How to Start a Security Company in the UK – A Complete Guide

Crime levels have risen by 8% over the past three years, so there’s never been a better time to start a security company. You may want to leverage your experience within the industry or are passionate about protecting others following a personal experience of crime. Whatever your motivation, we have a complete guide on how to start a security company in the UK, to help you follow your dream.

Here, you’ll discover why entering the UK security industry can be so profitable. You’ll learn about the different security niches and the rules and regulations surrounding security businesses, and you’ll explore the benefits of a solid business plan. We’ll walk you through each stage of the process, from market research and hiring to insuring your company, keeping you secure as you start your new venture.


shows a large security camera on a wall - starting a security business


The lowdown on the UK security industry

Historically, unsettled times have led to a rise in crime and recent years have not bucked this trend. When the world was plunged into economic crisis following the pandemic, the soaring cost of living was accompanied by an increase in crime rates. In response, businesses and homeowners have been tightening their security, meaning security companies are in high demand. In fact, between 2021 and 2023, the number of people employed within the security industry in the UK rose by 30,000.

In 2023, well over 10,000 security enterprises were registered in the UK, and private businesses within this sector are forecast to generate £8.8 billion in revenue over the next five years. If you’d like a slice of this growing industry, read on to learn how to start a security company in the UK.


Why move into security?

Security has an excellent track record if you’re looking for a recession-proof business. Indeed, a security company is likely to increase its trade during periods of financial or social crisis.

As energy prices continue to rise, the country remains in debt, and global political unrest contributes to soaring living costs, the UK can expect issues like robbery and cybercrime to increase. The need for enhanced security is only set to rise, making it a great time to get your foot in the door.

A rewarding career that protects individuals and the wider community by driving down crime levels, a security business can be extremely rewarding and financially profitable. Hiring a team with a common goal can create a positive and productive working environment. Often relatively easy to scale, if you nurture a successful business model, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your business locally or even nationally.


Setting up a security business - Shows a security guard in position


Types of security businesses

If you’ve been thinking about how to start a security business, make sure you spend time defining your niche. Security companies in the UK fall into four broad categories:

  1. Private security companies. These offer specialist services such as security guards and bodyguards, CCTV monitoring, home security, keyholding, event security, cash and high-value transportation, and parking security.
  2. Cybersecurity. A sector that will continue to grow over time, cybersecurity companies keep the digital data of individuals and companies safe.
  3. Security consultancies are firms that offer consultancy services to fulfil the security needs of private homes and businesses.
  4. Security training. Companies that offer comprehensive, safe, and effective security training are the backbone of the industry. From training security guards and bouncers to teaching the latest cybersecurity techniques, a great training facility will always be in demand.

It’s best to move into a category that you have worked in for several years, that you can successfully train in, or can put together a first-class team of professionals who know the niche inside and out.


Starting a security business: Qualifications, rules and regulations

You must familiarise yourself with the legal requirements of starting a security company. Understandably, the security industry is subject to stringent rules and regulations that keep security professionals, their clients, and members of the public safe. To ensure you’re starting and running your new business in line with the UK’s regulations, head to the Security Industry Association (SIA) for full guidance.


SIA Licenses

The SIA governs the UK’s security industry; you must apply for niche-specific licenses for your company’s front-line and non-front-line roles. To obtain a license, your company will need to demonstrate the relevant level of training or qualification.


Industry approved training

Qualifications and training are key in the security industry; your business can’t function legally without them. Find reputable security course providers and double-check with the SIA that the certification will lead to your required license. You’ll need to renew many of your SIA licenses every three years, requiring refresher training.



Beyond the requisite licenses, you may also like to help your business stand out with industry accreditations such as:

  • ISO 9001 and ISO 14001
  • The SIA’s Approved Contractors Scheme (SIA ACS)
  • The Contractors Health and Safety Scheme (CHAS)
  • The Alcumus Safe Contractor scheme

Insurance is a crucial consideration when starting a security company. Not only are some forms of insurance a legal requirement in the UK, but you’ll also find most companies won’t hire an uninsured security service. Protecting your staff, clients, and business finances should be a leading concern with innate industry risks faced.


Stay on track with a business plan

Constructing a comprehensive business plan is the perfect way to get yourself organised. Beyond keeping track of your finances and applying for funding, it helps you to think through every stage of the business set-up and launch. A business plan will include:

  • Your operational model
  • SWOT analysis
  • Your vision, values, and mission
  • Financial breakdowns
  • Market research
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Pricing


shows a close up of a securty camera - how to start a security company


Analysing the competition

Planning out your finances is one of the significant benefits of compiling a business plan, but working out where to place yourself within the security industry through market research is equally important to the success of your business.

Understanding what your competitors offer will allow you to hone your unique selling point. There may be numerous local security firms that provide your chosen speciality, so you must work out what makes you different.


Do you and your team have more experience?

Do your staff boast enhanced levels of training?

Is your approach to security unique in some way?

Do you offer services other local competitors don’t?


Rather than simply trying to price yourself competitively, think about selling points that will make you stand out. Remember, clients won’t necessarily think cheaper is better – indeed, a low price point could project a negative image of the quality of your services.


