Answering The Call

Security firm is expanding as demand increases

There’s a call out for increased security in the U.S. that MarkAnthony L. Guyton hopes to answer.

The owner of Protection Corporations of America, a security firm with 54 employees and operations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently expanded his venture into Dallas, to meet a rising demand from both the public and private sectors. Guyton says this demand is expected to result in increased revenues of roughly $1.1 million and $1.7 million for 2001 and 2002, respectively. Revenues for 2000, by comparison, totaled $910,000.

Though incorporated in 1998, Guyton actually began working on his company, Total Protection Services, five years earlier as a part-time business to supplement his income as an officer for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. After a few side jobs working security at local nightclubs (that’s right, professional bouncers), Guyton decided to expand his business to include a broader range of security work.

In 1993, he gathered his life savings (amounting to $9,000) and rushed out to purchase uniforms, badges, computer programs, and other odds and ends that would get his company off the ground. “I put together a team and thought maybe I can be an entrepreneur and from there it just erupted, he says.” Well, maybe not erupted; revenues for his business totaled a meager $3,614 in 1993, its first year.

One of Guyton’s early challenges was finding financing. His company would sign a contract to provide security services, for a business or a home and he’d get paid when the contract ended and the services rendered. But in the early days, he didn’t have cash reserves to pay the security guards who were performing the services. So Guyton approached the Bank of Oklahoma in late 1998, requesting a $150,000 loan. He was granted $100,000, so he began securing prepay contracts. This allowed the company to receive payment for contracts as the work was being provided rather than afterward.

Guyton quit his job with the corrections department in 1998 to pursue his entrepreneurial dream on a full-time basis. Guyton’s firm offers all forms of security services, such as residential and retail watch, surveillance and alarm services, vehicular patrol, and investigative services. He now boasts an array of clients, including Marriott International, McDonald’s, Target Corp., Coca-Cola Bottling Co., and Kmart Corp.

The events of September 11 have led to an increased need for security at public places, Guyton says, and he’s not alone. Employment for security guards is expected to grow 21% to 35% faster than the average for all occupations by 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (see “Where the Jobs Are,” February 2002), as increased concern about crime, vandalism, and terrorism heighten.

With this rising demand, Guyton is undaunted by a harsh economy, believing his industry is recession-proof. “Whether the economy is good or bad, you’ll always need someone to watch over your assets,” he says.

Protection Corporations of America, 3903 S.E. 29th St., Del City, OK 73115; 888-519-6870; www.totalprotections .com

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