Step-by-step plan to start as a freelancer in security

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

Are you considering starting as a self-employed professional without staff (zzp'er) in the security sector? Before you start, you need to know the rules and professional requirements for security guards. Read the steps below and find out what you need to start as an independent security guard.

1. Check the professional requirements

Will you work with private security companies? Then you do not need a separate licence. You must comply with legal training requirements. Such as a diploma from the Foundation for Professional Examinations for Private Security Organisations (Stichting Vakexamens voor de Particuliere Beveiligingsorganisaties, SVPB, in Dutch).

For certain professions in security you need extra certifications. For example, if you want to become a door attendant or event security guard. Read more about professional requirements for security guards (in Dutch) on

2. Apply for proof of identity

You need permission from the local chief of police to work in security. Your client is responsible for applying for this permission. You get permission if you have the right training and pass the screening. As soon as your application is approved, your client must apply for a special identification document for you.

Will you work at an airport? Then you need permission from the commander of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Koninklijke Marechaussee).

3. Wear a recognisable uniform

When you do security work, it is mandatory to wear a uniform that has been approved by the Minister of Justice and Security. As a self-employed security guard, you wear the uniform of the company that hired you. Your uniform must have a ‘V’-sign as its emblem.

4. Apply for a VOG

To work in the security sector, you need a certificate of conduct (VOG). A VOG proves that your past behaviour is no concern for doing your job. You apply for a VOG at your municipality. You need to complete the VOG application form (in Dutch).

5. Register at KVK

Self-employed professionals need to register in the Business Register of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK). You pay a one-time registration fee. If you register as an eenmanszaak (sole proprietorship), you do not need to register separately at the Netherlands Tax Administration (Belastingdienst). KVK passes on your details to the Belastingdienst. Check what you need to prepare before you register.

6. File your tax return

You need to pay turnover tax (VAT) and income tax. You can file them yourself with the Tax Administration. If you prefer not to do that yourself, you can let someone else file your taxes. For example, your bookkeeper, accountant, tax adviser, or payroll agency.

7. Keep your business administration

Well-kept business records help you keep track of your financial position. For example, if you want to use tax benefits, you need to comply with the hours criterion. Clear records can prove that you do. You can maintain your administration yourself or outsource it. Always keep your business records for at least 7 years. This is the legal retention period.

8. Set up general terms and conditions and insurances

Starting a business means taking risks. Because you do not work for an employer, you are responsible for financial consequences. For example, if you get sick or if there is an accident at your company. Fortunately, you can get insurance for many risks. For example, liability insurance and occupational disability insurance. By setting up general terms and conditions, you make clear which rights and obligations you and your clients have.

Read more about business insurances.

9. Build up a pension

Do not forget your pension and retirement. Because you do not work for an employer, you do not automatically build up a pension. You need to arrange for your retirement yourself. Read more about building up a pension yourself.

10. Prevent false self-employment

False self-employment is a situation in which you accept an assignment as a self-employed professional, while you are actually an employee. In that case, the company giving you the assignment is your employer, failing to comply with their obligations towards the Tax Administration and you.

Check if you are in false self-employment. If you are not an employee, you do not need to do anything. You can do the assignment as a self-employed professional.

11. Decide your hourly rate

You decide your price yourself. Start off by calculating what you need to support yourself financially. Then you can see how many assignments and clients you need to get that minimum turnover. Keep in mind that you need to include your business costs, your healthcare insurance premium (ZVW), and income tax in your calculation. A turnover calculation can give you clarity. Use the KVK calculating tool (in Dutch) to calculate your hourly rate, based on the net income you want.

Do you want to know what other factors influence your hourly rate? Read more in this article on determining your hourly rate with explanatory video.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK