003: Dan Vincent - From Law Enforcement to Security Entrepreneur

From Law Enforcement to Private Security Entrepreneur

Dan Vincent is a massive success story for those of you wanting to make that switch from employee to entrepreneur. Over the past 20 years, through good times and bad, Dan had built Vernon Security into a successful security operation that is hear to stay. Listen in as Johnny and Chris interview Dan to give you an inside look at what made the transition happen, and how he has built the business over the past 2 decades.

Show Outline

Dan left law enforcement in the mid 90’s to launch his own company.  We’re going to talk about how he built relationships and developed work to keep the business running through the good and bad times.

We’ll dive into some of the success principles that Dan believes has helped Vernon Security to succeed.  Everything from leadership strategies and how to keep employees loyal to the company.

  1. How long have you been in the security industry?
    • Dan is the CEO of Superior Protection Services in Paramount, CA and has been serving the security industry with mobile patrol, standing guard, and parking management services for over 20 years.
      Chris and Dan met about 10 years ago and was one of the first customers of Silvertrac - a security officer management software provider.
Early Days
  1. How did you get started in the security industry?
    • Dan left law enforcement to get into the security industry because he wanted to run his own company and was tired of the grind involved in law enforcement.
  2. Did you start on your own dime? Or did you receive funding (or partners)?
    • Started on his own dime and has luckily never missed payroll, although he came close several times.
  3. What verticals or industries did you start in? What was your first contract?
    • It was really critical for Dan to have a few key contacts when he left law enforcement to make a smooth transition in the private security sector. He had good relationships that allowed him to launch quickly and successfully.
  4. What were some of the unexpected curve balls you faced in the early days?
    • Workers comp was a tough thing to learn. "If you believe that you're workers comp broker is going to help you lower your rate, you're and idiot".
    • Dan learned how to investigate claims internally to reduce his MOD from 186 all the way down to 70.
    • Even though it seems like doing full background checks are expensive, it is worth checking into all potential hires to avoid employees who have filed multiple complaints.
    • Take time to follow up with hurt employees and treat them like real people. Show them that you care and that you look forward to seeing them back on the job.
    • Dan uses Silvertrac to document employee comp claims and limit the likelihood of a false claim.
  5. Did you start with patrols or standing guards?
    • Dan started with both mobile patrol and standing guard services.
  6. How long did it take you to start feeling comfortable with the “business” side of security?
    • "I'm still learning!" Dan approaches business with a constantly learning mindset and is always looking for ways to improve. Dan is always learning and tinkering with his management approach.
  7. The needs of your customers are always changing, so your management approach needs to be flexible as well.
Growing Your Business
  1. How long did it take you to get out of the uniform and into full time management?
    • The first 6 months Dan was working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. "If you're not ready to speed 16 hours a day working on your business then starting a business isn't for you. The first 6-12 months are a grind."
  2. Was the security market competitive when you started?
    • "It was competitive, but the margins were much higher back when I started."
  3. What were a few key factors that led to your early success? What helped you gain traction and really become a reputable company?
    • Really communicating with my customers and hiring good people helped me begin to build momentum and learn quickly.
    • Using a survey software to make sure you are providing the opportunity for your customer to share their feedback.
    • "When a customer is left unattended, their natural tendency will be to drift away and eventually cancel."
    • It's also really important to understand your customer and their management style.
Managing People
  1. What have you learned over the past 20 years when it comes to managing people?
    • I have learned that really investing in and taking care of our employees is the best way to improve and maintain customer relationships.
    • I have learned that truly managing and developing our employees is critical to our success as a company.
    • I make sure I empower our employees to make decisions on behalf of our company and I'm not afraid of letting them fail. The best way for an employee to learn is to fail and adjust accordingly.
  2. How do you select quality employees? What are you looking for in a potential hire?
    • We look for someone who can be an extension of our company and our culture. We want security guards that are looking for purpose in their position, not just another job.
  3. What have you learned from past failures?
    • People are people, and everyone is different. If I would have known that developing people was the most important thing I can do as a business owner, it would be a completely different game by now.
    • Learning that developing and promoting from within really creates a cohesive environment in our business.
  4. How do you approach hiring an operations manager vs. hiring a business development manager?
    • In a BDM you really want a hunter that can go out and build quality relationships. In an operations manager you want someone who is capable of developing personnel. Those are the critical characteristics I look for right off the bat. And I really haven't figured the BDMs out. It seems that they are always here for a year or two and then gone tomorrow.
Managing Business
  1. How much of your time is spent working on your business?
    • Security is simply a bi-product of a professionally ran company. As a result, I focus on making sure that things are running well internally, and that delivers results externally.
    • It takes ways more effort for us to manage a quality business than it does to actually secure a property.
    • Management is such a major part of sustaining a viable and successful business that so many operators miss. You can't lose sight of stewarding the business you have to grow as fast as possible.
  2. What tools are you currently using in your business?
    • Scheduling
    • Hiring
    • Payroll


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Johnny Page

Johnny is a Customer Success Enthusiast for Silvertrac Software who is passionate about business, technology, and (of course) our customers! Johnny spent time in the security industry in Business Development, Marketing, and Operations before joining the Silvertrac team.