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Oregon VS WA State in starting a security company

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  • Oregon VS WA State in starting a security company


    I am wondering if you could tell me what you think of the differences between security companies (regulations, liability, state accountability) between Oregon and WA State.

    I know that WA state has mandatory insurance for new start ups (I remember speaking to a person at the WA DOL number that deals with security companies and being told that the reason was because WA state was tired of unprofessional companies and that the state imposed the insurance requirements to help weed out some bad companies.) Several things I noticed was that it seemed:

    1) You can't get a security company license without insurance

    2) But you can't get insurance without a license

    3) You can't have a site without a license

    4) You can't have insurance for a site without a license

    5) But you can't get a site without license and insurance

    It seems that Oregon has no insurance requirements (mandatory for start ups) Now I am sure that each site, especially construction and professional sites will require insurance, I just found it interesting that the initial view seemed more streamlined for Oregon. Now I am not advocating by any stretch of the imagination the stupidity of not having insurance. It just seemed odd. I know in Massachusetts (it might have changed by now) you just paid 500 bucks for a bond and filed with the state police. At least it was clear.

    So, comparing Oregon to WA state....which state is better to start a security company in? In your opinion.

  • #2
    Most likely Oregon. WA tightened up its regs in the mid-90s after some tragic incidents involving guards who were unlicensed, untrained, etc. And I can tell you the insurance requirements were deliberately pushed for by the bigger guard companies in order to make it more difficult for smaller companies to operate.

    You also have to remember WA has no income tax, so they nickel and dime you on everything. I'm not opposed to the Business and Operations (B & O) tax per se, but I have to agree with the owners of smaller companies that it is a bit unfair compared to what the big boys (Boeing & Microsoft) pay.

    But Washington might have more opportunities just because you have a stronger economy (especially along the I5 corridor) than a lot of states. (Not dissing Oregon, but outside of Portland I would imagine finding clients would be a challenge.)


    • #3
      Thanks for replying. I appreciate it. I agree with you about everything you said. I think Portland's smaller size (Kind of like a Providence as opposed to Seattle being a Boston or LA) would actually work for having a company located near there. Seattle can be huge and the traffic makes a commute to a site a multiple hour thing. Really hard to cover shifts people miss. Not to mention the current move towards a $15 hour minimum wage push, which sounds great if you are just an employee. But if that passes it might spread elsewhere as well.

      I wasn't looking to start a 40 contract company. I've seen people waste away getting caught up in that mess. That requires an iron tough team and even then has high turn over for office staff.

      I worked for a smaller company near Phoenix for a few years. It was a full time job for the owner but he wasn't killing himself trying to be the Amazon or Starbucks of security. Guess it has to do with vision, core vales and business structure.

      I agree also about nickel and diming. Heck, the way the police follow everyone around here shows me that somebody needs or wants money. I consider stuff like that an invisible tax.

      Thanks again.