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

Washington Security Company

Starting a security company can be a lucrative business opportunity in Washington, especially in today’s world, where the demand for security services is rising. However, Washington 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 Washington 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 Washington security company, all the steps in this article must guide you.

What is a Security Company in Washington

A security company in Washington 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 Washington, one may form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Setting up an LLC in Washington 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.

Consider the Best LLC Services in Washington to start an LLC for your security company.

LLC Service

Rating & Pricing

Top Features

Learn More

#1 Recommendation

$0 + State fee

  • Free LLC Formation

  • Legal Support

  • Highly Reputed Company

$299 + State fee

  • Single LLC formation package

  • Flat price for all services

  • Legal consultation

How to Start a Security Company in Washington

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 Olympia. 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 Washington 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 Washington. 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 Washington, 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 Washington 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 Washington are typically more suitable for larger security companies with multiple employees and substantial assets.

When starting a security company in Washington, consult with a Business Attorney in Washington 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.

WEBINARCARE EDITORIAL TEAM

Step 4: Register Your Business

Once you’ve chosen a business structure, register your security company with the Washington 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 Washington security company.

Choose a Name

Choosing a name for your Washington 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 Washington 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 Washington 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 Washington Secretary of State Corporations and Charities Filing System‘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 Washington:

  1. Washington SecureGuard Services
  2. Washington Sentinel Protection
  3. SafeShield Security Washington
  4. Washington Premier Patrol
  5. Washington Homeland Security Solutions
  6. Washington 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 Washington Business Name Search for you to have a proper Washington security company name. 

In Washington, 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 180 days. You must file a name reservation application with the Washington 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 Washington DBA (doing business as)

Recommended: Embark on your entrepreneurial journey confidently and affordably with LegalZoom’s DBA service, the beacon that guides businesses to credible branding and comprehensive compliance. Discover how effortless success can truly be!

LegalZoom – ($99 + Filling Fees)

Hire a Registered Agent

In forming a security company in Washington, the role of a Registered Agent is crucial for ensuring compliance with state regulations and maintaining a line of communication with the state government. A Registered 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 Registered Agent in Washington:

  • Legal Document Reception: A Registered 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 Registered 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 Registered Agent will help your security company maintain good standing in Washington 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 Registered Agent must have a physical street address (not a P.O. Box) within Washington, 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 Registered 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 Registered Agent, appoint a friend or family member, or hire the Best Washington Registered Agent Services.

Recommended: Professional services will ensure your business gets legal notices and critical mail. With LegalZoom’s Registered Agent Services, they offer peace of mind and expert support for businesses, ensuring compliance and seamless communication with state authorities. That’s why we recommend using –

LegalZoom – $249/year

File The Certificate of Formation 

If you form an LLC for your security company, you must file the Washington Certificate of Formation, which costs $200. 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 Washington 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 Washington to ensure clear communication and expectations among the owners.

Recommended: Creating an Operating Agreement is like having a personal legal guide at hand; it’s efficient, thorough, and ensures the smooth and compliant operation of your business. With LegalZoom’s operating agreement, it will protect your rights as an owner, keeping misunderstandings at bay and your business on the path to success. That’s why we recommend using –

LegalZoom – Starts at $99

Obtain an Employer Identification Number

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

The application of an EIN in Washington 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.

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 5: Obtain Licenses and Permits

Starting a security company in Washington 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 Washington. 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 $100 – $600 (depending on the license type).
  • Security Guard Licenses: If your company employs security guards, they must be licensed in Washington. 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 Washington may include completing a training course, passing a background check, and paying a fee.
  • Business License: Washington may require a Business License. The business license fee in Washington ranges from $50 – $300.

Recommended: Empowering your entrepreneurial journey, LegalZoom’s business license service simplifies the process of obtaining a business license in Washington, allowing you to focus on what you do best, running your security company. That’s why we recommend –

LegalZoom – Starts at $99.99

Step 6: Get Insured

Insurance is crucial to starting a security company in Washington. 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 Washington Business Insurance for your Washington security company. 

