Starting a business can be daunting knowing best approach to your market is essential before starting.
In Uk security industry there is not a mandatory need to be ACS which is to be a registered business license for security guarding. In this blog we will discuss the subject of this and that of other areas such as name and company formation that are to be considered before starting a security business.
UK Guard licensing.
Licensing for security officers and guards is required in UK this covers individuals. Different licensing types can be CCTV,Door Supervisor and static guarding. Typically CCTV is least of SIA badges you will see in industry this is working on some simple math after all how many roles will there be in Uk for CCTV operators? How many CCTV stations that are monitored solely? typically a CCTV operator will be control room based role that will mean operator viewing multiple screens. Static guarding badges are all in title with many officers taking this type badge on pretense they will be working on site work , with nature of much site work this is temporary as is nature of security. Positions which are often more stable in this industry for which this badge would suffice would be, airport security or fixed gatehouse positions with monitoring access control.
Preference is therefore given often to DS badges as these badges will cover both static and licensed and event type roles. For this reason and minimal amount of cost between two must budding guards will choose this as preferred option. The above badges are necessary to work in the security industry as an individual working for a security company business. You will also need to perform a training course prior to this and typically this will take 2-3 days and works on one part written and one part physical. The course will typically cost between £190-£240 this is excluding the cost of security badge for which a DBS will be required to check for criminal history. Some companies will request for “Money in transit” type roles that the applicant has a credit check.
Voluntary ACS Business license.
Introduced as part of SIA (industry body in UK) as an optional license the intention was to improve the security business. However many within industry find this to be a tick box exercise that is laborious and has not led to intention it had set out to achieve. In fact many large companies are now leaving this scheme due to inflated costs by trainers and primarily the SIA its self for which has seen its credibility tested with rising costs and non conforming companies. It has also made its self more difficult to contact with only a via email policy now in place. To the ACS credit it has managed to convince many local authority’s and government UK agencies to request security companies have such an accreditation to achieve a contract. As such many smaller operators look to feed off of large corporate’s, which secure these contracts and then sub contract to these companies. This level of sub contracting is common place in market with some SIA companies following requirement to use ACS approved contractors and others realizing that quality of guarding is down to company not piece paper on wall. So is there future in ACS? the above is view shared by many professionals however the scope of scheme still offers value is really down to individual on whether they feel having the voluntary scheme is beneficial. Certainly for new businesses or self starters it acts as blue print to work off of. ACS is route to take for companies to which are tendering for public authority contracts or for tho’s that are wanting to work as a sub contractor. Bear in mind with margins very low in the industry this will be working on tight margins and you will likely find many these companies if the hourly rate fits will choose to prioritize this over any accreditation.
Choosing a security Company Name.
Choosing a security company name will involve degree of research into future potential competitors. You will need to ensure your name is not same as another business. A simple search of your desired name on google,bing,yahoo will determine this for you. Also think about your target market for example if your business was called construction guards ltd and your target market was licensed premises, you may want to choose a name which is more befitting of a security company that operates door supervisors in bars. Also of note will be how you advertise your business and if you choose a website you will want to know that the domain is available.
You will need to decide on your company formation how you register with Gov.uk. There are several options available to you such as sole trader or ltd company status. You should always seek professional advice so going to your nearest accountant is best practice on this. He or She will advise the best option and will discuss your business with you, as well as estimated turnover and whether you believe you will need to be vat registered.For many security companies and nature of turnover this is often done in year one. If you are starting a business with a partner you will need to decide if both or multiple parties will be directors of business and how much share capital in example of ltd partnership you wish to put in. Shareholders there after will have to be defined, this can be split equally or shares given to one party more if this is case it will be worked on percentages. The accountant or book keeper will advise you of your tax obligations and dates to which meet them.
PAYE or Self Employed staff choices and law requirements.
This area is also advised to seek assistance can be done via your accountant or federation of small business which is an organisation which assists small business in such matters. Typically self employed individuals in united kingdom will be one for whom is temporary or works at multiple locations. You will be required to ensure your self employed officer has a UTR number invoices with full address and name as well as bank details therefore is treated much like a sub contractor or physical company. A paye employee would be employed for a fixed site with fixed hours or hours that can be guaranteed. Typically for majority of security companies in United kingdom preference is self employed due solely to nature of the business. Through there has been improvements in this area some will favor one or other. You must seriously consider if this is option for you as a business owner you will be automatically self employed therefore responsible for your own tax. Self employed will mean you will not benefit from holiday pay or pension contributions, however in self employed you may find your freedom to work for other parties and determine your rate means you will be better off. We suggest you research this thoroughly prior to starting.
Insurance in form of public liability will also have to be considered and respected costs of this. You will need to ensure the level of cover and type of cover suffices your business.
Thank you for reading this blog the views of this blog are that of individual. Titan Security Europe advise you seek professional advice, this blog is for purpose of insight. The person experiences in the security industry form his own opinions. The individual has been in security business for 18 years and serves international front line armed security overseas.