Starting a Security Company in Hawaii | A Step-by-Step Guide

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
Last updated: 
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Hawaii Security Company

Starting a security company can be a lucrative business opportunity in Hawaii, especially in today’s world, where the demand for security services is rising. However, Hawaii requires careful planning, a thorough understanding of the industry, and diligent execution to ensure success. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to Start a Security Company in Hawaii and help you navigate the various steps involved in setting up your own Limited Liability Company.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you gain knowledge through thorough research and market study. Before starting your Hawaii security company, all the steps in this article must guide you.

What is a Security Company in Hawaii

A security company in Hawaii is a business organization providing varying protection services to individuals and other businesses. These services can range from personal protection, akin to bodyguard services, to security systems for large corporations. Such companies aim to safeguard their clients’ assets by mitigating potential threats and breaches. State laws regulate them; they must obtain appropriate licenses and certifications before starting their operations.

To start a security company in Hawaii, one may form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Setting up an LLC in Hawaii adds credibility to the business, protects personal assets, and often simplifies tax filing processes. With an LLC, the company’s assets and liabilities are separate from those of its owners. Therefore, the owner’s personal property cannot cover the company’s debts.

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How to Start a Security Company in Hawaii

To form an LLC for a security company, there are various steps you need to be aware of, especially if you will form it in Honolulu. Here are the necessary steps and proper guidelines for starting a security company. 

Step1: Research the Market and Competition

Before starting a security company, studying the market and competition in Hawaii is essential. This will give you a better understanding of the existing security companies, their services, and their target clients. You can use various resources such as the internet, local business directories, and networking with security professionals in your area.

While researching the market, focus on identifying the demand for various security services, such as armed or unarmed security guards, alarm monitoring, and security systems installation. This will help you determine the type of services your company will offer and the target audience.

Step 2: Develop a Business Plan

A well-thought-out business plan is crucial for starting a security company in Hawaii. The business plan should outline your company’s goals, target market, services, marketing strategies, and financial projections. It should also include an analysis of the competition and potential challenges your company might face.

A solid business plan will help you stay organized and focused on your objectives and will also be required when seeking financing or investment for your security company.

Step 3. Choose a Business Structure

When starting a security company in Hawaii, you must choose a business structure that best suits your needs and meets the legal requirements. Here are the most common business structures to consider:

Sole Proprietorship

This is the simplest business structure, where you, as the owner, have full control over the business and are personally responsible for all debts and liabilities. This may be suitable for small security businesses with minimal risk exposure.

Partnership

Starting a limited partnership or general partnership in Hawaii is also an ideal business structure since it is owned by two or more individuals who share the profits, losses, and responsibilities. This can be a good option if you’re starting a security company with a partner and want to share decision-making and financial responsibilities.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC combines a corporation’s and a partnership’s benefits. Owners, called members, have limited personal liability for the company’s debts and actions while also enjoying flexible management options. This is a popular choice for small to medium-sized security companies, as it provides some protection for personal assets.

Corporation

A corporation is a separate legal entity owned by shareholders. It provides the most protection from personal liability but also involves more regulations, paperwork, and costs to set up and maintain. Corporations in Hawaii are typically more suitable for larger security companies with multiple employees and substantial assets.

When starting a security company in Hawaii, consult with a Business Attorney in Hawaii to determine the most suitable business structure for your specific needs and goals. We recommend to start an LLC since it offers limited liability protection for your business.

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Step 4: Register Your Business

Once you’ve chosen a business structure, register your security company with the Hawaii Secretary of State. This typically involves filing the necessary paperwork and paying a registration fee. Here are the things you need to apply for or hire to register your Hawaii security company.

Choose a Name

Choosing a name for your Hawaii security company is important in establishing your brand identity and reflecting your services. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you choose a name:

  • Keep it Simple and Memorable: Choose a name that is easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. This will make it easier for potential clients to find and remember your company.
  • Incorporate Keywords: Including words related to security, safety, or protection in your company name can help potential clients understand what services you provide. Some examples of keywords are “guard,” “patrol,” or “surveillance.”
  • Reflect on Your Niche: If your Hawaii security company focuses on a specific niche, such as residential, commercial, or event security, consider incorporating this into your company name.
  • Consider Using Your Location: Incorporating the name of your Hawaii or a specific city or region can help potential clients identify your company as a local business and establish a connection to your service area.
  • Check for Availability: Before settling on a name, ensure it is not already used by another security company in your area or registered as a trademark. You can check the availability of a name by searching the Hawaii Business Express‘s website and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.

