How To Start A Security Company: The Complete Guide

Man wondering how to start a security company

The private security industry has gone through significant growth in recent years, and analysts predict the upward trend will continue over the next decade. A growing number of entrepreneurs are considering how to start a security company to take advantage of this momentum.

In this article, we guide you through the process of starting a successful security company, from the initial planning phase to optimizing day-to-day activities.

Table Of Contents

How To Start A Security Company: Planning

Security scanning down a person

Successful business endeavors rarely emerge from spur-of-the-moment decisions, but many startups have failed because of poor preparation. Market research and a solid business plan are essential, whatever the industry you’re trying to enter.

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether starting a security company is a viable move.

Services To Offer

Knowing how to start a security company depends a lot on exactly what type of services your company will provide.

Within the general category of private security services, there’s a wide range of specific services that companies in the industry offer to clients. A few of these include:

  • Event security
  • Bodyguarding
  • Security camera monitoring
  • Loss prevention
  • Corporate security
  • Private investigation

Some private security firms offer multiple different services, while many smaller companies may specialize in just one or two. For a fledgling company, it’s probably a good idea to focus on just one area of the industry and expand from there.

Client Needs

Which area does it make the most sense for your prospective security company to concentrate on?

There’s no simple, generalized answer to that question. However, the fundamental principles of making a business successful are no different in the private security industry than any other: Your best bet is to look for an unfilled gap in the local market and then fill it.

This means that an important part of your planning should be conducting research on what type of security services are most in demand from potential clients in your area.

For example, are retail businesses suffering from a rash of shoplifting thefts? Are new entertainment venues opening up that will need security staff for crowded events?

Conducting market research like this will help you figure out what type of services your new security company should offer starting out.


As the adage says, you have to spend money to make money. Like any business, getting a security company off the ground means making sure you have sufficient startup capital.

Compared to startups in some industries, one advantage of a security company venture is that it usually won’t require high up-front costs for facilities or equipment.

The actual amount you need to budget to launch your security company varies depending on the particular service or services you intend to offer, the number of employees you hire, and local licensing requirements.

A large portion of the initial budget will probably go towards licensing and other bureaucratic expenses. Typical estimates of the amount of startup capital required for a private security business range from $5,000 to $20,000.

How To Start A Security Company: Launch

Male security guard standing watch near office building

You’ve researched different types of security services, investigated the needs of potential clients, found a market niche, and have startup capital in hand. Now, let’s look at the necessary steps to actually get your new security business operating.

Legal And Tax Requirements

You’ll need to decide how you want to structure your business for legal and tax purposes. Some of the options include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • S-Corp
  • C-Corp

Explaining the pros and cons of each is beyond the scope of our discussion today, so consult a legal professional.

You’ll need to register your new business with the federal government and the IRS to receive an employer identification number and with the relevant state and local authorities before you can officially start operating.


Whatever type of business you’re in, it’s a good idea to keep your personal and business finances separate. It may even be required depending on how you chose to legally structure your company.

Setting up a business bank account will save you time on recordkeeping, accounting, payroll, taxes, and tracking profits and losses. Get advice from an accountant if you have questions.


The nature of the private security industry means that the business comes with more on-the-job risks than you would be exposed to if you were, say, running a floral arrangement shop. This makes it even more vital that your new company is insured before you commence operations.

Any business, whatever the industry, will typically need a general liability insurance policy. If your company has more than a certain number of employees (which varies by state), you’ll also need workers’ compensation insurance.

Because individual auto insurance policies won’t cover accidents or injuries that occur while employees are performing job duties, you may need to invest in commercial automobile insurance as well.


For the same reasons that it’s so important you make sure your security company is properly insured, it’s essential that you research and comply with all license and permit requirements for private security.

These requirements vary by locality and according to factors like whether your employees will be armed. Some states require that private security officers complete training courses.

Failure to follow all of the licensing requirements for the locality where your company will be operating can expose you to hefty fines and legal liability.

How To Start A Security Company: Operations

How To Start A Security Company: Operations

Once you’ve filed all of the paperwork and fulfilled all of the legal requirements necessary for a security company in your area, there are still a lot of things you’ll need to stay on top of to make your new venture operate smoothly.

Scheduling And Tasking

Private security work means that, in many cases, your employees will be working at multiple different locations and probably working unusual and variable hours as well.

If you don’t use the right tools, handling scheduling and assignments could lead to major headaches for managers, no-shows by employees, and lost business.

Software tools like Inch can streamline the work of making and publishing the schedule and also feature powerful task-assignment features so everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing, where, and when.


Of course, making the schedule is one thing. Having confidence that your employees will actually follow it is another.

Running a security business means that it’s extra crucial your firm delivers on its obligations to clients. You need a way of ensuring accountability from employees out on assignment.

Inch’s time clock feature provides geofencing that ensures employees can only clock in for an assignment when they’re in the right location for the job.

Time Tracking

Time Tracking for a security business

With a private security business, it’s likely that you won’t have the convenience of being able to have your employees clock in and out at a central office location.

With staff working irregular hours in many different places, you’ll need to find a convenient, reliable solution for employee time tracking, or you’ll end up wasting time on payroll and administration.

With Inch, you can use almost any device as a time clock, and you can compile all of the data into interactive reports you can use for tasks like payroll and client invoicing.

Managing Your Security Business With Inch

The private security industry is steadily growing, and the momentum shows no sign of stopping. This growth, combined with the modest startup requirements, has an increasing number of aspiring small business owners researching how to start a security company of their own.

Being successful in the private security industry takes good market research, a smart business plan, close attention to licensing and other legalities, and effective operations management.

To help you get started, Inch is an all-in-one software application for scheduling, time tracking, task management, and team communication that can be a big help to managers in the private security business.

Inch makes it easy to create a schedule that makes sense, keeps employees accountable, offers robust reporting to simplify administration, and helps your team stay on the same page with convenient notification features.

To learn more about how Inch can be an invaluable resource for your company, visit today.

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