Starting a security company is a natural career progression for those previously in law enforcement. Jon Felperin is director of The Center for Law Enforcement Training based in Northridge, CA. He says "most officers before, during or after their career somehow get involved with private security. With increased federal funding and nationwide attention, there's never been a better time to start a private security company." But this entrepreneurial venture is not limited to former law enforcement officers. If you feel the desire to protect others and their property, operating a security business could be the ideal business venture for you.

Apply for a guard card. The guard card is the required license for every security professional in the state. Complete 40 hours of security guard training as required by the state. Take the "Power to Arrest" Exam and Training course, which encompasses eight of those required hours. You can find testing facilities online or through the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS). Register with the California Department of Justice. Within the first 30 days of registration, complete 16 hours of training with a reputable security training program and complete another 16 hours within the first six months of registration.

Work as a security officer for one year and clock a minimum of 2,000 hours. State law requires that you have this work experience under your belt before you are eligible to apply for the company license.

Apply for a company license. The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services advises: "To apply for a company license, submit the $700 company license fee, two recent passport-quality photographs and a Private Patrol Operator Live Scan form signed by the Live Scan Operator. Mail applications to the California Department of Consumer Affairs: Bureau of Security and Investigative Services P.O. Box 989002 West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002

Request a criminal background check via the Department of Justice and the FBI. The FBI charges $119 for processing fingerprints and the Department of Justice charges $32. Bring the fees along with you to the site where you will be fingerprinted.

Find insurance coverage. The BSIS requires you to have a minimum of $1 million in insurance coverage. Half of that covers property that could be destroyed while your guards are performing their duties and the other half covers death or injury to your employees or others in your protection.

Complete the required Business and Professions Code, knowledge-based exam at the local BSIS office or a state-certified security training school. The test is to show your knowledge of the Private Security Services Act, deadly weapons, rules and regulations imposed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services and the procedures your employees should follow in the event of an emergency. The exam takes approximately two hours and you must pass it in order to be licensed.


To request the license application call the Department of Consumer Affairs at 800-952-5210, or visit their web address at