Based on these tips, here are some sample names for a security company in Hawaii:

  1. Hawaii SecureGuard Services
  2. Hawaii Sentinel Protection
  3. SafeShield Security Hawaii
  4. Hawaii Premier Patrol
  5. Hawaii Homeland Security Solutions
  6. Hawaii Watchtower Security Services

Remember to choose a name that reflects your company’s values, services, and target market while being unique and memorable. There is a complete guide on Hawaii Business Name Search for you to have a proper Hawaii security company name. 

In Hawaii, if you do not wish to file your security company right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your security company name for 120 days. You must file a name reservation application with the Hawaii Secretary of State to keep the name. 

You can register your business under a different legal name if your preferred name isn’t available. Once you have chosen a name, you can submit an application for Hawaii DBA (doing business as)

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Hire a Resident Agent

In forming a security company in Hawaii, the role of a Resident Agent is crucial for ensuring compliance with state regulations and maintaining a line of communication with the state government. A Resident Agent is a person or entity responsible for receiving important legal documents, and government notices on behalf of your security company. Here are some key roles and responsibilities of a Resident Agent in Hawaii:

  • Legal Document Reception: A Resident Agent receives legal documents, including lawsuits (also known as service of process), subpoenas, and other official correspondence related to your business. They promptly inform you of legal actions or requirements affecting your security company.
  • Government Correspondence: A Resident Agent receives official notices, correspondence, and documentation from the state government, such as Annual Report notifications, tax notices, and other compliance-related information.
  • Compliance Assistance: A Resident Agent will help your security company maintain good standing in Hawaii by promptly notifying you of legal and compliance-related matters. This can be crucial for avoiding penalties, fines, or even the dissolution of your business.
  • Maintaining a Physical Address: A Resident Agent must have a physical street address (not a P.O. Box) within Hawaii, where they are available during normal business hours to receive legal documents and government notices. This is particularly important for businesses that do not have a physical office location in the state or for out-of-state business owners.
  • Record-Keeping: A Resident Agent may also offer additional services, such as maintaining and organizing your business records, tracking filing deadlines, and assisting with annual report submissions. 

You can serve as your Resident Agent, appoint a friend or family member, or hire the Best Hawaii Resident Agent Services.

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File The Articles of Organization 

If you form an LLC for your security company, you must file the Hawaii Articles of Organization, which costs $50. It is crucial to provide accurate and complete information on this document, as errors or omissions may result in delays or rejection of your filing.

Create an Operating Agreement

An Operating Agreement in Hawaii is a legal document outlining the ownership structure, management, and operating procedures of a Limited Liability Company (LLC). While not always required by law, having an operating agreement is highly recommended for security companies in Hawaii to ensure clear communication and expectations among the owners.

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Obtain an Employer Identification Number

You must first obtain an Employer identification number (EIN) in Hawaii from the IRS if you will open a bank account or hire an employee for your Hawaii security company. 

The application of an EIN in Hawaii can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

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Step 5: Obtain Licenses and Permits

Starting a security company in Hawaii requires obtaining specific licenses and permits. These may vary depending on your location and the services your company will offer. Some of the common licenses and permits needed for a security company include the following:

  • Security Company License: This mandatory license allows you to operate a security company in Hawaii. The requirements for obtaining this license may vary depending on your location but generally include submitting an application, paying a fee, and passing a background check. The cost of filing a security company license ranges from $50 – $500 (depending on the license type).
  • Security Guard Licenses: If your company employs security guards, they must be licensed in Hawaii. This typically involves completing a state-approved training program, passing a background check, and paying a licensing fee.
  • Firearms Permit: If your company provides armed security services, you and your employees must obtain firearms permits. The requirements for obtaining a firearms permit in Hawaii may include completing a training course, passing a background check, and paying a fee.
  • Business License: Hawaii may require a Business License. The business license fee in Hawaii ranges from $50 – $300.

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Step 6: Get Insured

Insurance is crucial to starting a security company in Hawaii. You’ll need to obtain various types of insurance to protect your business and employees, including:

  • General Liability Insurance: To protect your company from claims of bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury resulting from your services.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: To cover medical expenses and lost wages for employees who are injured on the job.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: To protect your company from claims of negligence or failure to perform professional duties.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: If your company uses vehicles for business, you’ll need commercial auto insurance to cover accidents or damage.

You can apply for Hawaii Business Insurance for your Hawaii security company. 

Step 7: Hire and Train Employees

Hiring and training qualified employees is essential for the success of your security company in Hawaii. When hiring security guards, look for individuals with previous security experience, military or law enforcement backgrounds, and strong communication skills.

Once you’ve hired your employees, you must provide them with the necessary training to perform their duties effectively. This may include state-approved security guard training programs, firearms training, specialized first aid, crisis management, and customer service courses. In addition, before hiring and training employees for your Hawaii security company, you must obtain an EIN with the Internal Revenue Service.

