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Ways To Make Money From: Home And Business Security

Home And Business security

EVERY YEAR THERE are over 600,000 reported burglaries in England and Wales alone. Unfortunately, the police clear-up rate is less than one case in four, so the need for people to consider preventative measures is paramount.

Happily, there are many low-cost businesses you could start in order to capitalize on the demand for security-related products and services. Here are 20 ideas, from modest part time earners to full-time independent enterprises, from which you can secure your own financial future:

  1. Private protection patrol

Burglary and violence are a threat in practically every neighborhood, but the police just don’t have the resources to keep a constant eye on everybody’s property, or even every street. One way to offer a little extra peace of mind to locals is to set up a private patrol service.

A fit and vigilant retiree with their own vehicle would be perfect for this. It involves driving slowly past the houses enrolled on the scheme at least once every two hours to check for intruders, while at the same time acting as a deterrent to crime. You’ll need a CB radio link with someone else who can telephone the police for assistance when you spot anything suspicious.

This service will be particularly lucrative in areas inhabited by working couples whose homes will be vacant during the day, presenting and easy target for thieves. You could provide an additional service for people away on holiday – homeowners could leave their keys for you to check the inside of their houses, tidy up the post and even feed the pets. Sign 50 people to your scheme, charge them $15 a month each for the basic service, and you’ll generate monthly income of $750.

Note that you have no powers of arrest and you are not in any way replacing the police. However, you will be providing much-needed extra security in the neighborhood.

  1. Fitting window locks and bars

It’s all too easy for a determined burglar to gain entrance to a property by smashing a window or jimmying it open. For households the best solution is to fit window locks, while window bars may be more suitable for business properties.

You could cash in from fitting these items. As well as the products themselves, which you can buy from a wholesaler or directly from manufacturer, you’ll need a ladder, electric drill with regular and masonry bits, masonry anchors, one-way screws and assorted tools.

Target customers by distributing attractive leaflets informing them of the need for your service. Aim to speak personally with the householder / manager to get a firm commission.

  1. Nanny surveillance

Despite being found not guilty, the Louise Woodward case has made parents more wary of employing a child minder. However, there is often no alternative should they wish to pursue a career.

There is a service already establishing itself in the US, which can allay parents’ fears. With the use of a small video camera and a remote video recorder it’s possible to monitor a nanny while they are at work. In America people are buying this equipment and making money from setting it up in parents’ homes, while keeping an eye on the nanny to ensure they can be trusted. The concept will be in demand here too.

Suppliers of surveillance / CCTV systems include: Digital Systems UK, London (0181 668 0101); JJN Electronics, London (0181 508 9701); Merlin Surveillance, Middlesex (0181 362 1111); QTek Products, Gravesend (01474 355050); 21st Century CPS, Blackburn (01254 697989); Leeds Spy Centre (0113 230 2000); Manchester Spy Centre (0161 766 1244); Manchester Surveillance Company (0161 205 9636).

  1. Insurance Videotaping

Items particularly at risk in household robberies include jewellery, TVs, VCRs, Hi-Fi’s and computers. When they are stolen, people sometimes have a hard time obtaining the insurance money because they find it difficult to prove they actually owned the items claimed for.

The insurance video service is another one popular in the US with potential in the UK, Camcorder owners will film client’ possessions in their homes. The client keeps one copy of the video and the original is handed to the insurance company as a record. If you own camcorder this could be for you – approach insurance companies directly and / or advertise in local newspapers to get work.

  1. Be a locksmith

Since the persistent thief’s aptitude for cracking locks improves with each passing year there is need for increasingly sophisticated locks to keep them out. By doing a little training as locksmith you’ll have a useful extra string to your bow and will be able to make money anywhere. Try your careers library or ask the specialist lock shops about courses.

You can advise people on the correct locks to install, and then fit them. This niche service commands fees of over $50 an hour, plus expenses.

  1. Outdoor light installation

Those shady nooks and crannies outside your house provide perfect cover for crooks and other assorted ne’r-do-wells. You can now obtain bright, yet economical lighting systems (including timer-controlled devices and infra-red laser-operated lights which respond to an intruder’s movement) to illuminate those outdoor passages, back yards, gardens and garages.

Electrically-minded types could tap into the demand for fitting these products in homes and business via a campaign of door-to-door handouts, ads in the local paper / Yellow Pages, and postcards in shop windows.

