No. You can’t operate a security company without a license in Texas. It is a criminal offense to indulge in any type of security-related work without the appropriate license. Note that this includes courtesy officers, event staff, and bouncers; if individuals are caught, they can be arrested.
Opening a security company in Texas starts with applying for a license from the Texas Department of Public Safety – Private Security Bureau, which is the department tasked with regulating Texas security industries. According to reports, there are around 3500 security businesses in Texas.
While in the United States, there are over 140,000 registered individuals who work in security companies. Note that the Private Texas Security Board is tasked with administering licenses on behalf of the State of Texas to individuals who want to start security companies in Texas.
You can carry out the business registration process through e-mail or online whether you are in Texas or out of the United States. The kind of security license you need in Texas will usually depend on the type of security company you intend on starting.
If you intend to start a private investigation company, then you need to obtain a Class A license. If your security company will work with guard services, alarm systems, courier services, armed guards, locksmith services, or closed-circuit television systems, then you will have to apply for a Class B Security Contractor License.
If you are looking to start a security company that will deal with private investigation contractors and security contractors, you will be expected to apply for a Class C license. A Class T becomes necessary if you have intentions to start a telematics company in Texas.
Class D combines Class B with a security contractor. However, note that it can take about 6 to 8 weeks for your application to be processed and the license issued. Once issued, the license will have to be renewed on an annual basis. When hiring employees, ensure that each person is registered by the Texas Private Security Bureau before they are officially hired.
Registration for each employee will need to be renewed annually. You will also be expected to pass a criminal background check and submit to fingerprinting. In addition, you must be 18 years old, have no pending criminal charges, or dishonorable military discharges, and not be on the sex offender registry.
Basic Licenses and Permits Needed to Start a Security Company in Texas
You need to obtain certain statutory licenses and permits before you can start a security company in Texas. These licenses and permits may include;
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General Business License
Not just in Texas, a general business license is required in every state, city, or other governmental jurisdiction for any type of business you intend to start. This license grants the business owner the permission to carry out business operations and allows the government to monitor its activity and levy taxes.
Security Service License
It is a criminal offense to indulge in security-related work in Texas without the appropriate license. The license you have to apply for will depend on the kind of security company you intend on starting. In the Lone Star state, private investigation companies are required to obtain a Class A license.
You will need to apply for a Class B License if your business will deal with alarm systems, guard services, closed circuit television systems, courier services or armed cars, guards whether armed or not, and locksmith services. If your security company will deal with private investigation and security contractors then you will have to apply for a Class C license. Note that you will need a Class T license if you operate a telematics company.
Sales Tax Permit
Another permit you will need is a sales tax permit. If you intend to start a limited liability company or a corporation, or the business is owned by non-US citizens, you have to register for franchise tax. Ensure to complete form AP-114 and return it to the Comptroller of Accounts.
Register for the Texas Unemployment tax if you intend to hire employees, and then register for the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) within 10 days of registering for the unemployment tax. This will prove that you can file the wage reports of your workers in the state of Texas.
Security Guard/Officer License
When hiring employees, ensure that each person is registered by the Texas Private Security Bureau before they are officially hired. Also, note that each employee will need to pass a criminal background check that is administered by the state. Prospective employees will be disqualified if they have a felony, a sexual offense, or a crime that demonstrates a lack of integrity.
The security officer will also be expected to carry a security officer identification card at all times while on duty. Aside from that, all your employees will be expected to be at least 18 years of age and their registration will have to be renewed annually, just it was stated above.
This particular permit is necessary for those security companies whose officers will carry handguns. Note that such officers will have to pass a basic firearm training program approved by the state. They have to be at least 21 years of age before a firearm license can be issued to them.
Certificate of Insurance
Have it in mind that the Texas Department of Public Safety will not issue a security license without a certificate of insurance. In Texas, your security policy will need to be adequate enough to pay damages for bodily injuries, property damage, and personal injury caused by your company or employees. Texas mandates you to have minimum insurance limits of:
- $100,000 for each bodily injury and property damage,
- $50,000 for each personal injury incident, and
- $200,000 for an aggregate of all occurrences.
If you let your insurance lapse, the Department of Public Safety still reserves the right to immediately suspend your security license.
To start a security company in the Lone Star State, you will also have to register for EIN (Employer Identification Number). This is issued by the Internal Revenue Service free of charge and it can be done online, through e-mail, fax or telephone. The EIN is used to identify the business for taxation purposes.
Not just in Texas, most security industries in the United States are highly regulated. Owing to that, if you are looking to start a security company, it’s pertinent to obtain international security certifications. This kind of certification provides a level of trust to your team and your company. Some of the professional certifications that should be considered include:
- Certified Information System Security Professional
- Certified Security Compliance Specialist
- Certified Security Project Manager
- Cisco Certified Security Professional
- Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional
- Industrial Security Professional Certification