Security Guard Freelancing vs. Full-Time Employment

Last Updated: May 15, 2024

When you’re looking into becoming a security guard, you’ll notice there are plenty of positions across various fields. In your search, finding jobs for either freelancers or full-time employees is common. But what’s the difference? And how can you find out which is right for you? At Security Guards Only, we’re here to help you decide what sort of employment you want to pursue in your security guard career.

Freelance

A freelance security guard operates as a self-employed individual within the security industry. The term ‘moonlighting’ is often used by freelancers working part-time or sporadically, typically supplementing another full-time job.

Benefits

The benefits of being a freelance security guard are similar to the benefits of being self-employed in any industry. These include:

  • Autonomy over your daily tasks with minimal supervision.
  • Flexibility and freedom to choose your schedule and availability.
  • The potential of increased earnings, as the client pays you directly.
  • The ability to network for yourself and connect with various companies and professionals.

Specific to the security industry, you have the ability to bid on security job contracts yourself as a freelancer. This means you can choose what jobs you take on, giving you control over your clients.

Drawbacks

Despite the benefits of freelancing, it does have some drawbacks, including:

  • Lack of guaranteed minimum wage, possibly leading you to accept jobs with lower pay.
  • No entitlement to paid sick leave, vacation, or holiday pay, which can make taking time off difficult, especially if you’re committed to a contract.
  • Absence of a pension plan.
  • When filing taxes, you will have to pay your own employment taxes, which your employer would normally take out.
  • Depending on your location, you might need to cover the cost of licensing required to work as a security guard out of your own pocket.
  • Ensuring you understand local regulations is key, as not all areas allow freelance security guards. There may also be additional licensing requirements required to freelance.

Whether these drawbacks outweigh the benefits of pursuing freelancing depends on what you want to get out of the job. If you have a regular full-time job and only want to work a few times a week or pick up the occasional security contact during a slow season, then freelancing may be the right choice.

Full-Time

There are two primary categories for a full-time security guard role. The first is to work directly for a security company, which will choose contracts and send you out to different locations depending on the needs of those clients. The second is by working directly for a company that’s hiring security for their building or business.

Benefits

While with freelancing, you may find that there are times when you can’t find a contract, a full-time security guard job will be more steady, and you will work however many hours are in your employee contract. Security guard jobs are rarely a traditional 9-5, but full-time employment offers a much more steady and consistent schedule than freelancing. A few other important differences to note are:

  • Guaranteed minimum wage or higher compensation, often accompanied by an employee benefits package.
  • You will have employment protection and job security, both of which are important if you are looking to make security your full-time career.
  • There is some flexibility in a full-time security job, as you can specify days and times you cannot work (within reason).
  • Any requirements of working as a security guard (such as licensing) will be coordinated with your employer.

In addition to full-time jobs, there are also sometimes part-time jobs available for security guards who want to work for a company or agency directly. These positions give many the best of both worlds, combining some benefits of freelancing with full-time work.

Drawbacks

Working directly for a company or agency is not the right choice for everyone, and there are still drawbacks to this kind of employment.

  • In a full-time security guard job, you’ll often have to take input from managers and supervisors. To work in that environment, you need to be comfortable taking and executing orders and have less autonomy than you would as a freelancer.
  • Limited control over client or contract selection, with assignments determined by the employer, potentially leading to varied work locations and client environments. This takes the pressure off having to bid on contracts
  • You will be either on a predetermined salary or hourly rate. While there are opportunities for salary growth for full-time security guards, you might not make the same amount as a freelancer on certain jobs.

Freelance vs. Full-Time Security Guard Jobs

Choosing between freelancing and full-time employment depends on what you value most in your career. While freelancing offers flexibility and the opportunity to be your own boss, full-time employment provides job security and a steady income. At Security Guards Only, we understand that this decision isn’t always easy, regardless of the path you choose, ample opportunities are awaiting you. If you’re ready to take the next step in your security guard career, browse our job boards for a wide range of job postings that cover all the security sectors and both freelance and full-time options.

 


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Jeff Ketelaars
Jeff Ketelaars
Co-founder
Jeff Ketelaars is a seasoned security expert with over 35 years in the industry. He founded two security agencies and established Security Conscious in 1990, a firm that offers high-quality training to security professionals. As a skillful negotiator, Ketelaars has secured contracts for Canada's largest security guard union, advocating for fair treatment and compensation for security personnel.

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