Licensing is a rigorous process that requires contractors to prove that they are qualified to do the work that you expect them to do. Licensing requires stringent exams to prove competency in their particular trade.
For many projects, licensing is not optional – it is required.
Hiring unqualified, unlicensed contractors can be a problem for not just the unscrupulous business doing the work. Hiring an unlicensed contractor can also result in penalties or fines against the property owner. In some states, homeowners can be arrested for hiring an unlicensed contractor. In other states, homeowners can be held liable for any injury that occurs on the property, even if the homeowner did not know the contractor was unlicensed.
One of the advantages of hiring a contractor to work on your home as opposed to a direct employee is that the contractor is responsible for any injury that occurs. However, if the contractor is unlicensed, it and its employees automatically become employees of the homeowner. Then the injured worker/employee may sue the homeowner. Therefore, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to check the contractor’s license and to ensure proper building permits are obtained.
Licenses show that your contractor adheres to a standard of competencies that unlicensed contractors are not bound by.
Why Would You Want Your Security Company To Be Licensed?
The state of Virginia mandates that a company is required to be licensed if it is engaged in the business of providing, or who undertakes to provide, armored car personnel, security officers, personal protection specialists, private investigators, couriers, security canine handlers, alarm respondents, central station dispatchers, electronic security employees, electronic security sales representatives or electronic security technicians and their assistants to another person under contract, expressed or implied.
The person who installs or services your camera system possesses the information required to access any device on your network. This could leave you open to identity theft, whether directly or indirectly. For example, they could leave insecurities in your firewall or not change the proper passwords. Your security system, including automatic gates, requires private passwords that are programmed by the installer, and you wouldn’t want those passwords in the wrong hands.
You can rely on a well-trained and licensed professional to recommend the correct equipment for your security needs and take the proper security methods to protect your privacy, whereas consumer security could be compromised by unlicensed business and technicians.
Another benefit to the consumer is that the VA state licensing boards require businesses to carry liability insurance, as well as undergo specific and ongoing training.
How Do I Find Out If A Security Business Is Licensed?
One way to check if your security company is licensed is to visit the directory on the DCJS website.
It is also perfectly acceptable for you to ask about a company’s licenses and licensing procedures when you are looking to hire a security company or an individual.
If documentation cannot be provided, or if you sense that the person you are interviewing is skirting the question or wonders why a customer would want their security company to be licensed, look elsewhere.
Commonwealth of Virginia Security Licensing Requirements
According to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), a business owner must obtain a license to operate a private security business or to solicit private security business in the Commonwealth. Those who work for the company are also required to be registered.
The DCJS licensing and registration process drastically reduces the risk of a possible criminal “scoping” out your home or business and prevents those convicted of crimes from working within the industry. To obtain and maintain a security license to sell, install, maintain or service security equipment, the business principal and supervisor must pass a federal criminal history background check, record fingerprints, conform to the DCJS’s Code of Ethics, and participate in ongoing training.
There are several licensing categories within the private security profession, and the business is required to hold a license in each area in which they operate.
- The categories include security officers/couriers (armed and unarmed); private investigators; electronic security; armored car; personal protection specialists; locksmiths; and detector canine or security canine handlers.
Some Relevant FAQs from DCJS:
Does my business have to be licensed?
A company is required to be licensed if it is engaged in the business of providing, or who undertakes to provide, armored car personnel, security officers, personal protection specialists, private investigators, couriers, security canine handlers, alarm respondents, central station dispatchers, electronic security employees, electronic security sales representatives or electronic security technicians and their assistants to another person under contract, expressed or implied.
What is an “electronic security business?
Any person who engages in the business of or undertakes to
- install, service, maintain, design or consult in the design of any electronic security equipment to an end-user;
- respond to or cause a response to electronic security equipment for an end-user;
- or have access to confidential information concerning the design, extent, status, password, contact list, or location of an end user’s electronic security equipment.
What is an Electronic Security Technician?
A person who installs, services, maintains or repairs electronic security equipment.
What are considered electronic security equipment?
Electronic or mechanical alarm signaling devices, including burglar alarms, holdup alarms or cameras used to detect intrusion, concealment or theft to safeguard and protect persons and property.
This shall not include tags, labels, and other devices that are attached or affixed to items offered for sale, library books, and other protected articles as part of an electronic article surveillance and theft detection and deterrence system.
Is there a criminal penalty for operating a private security services business without a license?
Can I solicit for business while I'm waiting for approval of my business license?
Your Licensed Security Expert—Fortified Services, LLC
Here at Fortified Services, LLC, we are a fully-licensed security company, providing protection solutions for homes and businesses. We understand why our customers want their security company to be licensed and have taken the full measures to both learn about our industry and obtain the proper licensure and training.
After all, if you can’t trust your security company……who can you trust?