What Licenses Are Needed to Start a Security Company?

by Dino Herbert; Updated September 26, 2017
Security officers provide another level of protection for people and property.

It seems that every office building has at least one security guard, and there are security cameras in every grocery store, retail center and outlet mall. Security firms provide another level of protection for people and property to supplement the security provided by public law enforcement agencies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, security guard employment has risen steadily each year since 2000.

General Business License

A general business license is required by each state, city or other governmental jurisdiction for any type of business. This gives the business owner the authority to conduct its operations and allows the government entity to monitor its activity and levy taxes.

Security Service License

Any company that plans to provide security officers, guards, guard dogs or armored motor vehicles must apply for a security service license. The business owner must pay a fee, provide general liability insurance, be a person of integrity and have a minimum amount of experience in the security industry (for example, two years in the state of Ohio). Different states may have different names for this license. For example, California calls this the Private Patrol Operator License.

Security Guard/Officer License

A security guard or security officer license is required for each individual hired as a security guard prior to working for the company. Each guard must pass a criminal background check that is administered by the state. A felony, sexual offense or a crime which shows a lack of integrity will disqualify prospective employees. The security officer must carry a security officer identification card at all times while on duty. Typically, security guards must be at least 18 years of age.

Service Vendor's License

A service vendor's license is required in some states such as Ohio, which taxes private investigation and security services.

Firearm License/Permit

A firearm permit is required for only those security companies whose officers will carry hand guns. Each officer must pass a basic firearm training program approved by the state. In the state of Connecticut, the officer must be at least 21 years of age before a firearm license can be issued.

About the Author

Dino Herbert has written about entrepreneurship since 2008 and has blogged for The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. Herbert is a licensed architect and real estate agent who has operated his own architecture and real estate companies since 1995. Herbert has a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from Ohio State University and MBA (entrepreneurship) from Franklin University.

Photo Credits

  • security officer blowing whistle image by Elke Dennis from Fotolia.com