Security companies safeguard the health and property of clients. While some security companies protect private people, residences and businesses, other firms may work for government agencies. In all cases, security firms incur expenses when starting up the business. According to MySmallBiz.com, security companies can expect to initially spend between $7,000 and $50,000, depending on the number of employees and inaugural clients.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, new start-up companies incur fees related to registration and the acquisition of licenses. Most states require that companies providing personal security receive a license first, and the application process usually includes a fee. License fees vary by state. In Connecticut, for example, a security company must pay $300, while in Florida it must pay $450.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in most states security guards must undergo training before they can work. This usually includes courses related to their job, such as training in firearms and the appropriate use of force. Some companies pay for training, while others require guards to pay for their own. Costs vary depending on state requirements.
Most security companies have a physical office space in which to meet clients, store equipment and conduct other business. Because of the nature of the work, which is usually conducted off-site, the office generally does not have to be sophisticated.
While some security companies allow their employees to dress in regular clothes, the vast majority require that on-duty guards wear uniforms identifying themselves as security guards. These uniforms are provided by the company. They not only help the public identify the guards as authority figures, but also function as advertising for the security company. Uniforms cost as little as $100 per employee.
Most security guards carry some form of equipment. This can range from a flashlight and walkie-talkie to various weapons, including batons and handguns. Most security firms purchase and maintain their own inventories.
Some security firms use surveillance equipment, either to better guard certain areas or--at the behest of clients--to monitor the activities of certain people. This can range from a simple digital camera to video equipment of considerable complexity and expense. For instance, one online store offers a system in which four cameras can be simultaneously viewed and recorded, for $1275.75 plus the cost of shipping.
Many security firms own one or more vehicles with which employees can travel to and from assignments or use while on the job. The precise type of vehicle varies, but many companies choose to outfit their vehicles with safety equipment and decorate them with company insignia.
Security companies can't function without clients. In order to find business, virtually all security companies engage in some form of marketing. This can range from inexpensive word-of-mouth marketing to a more expensive radio and television campaign.
According to the venture capital firm Gaebler Ventures, a 30-second television spot in a medium-size market costs about $5 per 1000 viewers, translating to about $100 per commercial slot. To produce the ad costs at least $1000.
According to the website CostofRadioAdvertising.com, prices for airing a 30-second radio spot vary considerably depending on the city, ranging from $25 in Anchorage, Alaska, to $1405 in New York, New York.
2016 Salary Information for Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
Security guards and gaming surveillance officers earned a median annual salary of $25,830 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, security guards and gaming surveillance officers earned a 25th percentile salary of $21,340, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $34,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,134,000 people were employed in the U.S. as security guards and gaming surveillance officers.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
- U.S. Small Business Administration: Start Your Business
- Police One: The Business of Security
- A Touch of Business: Starting a Security Business--Essential Tips
- MySmallBiz.com: Starting a Security Business
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
- Career Trend: Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.