Security / Bodyguard

Security / Bodyguard


Toronto, ON

Male, 21

I have worked in Toronto's private security industry for the past three years. From babysitting an outdoor art supplies tent on a chilly night to escorting celebs at the Junos, I have undertaken (just about) every imaginable role in the civilian security business. Currently, I am an event security team supervisor and close protection officer (bodyguard).
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23 Questions


Last Answer on January 03, 2013

Best Rated

Have you ever had to disarm an attacker? What kind of physical shape do you need to be in, or does carrying a gun make fitness largely moot?

Asked by jobjob1 over 11 years ago

Yes, once. A junkie in a stairwell attacked me with a needle during a routine patrol of a high risk apartment complex. I was extremely lucky to have avoided being stabbed. (In retrospect, I never should have taken that job in the first place, but 18 year old me was too dumb to know better.) The most important and common physical requirement is the ability to stand for long periods of time. Other than that, most jobs don't require any particular level of physical fitness. If you have a heartbeat, aren't a convicted felon, and can speak/write the lingua franca, you can probably get hired as a security guard. Being physically fit is required to work at a bar or nightclub though, and a definite advantage elsewhere.

What celebrities have you been hired to protect?

Asked by zzz over 11 years ago

Alas, it's a rather long list and I don't want to give my current or any future employers the impression that I can't keep my mouth shut (even though this is a fairly innocuous question). The list includes Hollywood stars, Canadian TV talent, US/Canadian music artists, and a Bollywood star. I'd also like to clarify that I have never worked as anyone's long-term bodyguard, like Bieber's Kenny Hamilton, and have no interest in doing so. All of my protection gigs are tied to a specific event, like the Toronto International Film Festival. I know that's an unsatisfying answer. Here's a photo to make up for it:

How much does it cost to hire a private bodyguard?

Asked by pwarz over 11 years ago

Anywhere from 20 to 70+ dollars an hour. Bodyguards can also be paid in a single lump sum, much like Liam Neeson's character in the "Taken" movies (though that's one of the few similarities). The hourly rate/lump sum is highly dependent on a plethora of factors. I will cover some of the major ones: Risk profile - the higher the risk, the higher the cost. The security professional will conduct a risk assessment with the client. Why does the client want protection? Photogs are infinitely frustrating, but less dangerous than an active death threat. How notable is the client? How dangerous are the locations that the client will be visiting? Individual contractor vs company - the latter will cost more for the same reasons as any other industry. And just like any other industry, repeat business is always in a good position to negotiate. Qualifications - someone with a professional certification (e.g. ASIS CPP) will likely charge more to reflect their greater expertise. A former Force Recon guy will probably cost more than a university student like me. Definitely verify though. Sadly, many people/companies are not above misrepresenting their qualifications. Unarmed/armed - if you want an armed guard (assuming it is legal in your jurisdiction), you're paying more.

What types of body protection do you wear while acting as a bodyguard? Kevlar vest? Other stuff?

Asked by fitty over 11 years ago

None whatsoever. My suits aren't tailored to accommodate a vest, so it would look bulky. Even though custom vests (of the type II variety) are quite comfortable to wear, I'd rather have full mobility. And most importantly, I figure the risk of being shot is very, very low. The most common issues I deal with involve paparazzi, fans, professional autograph hunters, and panhandlers. I did wear a vest during my stint at the high risk apartment complex, though I wound up switching out the Kevlar inserts for thick wood panels. Rarely encountered guns, but pretty much everyone and their sister had a knife or screwdriver.

At such a young age (21), do you have a hard time getting people to take you seriously as a bodyguard? Do they usually want someone older?

Asked by costner over 11 years ago

Not really, though the thought has definitely crossed my mind before. It's possible that a client would be reticent to put her safety and security in the hands of a 21 year old, given the average maturity and ability of someone that age. Thankfully though, your age isn't stamped on your forehead. People subconsciously determine age through multiple factors, such as appearance, behavior, and circumstance. On the rare occasion that my age comes up in conversation, I've heard anywhere from 25 to 33 (I responded to the latter with mock outrage). Helps that Asians are notoriously ageless! Age has the potential to be self limiting though, especially when interacting with older, wealthier, and more powerful people. It's easy to doubt your own ability or wonder whether you're qualified to do what you do. The job's taught me a lot about how to deal with those self limiting beliefs, while recognizing when I should defer to greater experience. At the end of the day, it's all about getting it done. (Tangent regarding circumstance's influence on age: A few weeks ago, while backpacking through Costa Rica, I palled around with a guy in his late 30s. However, almost everyone put him on 28 or 29 years old, including me. I'm assuming the guesses would have been more accurate had we encountered him in an office environment. The fact that most backpackers are mid to late 20s influenced our guesses.)

Do bodyguards get sued a lot and who is liable if a celebrity's bodyguard roughs up a fan, the bodyguard or the celebrity who hired him?

Asked by gary.kub over 11 years ago

I have never been sued, but many people have threatened to do so. And they always seem to think that they're being original. Like I've never heard "You're gonna be sorry - I'm calling my lawyer right now" before. Bodyguards, just like any other security personnel, are occasionally served with a lawsuit though. Unlike police officers, bodyguards are private citizens who are absolutely personally liable for their conduct on the job. A smart bodyguard knows when and how much force is acceptable and stays on the legal side of the line. When you say a "bodyguard roughs up a fan", I will assume you mean the bodyguard illegally applied or applied excessive force (as determined by a judicial body) to a fan. In that case, the bodyguard is always liable. Whether the celebrity is also liable is a different question which I can only speculate on as I am not a lawyer. The plaintiff will certainly try to include the celebrity in the lawsuit because of his or her generally deeper pockets. The plaintiff can try to claim liability implied through the principal-agent relationship or something to that effect. Will it stick? I don't know. However, I will bet my next paycheck on the celebrity being able to hire a far better lawyer than the fan. And we all know that matters.

What credentials did you need to have to get hired? Do you have to "prove" your toughness in any way (like sparring with the boss?)

Asked by Hillboy over 11 years ago

I needed to prove that I could speak and write basic English and wasn't a former child rapist.* (The barrier of entry is extremely low; hence, the title "security guard" gets you Dangerfield-level respect. I prefer to tell people that I work in the security business.) The basics will net you an entry-level job, which is fine if security's just a way to keep the lights on and put food on the table (nothing wrong with that). Attaining more responsibility and/or better assignments is predicated on certain personality traits and soft skills. Due to the general messiness of the industry and lack of widely-accepted certifications, networking is essential. I've never had to explicitly "prove" toughness, persay. But, as you can probably imagine, opportunities invariably arise on the job. My current manager and I wanted to visit each others' Krav Maga schools in order to spar, but never got around to it. Perhaps that's for the better, as he's a former infantry SAW gunner with half a foot and 50 lbs on me. My best chance would be to close the distance fast and focus on clinch strikes such as knees, elbows, and palm strikes to the genitals. Sorry boss. Toughness isn't half as important as confidence though. Someone who relies on force and violence to solve problems is a liability. I solve 99.9 percent of conflicts by listening to and understanding people. (*I also had to show an Ontario security license, but anyone with the previous qualifications and an iota of brains could obtain one. The cost was approximately 80 dollars when I was first licensed. Because of a regulatory overhaul about a year after I was first licensed, new licensees now have to pay a lot more. I would never have gotten a license if the entry cost was as high as it is now. Funny how much of your life's trajectory relies on serendipity.)