  1. Fitting burglar alarms

The rising crime rate has led to a boom in the burglar alarm market. Few firms would be without one, and the majority of private homes either already have one or are considering getting one fitted.

A security alarm business has potential anywhere. If you wanted you could run this as a part-time venture, fitting alarms on evenings and weekends.

Suppliers of alarms can be tracked down through business directories and mail order magazines. While you’ll need to familiarize yourself with how the system work, this shouldn’t take long. Household alarms are simpler than commercial alarms and fitting them is barely more difficult than wiring a household plug.

Nobody will buy a burglar alarm from a ‘cowboy’ style operation, so the number one rule is to maintain a professional, upstanding image at all times. Use good quality letterheads and promotional materials, pay attention to the appearance of your office and personal attire, and be on hand to offer in-depth advice and assistance on all of your products.

Press advertising and leaflets are the obvious means of promotion – get and extra edge by offering free surveys and quotes.

Household burglar alarms usually cost $200 to $1000 to supply and fit. This can be anywhere from three and ten times the cost of the parts, so you can imagine how profitable this is.

  1. Selling security devices

If you’re good with your hands you could sell security products, rather than install them. That includes anything with security / safety potential: door viewers, safes personal anti-attack alarms, fire and smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, padlocks, door chains, car alarms, and all the other products mentioned in this section.

Companies are a valuable market. You could also get trade from homeowners by targeting.

Neighborhood Watch groups and holding free seminars on home security. Combine this with newspaper and Yellow Pages ads and / or personalized mailshots.

  1. Home security service

Readers who consider themselves experts on security could make money as a consultant, visiting home owners and advising them on ways to make their properties more safe and secure. The going rate will be at least $20 per visit.

Make sure you’re in a position to supply and fit the equipment necessary to bring their premises up to scratch. Offer to refund the cost of the consultation if they order directly from you.

  1. PC security

To a firm, having its PCs stolen would be costly and a major inconvenience. But what if it lost its customer database or had secret product information stolen by a competitor? The potential loss would be immeasurable, which is why companies need to wise up to the benefits of PC security. Selling and installing Pc security systems is something anyone with a basic knowledge of computers could get into. Simply target small to medium-sized firms and convince them of the benefits.

Savtec (01420 541370) stocks a range of PC security kits designed to lock computer hardware to a fixed surface, thus preventing theft and unauthorized use. Portable disk drivers and CD writers are another essential security option. They allow the user to keep a back-up of their computer files in case they are stolen or the office burns down.

  1. Commercial surveillance

Surveillance is an important area of security, with business surveillance being especially lucrative. Industry is awash with tales of staff stealing cash, pilfering stock, and / or forging invoices over a long period.

Industrial espionage is a big problem too.

Businesses have been bankrupted when a departing employee has leaked their client list or top secret product information to a competitor, or has used it to set up their own enterprise.

When this happens, firms will call upon a private detective experienced in surveillance techniques to seek out the culprits. This might be done using a combination of undercover work (perhaps the PI and their associates will disguise themselves as fellow employees) and use of sophisticated monitoring hardware (things like phone taps, transmitters and covert recording devices).

It’s a fascinating area. Opportunities are expanding as firms realize that paying a private detective $500 a day is small beer when compared with how much they can save.

To get involved in this you’re best option is to take a specialized course in private investigation, such as The Streetwise School of Private Investigation Home Study Course. As well as having a section devoted to commercial surveillance the course teaches you about all areas of private investigation, so that by the time you compete it you’ll have sufficient information to trade as a private investigator. Students receive a certificate showing they have received tutoring in all aspects of investigation and are authorized to use the initials ‘Dip.PI after their name.

For a course information pack call the 24-hour answerphone on 01709 360166, or write to: The Streetwise School of Private Investigation, Streetwise Marketing, Riverside House, 10 Claire Court,  Rawmarsh Road, Roterham $60 IRU.

  1. Business security service

Prevention is better than cure when it commercial security, especially when you consider that stock, cash and information losses can cost a firm millions of pounds. This advisory service is a spin-off from the previous opportunity.

Start by conducting a study of the firm, its premises, processes, assets and staff, and advice on areas where internal security may be improved. After that your task will be to visit once a month to check up on security procedures. Although useful in itself, your presence will also be an excellent deterrent to petty crime.

Charge a few hundred pounds for the initial analysis, plus another few hundred (renegotiated on an annual basis) for the monthly visits.

