As with any business, a bodyguard company depends heavily on people, structure, and plans. You need to have all three elements in place to run a successful organization that delivers cutting-edge close protection services.
Is it risky and may not pay off in the end? — Definitely!
Should you try it out? — We’ll provide you with an in-depth analysis of starting a bodyguard company and let you decide for yourself.
Transitioning from an operator to a business owner can be one of the most challenging but rewarding steps you’ll ever take… but only if you get it right.
There are plenty of highly-skilled and successful tradespeople in any industry that can’t make a business work. The key is to identify a gap in the market — a particular location, a particular service, a particular need for service, etc.
But most importantly, what is your niche? Why will you be more successful than the competition at doing what you propose to do?
I set my business up after years on the freelance circuit due to being frustrated by poor standards and bad business practices. I thought, “I can offer better than this.” And I work every single day with every single client to constantly set that benchmark.
Of course, all businesses need to be profitable, but money shouldn’t be the driving factor, or you’ll end up diluting your product while you chase those few extra dollars. If your service is outstanding and your business model is desirable to clients, financial success will come as a result.
— Josh Reeve, Chief Security Officer, Empire Protection
The Pillars of a Thriving Bodyguard Company
Apart from the resources, marketing strategy, and a well-researched plan, much more work goes into creating a successful business. Luckily, most thriving EP organizations have the same things in common. Hence, this section will explore the top three things you need to start and run a bodyguard company.
Experience Trumps Everything
First and foremost, you should look inward to see if you have personal experience. In order to build a CP business, you must be a qualified and trained close protection operative or executive protection agent. With no experience and industry history under your belt, you will likely run your bodyguard company to the ground long before it’s officially registered.
If that wasn’t convincing, let’s take a look at two people to prove this point:
- Before developing the assembly line, the American industrialist and business magnate Henry Ford was an avid mechanic.
- Prior to establishing Microsoft, American software developer and investor Bill Gates worked as a programmer while still very young.
You don’t need to feel disheartened because we listed these two undoubtedly influential and well-known individuals. In fact, many pundits and security industry leaders can serve as equally impressive examples of how personal experience informed their upward career path.
And yes, when we say personal experience, that’s what we mean by it! Watching bodyguard movies, observing other EPAs as they complete an assignment, or binge-reading books on CP doesn’t count. It surely helps, but it doesn’t make up the crux for establishing and running a successful bodyguard company in 2022 and beyond.
To find out if you have sufficient experience, we’ll ask you a few orientation questions:
- How long have you been part of the CP/EP industry? A year, two, or more? Five years can be a reliable benchmark before starting your own company.
- What’s your actual expertise in this field? Surveillance, protective intelligence, crowd control? List them all.
- How frequently do you work with clients? Do you have weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or more long-term assignments?
- How often do you travel with your clients abroad? Do you operate in high-risk environments when traveling?
- Are you usually part of two-person teams, or maybe you’re working solo? Can you describe the average size of your team and everybody’s responsibilities?
- What’s your experience with residential and office security?
- How and which technology and gear do you use to provide state-of-the-art protection for the principal and their family?
- In the next ten years, do you see yourself as part of the industry? If so, which job do you feel like doing? EP manager, team leader, department director, business owner, or other? Be frank with yourself.
We recommend sitting down and responding to all these questions in writing. That way, you will see whether you should move on to the next step.
The Where and Why of a Bodyguard Company
Launching a CP business in Mexico or Nigeria is entirely different from establishing one in the US or Germany. That’s because the latter two countries have a stable rule of law and less bloated bureaucracy.
In other words, it’s easier to create a legal entity — and you have better prospects of succeeding. Additionally, you will probably not deal with corrupt officials, pay unreasonable fees to register your bodyguard company for taxes, and get permits and licenses.
But equally important, operating in high-risk areas of Nigeria and Mexico could prove more lucrative. It sure makes your job more difficult. Yet, it can serve to promote your bodyguard company as one that operates worldwide and holds experience working in the most challenging places on Earth.
