The SuretyBonds.com Small Business Spotlight series focuses on small businesses across industries and the best practices that have helped them succeed.
After retiring from the local police department in the summer of 2004, Don Wilson wanted to put the skills he had gained toward private investigating. Wilson spent the next few years doing private investigation work with a crime scene unit before he made the big decision in 2008 to start his own PI business.
By 2010, he had attained his agency license and become Wilson’s Protection and Investigation. When the company launched, Don devoted most of his efforts toward more heart-wrenching, volatile domestic investigations: child custody cases, child theft, runaways. When the opportunity arose to take over the security contract for Oklahoma City-based company Chesapeake Energy, Don jumped at it to expand his company’s scope.
The Challenges and Rewards of Starting a Business
Although he admits he used to put too much on his plate, Wilson has now built quite the team to take care of his agency’s contracts. His team consists of 14 contractors, many of whom are retired and active-duty officers, bomb techs, and SWAT team members.
Not only does his team come with an impressive list of skills, but they also exhibit the most important quality any employer could ask for: dependability. For Wilson, this comes as a blessing that he never allows to go unnoticed. He knows that no matter what situation arises, his team will be able to handle it by doing what’s right for the people involved, whether it’s changing a flat tire or verifying identities.
In return, Wilson has aimed to create an environment where his employees enjoy their work. They always know they can turn to him in times of trouble or uncertainty. In Wilson’s eyes, he simply steers the ship; the people make this business.
When Wilson decided to start his own company, he already had years of experience in the industry, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t challenges. Kandi, his wife, was able to take over some of the more logistical aspects of the business, such as payroll and bonding. In the state of Oklahoma, the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training requires all self-employed armed private investigators and armed guards to have a $10,000 bond. After speaking with friends who were bonded through other companies, she decided to do a little investigating of her own and found SuretyBonds.com through a Google search.
After her first interaction with the SuretyBonds.com team resulted in quick and efficient service, Kandi knew they’d made the right choice. Beyond that initial encounter, she appreciates the company’s renewal emails because she never has to put bonding on her calendar or worry about forgetting to renew. With her plate full of responsibilities, she notes, “Having people like SuretyBonds.com has made things easier. Things are always done and done right.”
Advice for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
Wilson feels that everything his team has learned and accomplished thus far would be a waste if the company didn’t continue to grow. Many of its employees are working as much as they can because their livelihoods and families depend on it. Wilson knows that he has a strong team and feels that its members are ready to take on more clients. He hopes to gain additional contracts and create win-win situations for other companies, empowering them to feel secure in the team they’ve entrusted with their security and investigations work.
Of course, having more clients eventually means needing more employees, but Wilson cautions aspiring entrepreneurs to provide more to the exceptional team they have first. “I want to see us grow with the people we have,” Wilson says, noting that his loyalty to his team inspires loyalty from them as well. It’s how his company has grown to this point, and it’s how the company can attract the right contracts moving forward.
Wilson is motivated by his team and hopes to see Wilson’s Protection and Investigation provide security, on all levels, for years to come.