  1. Become a store detective

Store detection is another specialized area of commercial surveillance. While larger stores tend to employ full-time store detectives, private detectives are increasingly hired on a temporary, freelance basis for this kind of work.

Again, the way to make money as a freelance store detective is to take a course in private investigation, such as The Streetwise School of Private Investigation Home Study Course (see 11).

  1. Night watchman/security guard

Anyone trained as a PI will be will placed to earn good money as a freelance guard. The basic nightwatchman’s job requires no qualifications at all, but involves working unsociable hours, can be boring and lonely, and generally isn’t well paid. So why not set up an agency supplying nighwatchmen to factories, offices and the like?

By recruiting trustworthy people and convincing companies to use your service you can pay your staff a reasonable wage and still make a hefty profit, without doing the actual work yourself.

  1. Be a bodyguard

You can earn up to $200 a day as a bodyguard. As well as protecting celebrities, bodyguards are commonly hired to accompany wage collections, protect cash and valuables, and escort businessmen on trade missions. It’s best to be prepared for just about anything.

Beyond giving out business cards and getting a Yellow Pages / Thomson Local listing, bodyguards and their agents don’t really advertise. Instead they get work through recommendations from satisfied clients. Some are awarded permanent contracts, or set up their own agencies.

Finding initial clients takes persistence, but business usually builds form there.

  1. Lost key service

Losing a key is a troublesome prospect for most people. As well as inconvenience there is the worry of it ending up in the hands of someone with less than honest intentions.

It’s obviously not a good idea for anyone to leave their address on their keys. The solution? A lost key service. Each client is issued with a key fob which says something like: “If found, please return to Anytown Lost Key Service, PO Box XX… $10 reward for return.” So the finder has and incentive to return the keys and the owner knows they aren’t going to get burgled.

Charge clients $25 a year (with a surcharge if they lose their keys more than once.) Get 200 clients and you’ll earn $5,000 a year, which will be barely dented by paying out for marketing expenses, key fobs and the occasional reward.

  1. Keyholding service

If you are reliable can be cope with being called out in the middle of the night, you can make money as a keyholder for local businesses. If the alarm goes off during the night for any reason it is you who the alarm company telephones. You must go out, check the property over the ensure the premises are fully secure before you leave.

It makes sense for firms to employ to keyholder for two reasons. Firstly, alarm companies often have trouble locating the firm’s keyholder. Records may not have been updated, or the person responsible may have gone on holiday.

Secondly, 90 per cent callouts are false alarms, triggered by wind, rain, thunder or traffic. No working person wants their night’s sleep ruined, so firms will be prepared to pay someone else to check the premises. Charge an annual on-call free of at least $60 per firm.

  1. House sitting

The best way to protect property and possessions when away on holiday is to have someone else living there, which is why house sitting has become so popular. Through an agency, clients will book someone to look after the house, air the rooms, water the plants, feed the pets and even take the dog for a walk.

Though there’s no reason why you can’t set up and independent  service, the best way to get work as a house sitter is no contact an agency such as Homesitters (01296 630730) or Housewatch (012790777412). While average earnings area modest $40 a week it’s easy work. Recently retired couples are particularly well suited.

  1. Goosy guardians

This might an odd idea, but if you’ve ever heard goose screech you’ll understand how good a security device they can be. Geese are so effective at sounding the alarm when encountering intruders that one world famous whisky producer has pressed them into service as guards.

This ancient idea is rapidly regaining popularity. A goose is much cheaper than and electric alarm and has the fringe benefit of being able to supply eggs for breakfast. Anyone who can breed and / or supply geese can expect up to $50a bird.

  1. Renting lock-up space

If you have a garage or unused shop / warehouse space you don’t use, you could make money by turning into a secure lock-up area. Firms, individuals, and even the local council will be interested.

Complete security is one selling point. Only client holds a key, so their privacy is assured. Convenience is the other major attraction. Imagine that ‘Firm X’ has one main storage area on the south side of town where workers (cleaners, for example) have to visit to collect their equipment before they do their job, before dropping it off again when they finish. It would make sense for ‘Firm X’ to lease a second small storage area in the north of town to make things easier for staff who live and work in that area, saving them a journey across town.

You could charge $100 a month per ten cubic feet of space. By dividing, say, a garage into three separate lock-ups you could earn $300 a month for no effort at all.

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