How to start a security company in NSW

To start a security company is very easy from a legal point of view. The barrier to entry is very low. That being said to run a successful security company is very difficult. As with all businesses building up a stable client base is challenging.
Your security company will need a licence
The licence to run a security company is called a master security licence. This authorises you to have guards under your employment.

Security companies in NSW require a masters licences. There are 5 classes;


  • MA – this licence gives a person who holds a security operators licence the authority to perform their services directly to a client, rather than be hired by another company.
  • MB – this licence authorises a person to employ up to 3 persons at any one time and each of those people must be currently registered and have current licences
  • MC – this licence authorises a person to employ up to 14 guards
  • MD – this licence authorises a person to employ up to 49 guards
  • ME – this licence is unrestricted and the company can employ an unlimited number of guards.
  • The costs of these licences varies greatly and it is important to read each application carefully as all necessary insurance requirements will be outlined.

    Once you have done your research and decided what type of security job you want then there is the process of finding a training institution.
    The security licencing enforcement directorate (SLED) issue all security licences including for training institutions. So it is important to make sure that the institution you chose is recognised through by SLED.
    Once you have completed your training it is important to understand that there is some waiting period between finishing your course and receiving your certificates and licence. The usual waiting period is around 100 days. The security licences are issued by service NSW once they have been approved by SLED, first you will receive a letter notifying you that all your documentation has been approved and that you will need to go to your local service NSW to have your photo taken.
    After this is done it is usually about 2-3 weeks until your licence arrives.

    All the legislative requirements for security company licensing

    Many master licence holders transitioned from security guards and have built up their networks. However if you are looking to further build your team it is important to conduct a thorough interview. Check that the person is not falsifying their identity and the true licence holder.
    Small companies forgo security interviews at their own demise. The nature of security work is often short temporary working periods where a large group are employed for just a night or an event. It is important to check what are the exact requirements from the client and make sure you are sending the right guard.
    Popular websites such as seek, indeed and gumtree are common places to find guards. When you list your job it is important that you include your company name and master licence number so that you make sure that you are adhering to the security licence and enforcement directorate protocol.

    There is often a grind for businesses starting out avoid the temptation to spend money on advertising until you have exhausted all your free resources first. Many small companies begin by trying to sub contract for larger companies and this should be avoided unless you are just looking to build up a team at a site where you regularly work. Sub contracting is not a good way to get recognised by guards as a stable employer unless you are certain to have a lot of different shifts for those guards.
    The margins are significantly smaller than working directly for clients unless you are paying well under the award scheme which can land you in some hot water and risk losing your licence.

    Most security guard work (that is done with a class 1 operators licence) is either static or crowd control. There are lots of patrolling jobs as well but these contracts tend to be less transient and stay with the companies even after those companies are sold or ownership is transferred.
    The key is to specialise if you want to get more static and service jobs, speak to local property managers, construction companies. If you want to do more crowd controlling jobs and RSA(responsible service of alcohol) work then get in touch with local pubs and venues. Keep a look out for which events are coming up.

    If you already have a security company going and looking for new leads and ready to quote some jobs

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