So everyone and their dog thinks that they can start a "Security Company" and make money by taking "the initiative" and stealing a security contract from someone else and making a decent share of money for themselves and others involved.
I have owned a Security Company.
I have made mistakes.
I have learned from those mistakes and learned from what others have advised.
What I would like to do is to put forward the following for anyone starting. I haven't written this yet, but I am sure there will be things i miss, and there will be priorities that change - writing this in a month, I may well come up with a different blog, but for tonight; here we go.
So, lets look at DS. That is where I started.
What do we need?
- Potential work - without potential work, or guaranteed work, there is no job for anyone.
- Written Contracts for the potential work - unless you have a contract ready for a client to sign, you WILL get shafted, or they will not trust that you are a business.
- Insurance - because people WILL let you down (public or clients or staff... someone WILL lead to a claim)
- Licensing - hopefully you are already licensed. If not - stop. Get a licence. Allow 2 months and £450 for a licence to be in your hand (training and licence costs)
- Paperwork - all the paperwork to keep yourself and your staff on track
- (by paperwork, I mean Health and Safety, Shift Reports, Staff records, HR paperowrk and a system for recording staff attendance, pay deductions, hours and holidays. You also need to have a staff handbook, welcome letter for new employees, policies for standards of work and more)
- Register with HMRC as an employer
- Register with SIA as a security Company (not required until April 2015 but you NEED to be ready for it now)
- To register though, you need to decide on company format - Limited company, Partnership or Sole Trader.
- System for Paying Staff - (RTI from HMRC means that you NEED to record staff's wages even if they are "below threshold"
- Business plan - you need to know where you are going, and how to recognise when you get there. You also need to have a clear plan on HOW to get there - highlighting realistic expectations and helping with funding / support / investment if you need it.
- Sales - You need to have a way of getting new contracts otherwise you will stagnate and your one big contract will hold you to ransom as being the one you NEED to stay in business - this is NOT a nice place to be, so we NEED sales. In order to get them, you need:
- A specific business identity and an understanding of what makes you stand out from the crowd. This may require:
- Uniforms, vehicle, website, premises (is your bedroom at home the ideal?) promotional literature??
- What was that thing that makes you money?... oh yes. Staff.
- Recruit staff through the best means possible. Staff are not friends, they are staff. They are to be treated correctly and they therefore must act correctly for your business. If the lines get blurred, it may be the whole enterprise that suffers.
- You need to understand the Industry. You need to KNOW the Industry. You need to KNOW who you are against and who can help you.
- Don't make enemies if you can avoid it. Even the most arrogant of companies can be looking for help at some point.
- Know what YOUR best qualities are. Capitalise on them. Bring in specialists who can fill in the gaps.
- Analysis - over and over and over again - ALWAYS be evaluating the business. Don't stand still while the industry moves forward, otherwise you are essentially moving backwards and will soon fall out of the running.
So... The above is NOT an exhaustive list. These are just what I feel like writing about this evening.
If you are going to get in to business, get some advice. Others have done it before me, and before them and before you.
If you are going the extra mile, make sure that it is what the client wants.
Finally - if you are going to listen to some guy on a blog - make sure you get advice from other places too, because i can GUARANTEE that I have missed something from the above - proabably something BIG.
Thanks Tom, and TSA for allowing my rambling. :-)