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Security Business

  • November 7, 2007 7:16 AM EST
    The security business is a very competitive, low-margin business. Client`s want high-quality security officers, yet most only want to accept the low bid when they are soliciting proposals. Very few are willing to "pay more to get more". Many security agencies pay their security officers just a little over minimum wage.
    The security companies that I have seen that are successful usually specialize in some niche market, such as high-rise buildings, health care, event security, or executive protection. It takes quite a while to get established within a given niche, but once you do, you develop a reputation as a specialist and have an advantage over more generalized firms.
    Off-duty police officers working security assignments generally command higher rates than security officers who are not law enforcement employees. This is a two edged sword. The advantages of an off-duty officer include better training, more credibility and respect, and the ability to carry a firearm in places where a private security officer can`t.
    However, only a small number of security assignments can justify the higher rate that must be paid to the off-duty police officer. In my part of the county (Seattle), the billing rate for an unarmed security officer can be as little as $16 per hour; the billing rate for an off-duty police officer is $40-45 per hour. Most clients won`t pay this for routine security assignments.
    Also, off-duty police officers are almost always subject to call-up by their agencies during times of crisis, such as after an earthquake, during protests, etc. This means that clients who depend solely on off-duty police officers to provide their security are often left without coverage just at the time when they may need it the most. Many clients have learned about this the hard way in the past and now only use off-duty police to supplement, rather than replace, their private security force.
    There is an excellent forum for the security business at:
    You may want to read through some of the messages there to get some more ideas about the security business and post your question there. Good luck with the endeavor!

    Michael A. Silva
    Silva Consultants

    • 13 posts
    November 7, 2007 3:33 PM EST

    Well said Mr. Silva.

    Basic of any business is proper research; dig into your niche business as much as possible.

    Your husband has the adequate expertise to start a security business but your concern should be how to get leads for this business. Yes, I do see that you are more worried for this also. There are lots of places in internet who generate leads for small businesses. They are not at all costly, you can afford to buy some and offer a proposal to your clients. You can also look for franchise opportunities. You can also put together few of your husband’s expertise in a website to represent your business in a better way. This will prove your seriousness and professionalism. Nothing is paid overnight so if you are really interested then read more on this topic and you will find your answer.


    Business Opportunities:

    • 2 posts
    November 7, 2007 6:17 AM EST
    Anyone know the pros and cons of starting a security business?  My husband is a police officer and like other officers always looking for side work.  I would have the man power to fill jobs (armed jobs) but don`t know how to get the customers.
    • 2 posts
    November 7, 2007 12:45 PM EST

    Dear Mr. Silva,

    Thank you for taking time out of your busy day and responding.  It was greatly appreciated.

    I believe finding a niche and short term assignments are the way to go.  We live in Chicago and my husband manages security for some of the rooftops across from Wrigley Field during baseball season.  While this is a small job, it supplements our income and those of fellow officers.  My husband would like to do executive protection but at the moment we know very few officers qualified and trained for that type of work.

    Thank you again and I will check into the website you mentioned and continue with my research.