Cost guidelines

When thinking about how to start your own security company, one of the most pressing questions is how much it will cost. The costs involved in setting up a security business vary depending on the niche of the security work, with estimates between £2000 and £20,000. However, most security companies will share the following outlays:

  • Insurance – The cost of a security company’s insurance premium depends on the types of cover chosen and the level of coverage taken out. The nature of the risks faced by the business will also impact this cost. For example, a security company that places employees in higher-risk situations will pay more than an office-based cybersecurity firm.
  • SIA licenses – You should expect to pay around £220 for each standard SIA license. If your company requires multiple licenses, the SIA often offers a 50% discount on additional licenses.
  • Premises – Whether you work from your home office, have staff in an office building, or require a warehouse for your security equipment, there will always be ongoing premise-related outlays.
  • Vehicles – You may need to pay for vehicles to keep your business flowing. This could be for staff transport to jobs, consultancy premise visits, or engineers installing security equipment.
  • Salaries – The company’s wages will represent a significant proportion of your ongoing costs. You’re legally obligated to pay the UK’s minimum wage, and experienced staff will need to be paid a salary that reflects their skillset and contribution to the success of your business.
  • Equipment – The type of security jobs your business performs will dictate the equipment you must purchase. For cybersecurity, you’ll need to kit out on-site staff with office furniture, computers or laptops, and all the relevant security programmes that facilitate your services. If your company provides security guards, they’ll need communications tools (such as mobile phones, walkie-talkies or mics and earpieces), incident record-keeping equipment (such as a tablet, notebook, and camera), and a tool belt to keep their hands free to deal with incidents.
  • Uniforms and protective clothing – To paint a professional image of your firm, a uniform sporting your company logo is an important outlay. For public-facing staff, you can supply jackets featuring the word “SECURITY”. Protective clothing could be anything from high-visibility gear to bullet and stab-proof vests, depending on the working environment.


shows a close up of a laptop keyboard

Hiring: How to find the best security professionals

A first-class workforce is vital when starting a security business. It takes a particular type of person to work in security, and it also takes the right type of training. It’s useful to work with experienced security professionals, but as your personal hiring experience grows, you’ll also learn to spot untrained individuals who would fit the role well once they’ve completed the right qualifications.

There are several vital attributes a potential security candidate must have:

  • A criminal background check carried out to the British Standards Institution’s BS7858 standard must come back clean.
  • The appropriate SIA license(s) or a willingness to undertake training to receive the necessary license(s).
  • An authoritative personality balanced with a friendly and calm demeanour. One of the most critical security traits is understanding how to de-escalate situations.
  • Good communication skills, both within a working team and with clients or members of the public.
  • Excellent report-writing skills to accurately document incidents that may need to be passed on to the police or used to make an insurance claim.


You need to know where to look for security staff, especially if you want good retention rates. Posting jobs online can attract plenty of applicants, but you must become proficient at spotting suitable candidates—otherwise, you’ll lose many hours to unsuccessful interviews. When you post a job description online, be very specific regarding the experience, qualifications, and licenses or skillset you require.

Security training schools can be a good source of well-trained and motivated individuals. If you build a good rapport with the school, they can recommend graduates keen to make a career in security.


Finding clients

With all the previous steps and considerations in place, it’s time to start looking for clients. Having experience in the industry will undoubtedly help you attract clients, but if you’ve previously been an employee of a security company, contractual non-compete restrictions may prevent you from accessing certain clients for some time. You could, however, ask for referrals, and these will become the bread and butter of your growth as your good reputation blossoms.


Build your website

To attract new clients, curate a positive online presence. A business website allows you to tell your company’s story and detail your services. When someone is looking for security for their home, business, or event, they aren’t making an impulse purchase. Therefore, your website should provide precise details of what you offer and why your company does it best.

Use social media platforms linking to your website to help clients get all the necessary information.


Cold contact

When first starting your security company, you don’t wait for clients to come to you. Identify businesses that could benefit from your services and cold call or email them. Tell them how you could help them and even offer an introductory discount. For the best results, do your research and find out who in the company will make decisions regarding security, directing your call or email to them.

Tailor your approach. Learn about the company, identify threats they may face, and approach them with solutions to these.


shows two large security cameras



Insuring your new security business

A tailored insurance policy is one of the most essential requirements for starting a security company in the UK. Failure to take out the right insurance could be a costly mistake. The nature of the job means incidents can and do occur. If you don’t have insurance coverage, you will be liable to pay for any successful claims made against you by clients, members of the public, or employees.


There are three key areas of cover you need to consider:

Employer’s liability – If you hire staff (who aren’t direct members of your family), you must take out at least £5 million in employer’s liability coverage. This will cover any claims made against you by staff members who are injured or have become ill due to their security work with your company.

Public liability – Because your company may encounter members of the public either directly or indirectly during business operations, public liability cover should be considered a necessity. If a member of the public is injured or their personal property is damaged by one of your employees or an item of your equipment, they could make an expensive claim against you. A club attendee could slip and hurt themselves as one of your guards escorts them from the venue, or their expensive handbag strap could be broken in the process.

Professional indemnity – If you’re starting a security company that offers services or advice, be ready to deal with claims when these go wrong. If you or an employee makes a mistake during your security work that costs your client money, they can claim compensation. If your cybersecurity system fails or a security guard allows damage to occur on their watch, you can call upon this cover should the client claim for their associated losses.


Now that you’ve seen what it takes to legally set up and market a security company, you need to protect all this hard work. Park Insurance has been protecting small businesses for over 30 years. Specialising in creating tailored policies that meet the unique needs of your security business, Park Insurance works with you to provide a policy that offers complete peace of mind.

Give one of our friendly insurance experts a call today to see how we can keep your business secure as you protect the security of others.