Step 7: Hire and Train Employees

Hiring and training qualified employees is essential for the success of your security company in Washington. 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 Washington security company, you must obtain an EIN with the Internal Revenue Service.

Step 8: Invest in Equipment and Technology

Your Washington company must invest in high-quality equipment and technology to provide top-notch security services. Some essential equipment for a security company in Washington 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 Washington. 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 Washington. 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 licenses do I need to start a security company in Washington?
You will need to obtain a security license through the Washington State Department of Licensing.
What type of insurance do I need for my security company in Washington?
You will need general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.
How do I choose a business structure for my security company in Washington?
Consult with a lawyer or accountant to determine the best option for your specific business needs.
What are the steps to register my security company in Washington?
You need to register your business with the Secretary of State and obtain a State Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number.
Are there any special training requirements to start a security company in Washington?
Yes, you’ll need to submit documentation on the qualifications of your staff.
What are the core services that a security company can provide in Washington?
You can provide security consultancy, business assessments, and security management services.
What is the minimum age requirement for submitting a Washington security license application?
You must be at least 18 years old.
Can I run a security company solo in Washington?
No, you need to have a discernable owner and manage according to regulations.
How much does it cost to start a security company in Washington?
The costs depend on the services your company offers and the size of your company.
Are there specific state taxes or fees for security companies operating in Washington?
Yes, security companies are subject to sales tax and other permits and licensing fees.
What are the NRA-certified training requirements for my security staff in Washington?
There are a set of criteria that a security guard must meet to be certified – check the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services for further information.
Can I hire retired or off-duty police officers for my security company in Washington?
Yes, but some specific criteria should be met and they must own proper certification.
What are the education requirements for security license submitting in Washington?
You must have graduated from high school or possess a GED certificate.
Can ex-offenders obtain a security license in Washington?
Yes, however; they may be disqualified based on their offense records.
Do my security guards need to be armed when delivering security services in Washington?
It depends on the company’s core structure and particular security needs.
What does it take to be a security consultant in Washington?
Relevant certifications or years of experience in the federal or state security fields for necessary to operate a security consultancy company.
Do security companies in Washington need to be bonded in addition to insured?
Yes, it’s a legal obligation for personal and indirectly harms by any sub-plan listed under your company.
What is the role of a security management at Washington premises?
Generally, the security management is responsible for ensuring that their personnel executes the outlined security strategies.
Can part-time employees be employed in a security company in Washington?
Yes, but must take into account the constraints placed upon part-time employees in the certification and any other staff training requirements.
Do I need to renew my security guard license or company registration in Washington?
Yes, each party would have to renew according to state regulatory rules and requirements.
Are private investigators licensed differently than other security personnel in Washington?
Yes; be up to the premise ensure all operatives meet and pass the specialized training required.
What are the pre-employment background checks that security applicants need to pass in Washington?
Background checks are needed to affirm their identities, health, & other legal licenses.
What are the disclosure agreements required to start a Washington-based security company?
Several agreements specify confidential details of the organization, safeguarding you and your client interests.
Can other law enforcement personnel work in a security company that the owner is certified in and deploy outside their office building?
No such permissions are granted.
Are there extra measures those operating in certain services in Washington State needs to take to alleviate safety concerns in establishment?
Yes, there maybe security-crisis arises are intolerable by medical facilities. Inhabit manual-like guides, updating an evacuation plan along with documentation to input correct verbal commands.
What are the licensing requirements to start a security company in Washington?
In Washington, you need to obtain a private security license to start a security company.
How long does it take to obtain a private security license in Washington?
It typically takes about 4-6 weeks to obtain a private security license in Washington.
What type of insurance do I need to start a security company in Washington?