Step 8: Invest in Equipment and Technology

Your Hawaii company must invest in high-quality equipment and technology to provide top-notch security services. Some essential equipment for a security company in Hawaii includes:

  • Uniforms and badges for your security guards
  • Firearms and non-lethal weapons (e.g., pepper spray, stun guns)
  • Security vehicles
  • Surveillance cameras and alarm systems
  • Communication devices, such as radios or smartphones
  • Computer hardware and software for managing your business operations

Step 9: Market Your Security Company

Effective marketing is essential for attracting clients and growing your security company in Hawaii. Some marketing strategies include creating a professional website to showcase your services and expertise; printing and distributing business cards, brochures, and flyers; advertising online, in local newspapers, and on radio or television; offering discounts or promotions to attract new clients; networking with local business owners and community organizations; and participating in trade shows and industry events.

Step 10: Provide Excellent Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is crucial for the success of your security company in Hawaii. Strive to meet or exceed your client’s expectations by providing high-quality security services, addressing their concerns promptly, and maintaining open communication. You’ll build a strong reputation and encourage repeat business and referrals by consistently delivering exceptional customer service.

FAQs

What are the steps to start a security company in Hawaii?
You must obtain a license from the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to operate a security company.
What kind of license is required to operate a security company in Hawaii?
You need to acquire a Guard Agency General License from the Professional and Vocational Licensing Division under the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
What are the qualifications required for obtaining a security company license in Hawaii?
To start a security company in Hawaii, you need to be at least 18 years old, free from any mental disorders, complete background checks with no criminal record, and meet the required professional experience.
What is the processing time for obtaining a security company license in Hawaii?
It takes up to ten weeks to process a security company license in Hawaii.
Is there a license fee when starting a security company in Hawaii?
Yes. The license fee for a guard agency general license is $520 for 2 years.
How often should I renew a license for a security company in Hawaii?
The Guard Agency General License is renewed once every two years.
Can I operate a security company in Hawaii without a license?
No. You must obtain a guard agency general license to legally operate a security business in Hawaii.
Is it mandatory to have liability insurance to start a security company in Hawaii?
Yes. The state mandates every Hawaii-based security company to have liability insurance.
Can I use a PO box address to register my security company in Hawaii?
No, the state does not accept PO box addresses on registration applications. A physical office address must be provided.
What is the minimum age requirement for security guards in Hawaii?
The minimum age requirement for security guards is 18 years old.
Can a security company in Hawaii hire unarmed guards?
Yes, a security company in Hawaii can hire unarmed or armed guards as long as they meet the necessary state certification requirements.
How much does an unarmed guard get paid in Hawaii?
The average hourly rate for an unarmed guard in Hawaii is about $13.40.
What is the average salary for security personnel in Hawaii?
The average salary for security personnel in Hawaii varies between $28,243 and $41,195 per year, depending on experience.
What is the main service of a security company in Hawaii?
The main purpose of a security company in Hawaii is public safety, including event security, building security, and crisis management.
Can I start a security company as a non-US citizen Hawaii resident?
No. You must be a US citizen or have lawful permanent resident status to start a security company in Hawaii.
Does the state of Hawaii allow any inactive security company status?
No. You cannot hold an inactive status for a security company in Hawaii.
What are the consequences of violating security company regulation laws in Hawaii?
The state imposes severe penalties for violation of security companies regulations, such as license revocation, fines, and even imprisonment, depending on the offense severity.
How does the state of Hawaii monitor security companies’ performance level?
The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs continuously reviews and follows up on the security companies’ compliance status in the state.
Can I get advice or guidelines on starting a security company from state authorities in Hawaii?
The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is the official state entity responsible for processing license applications and vetting SEcurity Companies.
Can I change my address information after registering my security company in Hawaii?
Yes. Submit an address change application with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’s Professional and Vocational Licensing Division to notify them of your new address.
How does the State of Hawaii control issues between customers and security companies?
The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs oversees disputes between security companies and its customers.
Should I hire employees or opt for an independent contractor for my Hawaii security company?
It depends on the business model, but hiring employees provide more control over individuals’ day-to-day operations.
Can a Hawaii security company disclose the private information of its clients or reports to third parties?
No. Disclosure of private information may cause legal action against the security company.
Does the state of Hawaii impose sales tax on security Company services?
Yes. Security Company services provided in Hawaii are taxable at the rate of 4.5% by law.
Can a single financial resource fund start a security company in Hawaii?
Yes. If the single financial resource legally satisfies funding requirements, they can start a security company in Voss.
Is insurance the only essential certification required to start a security company in Hawaii?
No. License requirements include experience, fee, qualifying officer requirements, Criminal Information Record check, etc.
Can private investigation firms operate alongside security companies in Hawaii?
