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Starting a business

How to Start a Successful Canadian Security Company

Security companies help keep homeowners, apartment dwellers, and businesses safe by providing an array of technical tools and security services. The success of your security business depends on picking a business model that suits your goals, and following procedures and strategies that legitimize your company.

Choose a Security Business Model

The first thing to consider when approaching the task of how to start a security company in Canada is selecting the right business model. Security is a multifaceted industry, and there are several paths to follow depending on your personal and professional interests. Four types of security companies are:

  • Home Security
  • Personal Security
  • Event Security
  • Automobile Security

It’'s a good idea to focus on one security niche instead of trying to cater to two or more different markets. Each submarket has plenty of competition, and you want to focus all your resources on carving out your own piece of that market, which requires branding and a good marketing plan.

Home Security

The home security market is huge, and it’s quite common to see advertisements for home security services directed at consumers and businesses. What makes the home security niche so lucrative is that homeowners and companies have a lot of money tied up in properties. Consumers and businesses are willing to spend significant money to protect people and property from the ravages of crime. Sophisticated technology is at the heart of home security, and you’ll want your company to offer the latest security systems. These systems typically include cameras, alarms, motion sensors, and 24-hour monitoring services.

Personal Security

Personal security services provide customized protection to individuals and groups who require either part-time or full-time protection. This type of company offers professional bodyguards as a means of defense against all sorts of threats. Your clients may be celebrities, dignitaries, business leaders, or children. You’ll be hiring licenced and trained bodyguards who can be trusted to do their jobs with minimal supervision.

Event Security

This business model involves providing professional guards for all sorts of private and public social events. Your guards are hired to do things such as manage crowds, keep out troublemakers, monitor entrances and exits, handle emergencies, and ensure the safety of all attendees.

Automotive Security

If you love cars, you may want to focus on providing vehicle owners with tools and systems that make car and truck ownership safer. This is a gadget-heavy niche, and your company can offer items such as the latest biometric-locking devices and car alarms.

Determine Your Target Market

Defining your target market is critical to your company’s success. You have a choice of catering only to consumers, such as individuals or homeowners, or only to businesses in small or large industries. Or, you can market to both types of customers. At the beginning, it’'s best to narrow your marketing focus and win over a small group of influencers.

Security Guard Training and Licencing

Canadian security companies are charged with protecting lives and property, and if your company is going to offer security guard services, you may want to get special training. Since 2007, the Canadian government has required all security guards to have a security guard licence. Each province has special requirements to obtain this licencing. Generally, potential guards must register with the solicitor general, pass pre-approved training courses, pass an exam, and possibly submit to a background check and fingerprinting. As a business owner, you’re not required to go through these steps, but obtaining security guard training and licencing gives you insight into what it takes to protect life, limb, and property from intruders and threats. Your training can be of immense value when it’s time to hire qualified personnel. This training can also give you valuable security industry expertise.

Security Business Licence Application

To operate in your province, you must first apply for a security business licence. Security licences are good for three years, and your company must be registered with a Canadian province. Partnerships and corporations must carry at least $1 million in liability insurance. Character counts for a lot, and whether you are operating as a sole proprietor or other business entity, you and your business partners must have clean criminal records, including no serious criminal offences and no outstanding criminal charges that haven’t been pardoned. Be prepared to provide business and personal documentation. Depending on your provisional government, this process takes between two weeks and six months. If your company qualifies for a registered-user business licence, owners are not required to have a criminal background check. However, the insurance requirement still stands.

Hiring the Right Employees

A key part of your business is hiring great people to work for your company. You want to hire managers who have several years of experience in the security industry. Any staff you hire should be able to pass a background check, which is a standard requirement for working in this industry. Security guards who work for your company should demonstrate they are well-trained, have excellent people skills, and possess all required licencing and weapons permits. Keep in mind that employees who get along well with people, and who care about helping others, reflect well on your company.

Marketing Your Company

You may have the best security techniques, systems, and personnel in the world, but without a good marketing plan, you won’t get very far. It’s tough for new companies to get noticed, so the more creative you get with advertising and promotions, the better your chances of gaining customers. Door hanger advertisements are an inexpensive way to get the word out. Create your own door hangers with bright graphics and bold text, or have a marketing firm create them for you. Another idea is to add your company logo and phone number to promotional items, and hand them out to potential customers at local events. Creating a security business requires focus and good planning. Building a winning company means choosing a good business model that suits you, targeting a consumer market, securing proper training and licencing, hiring good employees, and executing a creative marketing strategy.

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