In fact, what best way to showcase your portfolio than to say that your business has helped clients evacuate from Ukraine in 2022? Or that your bodyguard company helped businesses in South Africa protect their assets during civil riots? How about providing protection for high-net-worth families on a sightseeing trip to Subsaharan Africa?
As a rule of thumb, the less-regulated corners of the world are simultaneously the most difficult to work in.
With trained, organized, armed, and paid cartels controlling vast swaths of the country, Mexico is probably one of the most inhospitable places for bodyguards and EPAs to operate. The same applies to Nigeria, although to a lesser extent. Armed robbers and notorious gangs regularly steal from and kidnap foreigners in the African nation.
We hope you consider this information before making a final decision.
With all these issues in mind, we want to ask you the following questions before you choose to establish a bodyguard company:
- Why do you want to set up your business in this country, and what are the pros and cons operationally speaking? What’s the regulation there? How about permits to carry firearms?
- What comes first to you: profits or personal security for you as an operator and your team members? Apparently, both are important but check with yourself what takes precedence and how that informs your work.
- Can you describe your ideal client? Is it a UNHW family, an enterprise leader, or the facilities of a multinational oil company in West Africa? Can you say how having any of these clients could play out for you in the long run?
- What do you expect to gain from running a business in two, four, and ten years?
Again, it’s important to write all your answers down! It will help you reflect better and force you to explain your reasoning in detail instead of thinking about it and getting lost in your thoughts in an unstructured manner.
Market Your Services ASAP
Now that you know your whys and wheres, it’s time to market your services to the world. Remember that clients won’t just be waiting for you to establish a company and flock to get what you have to offer!
Suppose you have created a legal entity and assembled a team of CPOs, accountants, administrative assistants, and HR personnel. In that case, it’s time to work on your brand and market yourself to the world.
This step is especially important if you’re just now switching from working in a bodyguard company to establishing your own. By doing so, you’re essentially cutting out the middle man and building direct contact and rapport with future clients.
As any successful businessperson will attest, you need to brand your new business in a way that differs from your old firm. Thus, you should start by creating a logo, social media profiles, and an engaging, user-friendly website.
Sadly, many people in the security industry believe they can do it all on their own. However, we would argue that their time is best spent managing the team and not doing the many things marketing teams excel at, such as:
- Developing a marketing strategy,
- Building an engaging online presence,
- Replying to comments on social media,
- Writing and optimizing blog posts and creating other content,
- Launching ad campaigns and attracting visitors,
- Getting more client eyeballs in your direction.
All in all, promoting your services as soon as you establish a dependable workforce is arguably the best guarantee for the success of your bodyguard company.
Note: Don’t forget to set Key Performance Indicators and SMART goals when working with a marketing team. That way, you’ll get all the insight you will ever need to see if they are delivering results or not.
This article delved deep into starting a bodyguard company in 2022 and beyond. We explored some vital topics to consider before taking the next step in your career.
Still, it’s crucial to note that not every security professional has or even wants to pursue this career path. But, yes, it brings a sense of agency, financial independence, and better life quality in the long run.
However, it’s a daunting task permeated by all sorts of challenges. These include — but aren’t restricted to — becoming part of a saturated market and experiencing difficulties while finding clients who will want to stick with you for years. The latter being the dream of many security professionals and businesses alike.
Finally, if you are to take anything away from this article, here are the essential items:
- Don’t start a bodyguard company if you have under five years of experience working as an operative on the ground. Doing so could seriously undermine your business’s success.
- Ask yourself about the wheres and whys of starting a bodyguard company. Choose the country where you will have the most considerable profits with the least security concerns for you and your team.
- Explore procedures for obtaining permits and look into regulations.
- Inquire with knowledgeable industry peers to give you their honest feedback on your performance and work. Additionally, always ask your clients to provide you with in-depth evaluations.
- Introduce a customer-centric approach and employ outstanding management, accounting, and HR teams.
- Create an atmosphere for retaining employee talent by paying people well, caring for their work-life balance, and adapting to new technologies.
- Hire a marketing team with intimate knowledge of executive protection to spearhead your promotion efforts and get new clients for your business.
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