Yes. Private investigation firms must also acquire a state license and adhere to assigned regulation and laws related to their services.
Are there any legislative committees due to current security operations laws in Hawaii?
Yes. The Professional and Vocational Licensing board advises procedural ad revisions included in security laws regularly.
To whom can I report misconduct issue among security company employees?
Report misconduct instances to The Professional and Vocational Licensing through the state of Hawaii online platform.
What are the legal requirements for starting a security company in Hawaii?
In Hawaii, security companies must be licensed with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Professional and Vocational Licensing Division.
Do I need to be a resident of Hawaii to start a security company there?
No, you do not need to be a resident of Hawaii to start a security company there.
What types of security services are in high demand in Hawaii?
Hawaii has a large tourism industry, so security services such as event security and hotel security are in high demand.
Is there a lot of competition among security companies in Hawaii?
There is some competition among security companies in Hawaii, but the market is not as saturated as in larger cities.
What is the average cost to start a security company in Hawaii?
The average cost to start a security company in Hawaii can vary widely depending on your business plan and the services you plan to offer.
Are there any special tax considerations for starting a security company in Hawaii?
There are no special tax considerations for starting a security company in Hawaii beyond what would apply for any business in the state.
Do I need to obtain insurance before starting a security company in Hawaii?
Yes, you will need to obtain insurance before starting a security company in Hawaii.
Are there any special licensing requirements for armed security companies in Hawaii?
Yes, armed security companies in Hawaii must have an additional permit from the state.
Is it difficult to find qualified security officers in Hawaii?
It can be challenging to find qualified security officers in Hawaii, as the job market can be competitive.
What is the nightlife scene like in Hawaii, and are there opportunities for nightlife security services?
Honolulu has a vibrant nightlife scene, making it an excellent location for nightlife security services.
What is the job outlook like for security companies in Hawaii?
The job outlook for security companies in Hawaii is positive, particularly in the tourism industry.
Are there any special training requirements for security officers working in Hawaii?
Security officers in Hawaii must complete a state-approved training program within 180 days of being hired.
Does Hawaii recognize security licenses from other states?
Hawaii may recognize security licenses from other states on a case-by-case basis.
Are background checks required for security officers in Hawaii?
Yes, background checks are required for security officers in Hawaii.
Is there a specific trade organization for security companies in Hawaii?
The Hawaii Chapter of the International Association of Chiefs of Police offers services and resources for security companies in Hawaii.
What are the most common reasons for security officer job turnover in Hawaii?
Common reasons for security officer job turnover in Hawaii include salary and benefits, schedule flexibility, and job expectations.
What is the minimum age to become a security officer in Hawaii?
Security officers in Hawaii must be at least 18 years old.
Can security officers in Hawaii carry firearms?
Yes, but only if the company has been granted a permit for armed security services.
What are the most significant challenges facing security companies in Hawaii?
One of the significant challenges facing security companies in Hawaii is the high cost of living, which affects salary and employment expectations.
Are there opportunities for security companies to work with other organizations in Hawaii, such as law enforcement or emergency response?
Yes, security companies in Hawaii may have opportunities to work with other organizations, particularly in emergency response situations.
What are the most common services offered by security companies in Hawaii?
The most common services offered by security companies in Hawaii include uniformed officers, patrol services, and event security.
Is there a large market for maritime security services in Hawaii?
Yes, Hawaii is a hub for maritime transportation and commerce, offering opportunities for maritime security services.
What are the firearm training requirements for armed security officers in Hawaii?
Security companies in Hawaii operating armed security services must follow state training requirements.
What impact has COVID-19 had on the security industry in Hawaii?
COVID-19 had a significant impact on the security industry in Hawaii, with increased demands for screening services and enforcement of public health regulations.
How have security companies adapted to the pandemic in Hawaii?
Security companies in Hawaii have implemented additional protective measures, changed their policies and procedures, and added new services to meet pandemic-related needs.
Are there any grants or funding opportunities for starting a security company in Hawaii?
Hawaii’s Small Business Loan and Guarantee Program may offer grants and funding opportunities for small businesses, including security companies.
What are the most critical communication skills for security officers working in Hawaii?
Security officers working in Hawaii must have good communication skills to manage conflicts and customer service situations effectively.
How important is customer service in the security industry in Hawaii?
Customer service is essential in the security industry in Hawaii, particularly among security officers working in the tourism industry.
Can security officers in Hawaii carry pepper spray?
Security officers in Hawaii can carry pepper spray as long as they’ve completed a state-approved chemical agent training program.

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Conclusion

Starting a security company in Hawaii can be rewarding and profitable. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a successful security business in your area. Remember to be patient and persistent, as building your client base and reputation may take time. Your security company can thrive in the competitive Hawaii market with dedication and hard work.

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