In Washington, you need to have liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, and fidelity bond insurance to start a security company.
Do I need to hire certified security guards in Washington?
Yes, you need to hire certified security guards in Washington who have received training and certification from the state.
How much does it cost to get certified security guards in Washington?
The cost of training and certification for security guards in Washington varies, but it typically ranges from $60 to $200.
Can I provide armed security services in Washington?
Yes, you can provide armed security services in Washington, but you need to obtain a special endorsement from the state.
How long does it take to obtain an armed security endorsement in Washington?
It typically takes about 4-6 weeks to obtain an armed security endorsement in Washington.
What are the fees associated with starting a security company in Washington?
The fees associated with starting a security company in Washington vary, but they typically include filing fees, licensing fees, and inspection fees.
Can I operate a security company from my home in Washington?
Yes, you can operate a security company from your home in Washington, but you need to comply with certain zoning requirements.
Can I have employees if I start a security company in Washington?
Yes, you can have employees if you start a security company in Washington, but you need to comply with state and federal employment laws and regulations.
What type of services can I offer if I start a security company in Washington?
You can offer a wide range of security services if you start a security company in Washington, including guard services, alarm monitoring, and security consultation.
Are there any regulations regarding the uniforms of security guards in Washington?
Yes, there are regulations regarding the uniforms of security guards in Washington, including color and style requirements.
How do I apply for a private security license in Washington?
You can apply for a private security license in Washington by submitting an application to the Department of Licensing.
Do I need to have prior experience in security to start a security company in Washington?
No, you do not need to have prior experience in security to start a security company in Washington, but it can be helpful.
How can I get more information on starting a security company in Washington?
You can get more information on starting a security company in Washington by contacting the Department of Licensing or consulting with a business attorney.
What are the training requirements for security guards in Washington?
Security guards in Washington need to receive training in basic security procedures, ethics, and emergency preparedness.
What is the process for obtaining a fidelity bond in Washington?
To obtain a fidelity bond in Washington, you need to contact a bonding company and provide them with information about your company and your employees.
What are the requirements for employee background checks in Washington?
In Washington, security companies need to conduct criminal background checks on all employees.
Can I conduct surveillance operations as part of my security services in Washington?
Yes, you can conduct surveillance operations as part of your security services in Washington, but you need to comply with state and federal laws.
Can I use cameras and other security devices as part of my security services in Washington?
Yes, you can use cameras and other security devices as part of your security services in Washington, but you need to comply with state and federal privacy laws.
Are there any restrictions on the use of force by security guards in Washington?
Yes, security guards in Washington are only allowed to use force when necessary to protect themselves or others.
What are the requirements for employee drug testing at security companies in Washington?
In Washington, security companies may be required to conduct drug testing on employees, but the exact requirements vary depending on the type of security services provided.
Can I provide security services for events in Washington?
Yes, you can provide security services for events in Washington, such as concerts, festivals, and conferences.
How can I make sure my security company is compliant with all state and federal laws in Washington?
To ensure compliance with state and federal laws, you can consult with a business attorney and seek guidance from industry associations and regulatory agencies.
Can I lease or rent out security equipment to other businesses in Washington?
Yes, you can lease or rent out security equipment to other businesses in Washington as part of your security services.
Do security guards in Washington need to be trained in first aid and CPR?
Yes, security guards in Washington are required to have training in first aid and CPR.
Can I provide executive protection services in Washington?
Yes, you can provide executive protection services in Washington, but you need to comply with state and federal laws regarding bodyguards, protective services, and transportation.
What are the insurance requirements for starting a security company in Washington?
In Washington, security companies need to have liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, and fidelity bond insurance.
Can I provide security services for government buildings and facilities in Washington?
Yes, security companies in Washington can provide security services for government buildings and facilities, but they need to comply with specific regulations and requirements.

Also Read

Conclusion

Starting a security company in Washington 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 Washington market with dedication and hard work.

Leave a Comment