take into account investing into your own business.
The reasons for going for a certain alternative instead of the other don't only have to do with the professional side of the business, but also with the personal one too. Some new business owners are tempted to see the bigger picture and to think more about the future from various points of view, while others are rather motivated by financial incentives alone.
If you plan to control all the aspects of the business that you possibly can, it is probably a better idea to work on building your own company. This also applies if you want to build a legacy.
For example, many business owners are looking not only to make their company thrive, but also to leave something behind to their children. They also take a lot of pride into building this success from scratch.
This is a scenario that you should consider. If it seems appealing to you and you have your children's future best interests in mind, this is one option that will bring you more fulfillment.
Also, if the private security company gets to be successful, you can start your own franchise. This is another thing that can bring significantly more benefits, not only from a personal, but from a professional standpoint as well as the revenues can skyrocket if you have flourishing franchise.
Then there is the possibility of buying an already established franchise. There are renowned firms in this domain of activity which are ready to sell their franchise.
If you are interested first and foremost into boosting your financial status and gaining profits as soon as possible in the industry, this is your best bet.
You will have in your hands the big advantage of a big name in the business, which will minimize all the hassle related to growing a company and making a name for yourself. Also, getting a franchise from a successful firm means that you won't have to battle with it for customers and business opportunities.
This is a big advantage as companies that are already established can be hard to beat when it comes to offers, especially if you have little to no experience.
• Security Company Insurance
• BSIS CA Security Guard Insurance armed & unarmed
However, keep in mind that regardless of your choice (franchise or business started from scratch), you will have to put hard work and determination into having a highly successful business. Focusing on the client and doing your best to ensure top security are just a few of the things that you should never forget when you're doing business in private security.
What about legal entities? Should I go for a LLC, C, S
The real question is: How far do you want to go? How big do you want your company to be?
Sure, these are quite surprising and bold questions at this stage, when you just have in mind the idea of having a private security services company. However, it is important to think a bit ahead in order to create a smooth path for your business right from the start.
How will you approach this? The legal entity matters.
There are a few main ones:
• Limited partnership
• General partnership
As with anything, each of them comes with advantages and downsides that might even differ from one state to another. So you have to think things through really well.
The legal structure is one thing worth reflecting upon. When it comes to licenses and certifications, everything is pretty straightforward so you don't have to take many decisions.
You just have to do the required things. Yet the legal entity is a matter of choice at the start, but it's a choice that can influence the course of action in the future.
In order to decide faster and to take the right decision for your goals, take these things into account:
• Limitation of personal liability
• Legal issues
• The possibility to add new owners
• Investing opportunities - both in terms of investors for your business and when it comes to other investments.
Most of the times the LLC is the best type of legal entity for a private security firm.
Other important things that you need to do:
• Go to the local police department and make sure you register the company.
• Get liability insurance.
It's mandatory to have a general liability insurance policy that covers at least $1,000,000. The insurance needs to be in effect when you renew the license as well. After you obtain the Certificate of Liability, you should submit it to the Private Security Services Bureau in your state.
This Certificate of Liability Insurance must be signed by the broker or an employee of the insurance company who issued the policy. The Certificate should mention the PPO company, license and policy number, as well as the dates when the policy is in effect. It should also reflect the amount of money covered for each occurrence (should be at least one million dollars), that it covers only the licensee and that the policy doesn't include a retention provision. The policy company will notify the Bureau of any policy changes.
• During guard duty, you and your employees must carry a valid security guard registration card, the firearms permit. Also, the employees must report to the employer within 24 hours any incident involving firearm discharge.
• Remember that your employees have to meet all the legal laws for security guards.
• Security guard training programs are very useful. They teach you the responsibilities, limitations and restrictions of guards.
Apart from that, you'll also learn facts concerning liabilities (criminal, civil, employer liability or personal one). Such a program also includes important information concerning security officer safety measures, as well as emergency situation response or ethics.
• While enrolling in a criminal law course is not mandatory, it is definitely a good and highly recommended idea as it will help you understand better the regulations and everything else about it. There are colleges who held such courses and you can even find online courses if that works best for you.
Marketing Your Private Security Company
You might have the best business in the whole wide world. Your ethics might be impeccable and you might be totally committed to deliver 100% client security and satisfaction.
Yet in order to get clients, you need to use marketing strategies to make your business known to people who might be interested in your services. For this you need not only to build a strong reputation in the field, but also to boost your company's exposure, preferably through the correct usage of as many channels as possible.
Here are a few highly useful marketing techniques that you can use:
Promote your business online.
This is the key thing that you should take into account as everything happens in the digital world nowadays and people are looking there first and foremost whenever they need something. So you need to have an active presence.
It's is absolutely mandatory to have a fully functional appealing website, as well as a few social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Post there often and keep in mind to address all the questions or concerns that prospects or existing clients might have.
Advertising through other channels is recommended as well, especially if your budget allows you to get some TV radio or magazine ads.
One opportunity that is often overlooked consists in making yourself available for various TV or radio interviews. If someone asks for your opinion, don't hesitate to give it as you get the chance to promote your business as well by offering advice concerning this field of activity.
You might not think that there are security related talk shows out there. Though this type of shows might be limited in your area, TV and radio stations are always on the lookout for interesting people to interview. Working on improving people's security sure is a good reason to be featured on air.
Don't forget to attend many security events.
Look for business fairs, seminars or any other security-related event where you could participate. It's a good opportunity to see how your competitors are approaching business, as well as to get known and to meet potential business partners and clients.
Introduce the company to the organizations and firms in the region.
You can send an introductory letter or email to schools, stores or offices. Present your services and see whether they need your help.
Having a straightforward yet comprehensive brochure or presentation will allow you to get your point across quickly. It will also enable your prospects to determine what your business is about and whether they could use your services.
Are there any local chambers of commerce? If there are, join to network and market your new private security firm.
Starting your own private security company might involve pretty many steps, yet it is an experience that can turn into a profitable and rewarding business.