How To Hire Security Guards & What To Know

Hiring contract security professionals to maintain the safety of your business or office complex can take on a lot of different forms. Businesses that need to hire a single guard for overnight security will have different needs and expectations than a client that needs all day event security. This article is to help you understand the options you have when hiring security guards, how to research licensing information, and what needs to be communicated between you and the security personnel.


Requirements For Security Guards In California

All security guards in California must meet the training requirements established by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. Licensing requirements include a background check, an intensive training course, an exam from an authorized facility, and a firearm permit if working as an armed security guard. You can view the full list of registration requirements from the BSIS by clicking here.


Armed and Unarmed Security Guards

Unarmed Security Guards – Unarmed security guards are not trained to use deadly force, nor should it be an expectation for businesses that hire them. They provide an extra set of eyes and ears devoted to the safety of a business or property, reporting any crimes or potentially violent situations to local authorities. Unarmed security costs less than an armed officer and can sometimes reduce insurance liability for businesses that hire contract security guards on a regular basis.


Armed Security Guards – Armed guards are trained to use force if necessary, up to and including deadly force. Because they carry a firearm, training, discipline and experience are vitally important to the safety of everyone when hiring an armed guard. You also need to consider the effect that an armed presence may have on your employees or customers. Not all businesses require an armed guard and you should be mindful of whether it will be concern to those in the immediate area. Because there is more training involved and a higher expectation of protection, armed security guards cost more than an unarmed guard.


Need an idea of how much it will cost to hire a security guard? Click here to  view recent pricing information for contract security services from around the U.S.


Communicating Roles & Expectations With Security Staff

When you hire a security guard to improve the safety of your customers, merchandise or employees, you want to make sure they have a good understanding of what potential threats they might encounter. It’s a good idea to go over some basic elements and expectations of the area in which they will be working. Here are some things you’ll want to discuss with security staff, whether it’s one unarmed guard, or an entire team of security personnel for an event:


  • Job duties and requirements
  • Code of conduct specific to your organization
  • Contact person with your business & lines of communication
  • Business layout, floor plan & emergency procedures
  • Areas that require specific attention


To verify a license for a security guard in California, visit the BSIS database, which allows you to search for information by name, license number, city or county.