Hiring a security guard can cost anywhere from $15 to $100+ per hour, depending on your requirements. If you need a guard to watch a retail store for shoplifters, the cost will fall toward the bottom of the scale. On the upper end, a full-time executive bodyguard can cost as much as $1500 per day
The cost of hiring a security guard can depend on several factors — the shifts required, number of guards, level of risk at the location, experience of the guard, and whether or not they are armed. A security consultant can help you achieve the appropriate level of security coverage without overspending.
Another difference in cost can be whether they are on your payroll as an employee or contracted. If you hire them yourself, you will have to provide benefits, training, and possibly uniforms if you want them worn. You will also be responsible for taxes and insurance. On the other hand, if you work with a security provider, they are responsible for all of it. A security firm can also easily replace a guard you are not satisfied with or adjust the number of guards deployed at your location, depending on changing need or risk.
In this article, we will discuss the factors that go into the cost of a guard, the different types of security guard services, and what you should consider when you are deciding to hire a security guard.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Hiring Security Guards
Armed Vs. Unarmed
Armed guards are a bit more expensive than an unarmed guard. Typically, by about $5 to $10. This variation is because they are in great demand, so they can command a higher salary, but also because of the cost that goes into purchasing and maintaining a firearm, practicing, and obtaining a license. Fortunately, you probably will not need an armed guard unless you are in a high-risk area or have high-value items to protect. Even so, it is unlikely that you will need all of your guards to be armed, so a mix of armed and unarmed guards can keep your costs down.
Type and Amount of Experience
An experienced guard with advanced skills can command as much as $35-$50 per hour. Experience includes both the length of time on the job and the type of experience the guard has had. For some jobs or if a more experienced guard is willing to take them under their wing, you can hire a young, inexperienced guard, as long as they possess the attributes of an effective security agent. Traits such as attentiveness, focus, attention to detail, and a sense of purpose are essential in a guard, but not something you can really train.
An off-duty police officer looking for extra income often charges a minimum of $40-$60 per hour. Some guards are former law enforcement or military which also makes them uniquely qualified. They know how to identify threats and neutralize or deescalate the situation. They are trained observers and have training in lethal and non-lethal combat. Guards at this level can be expensive but it may be worth it if your personal security is at risk.
Time of Day
When you need a guard can also be a factor. If you were to contract private security for an exclusive after-hours party, you could pay $30 – $50 per hour or more. If you need guards during the day for egress control, for it may cost less than overnight guards for which you will pay a premium.
Emergency response guards will also be more expensive than those regularly contracted at your location. Temporary contract security professionals may seem costly because the hourly rate might be high. Still, it is a more cost-effective solution than adding a full-time employee to your payroll when you only need them for a limited time.
Independent Vs. Private Security Firms
If you want guards, but do not want to place them on your payroll, you can choose between hiring an independent guard or going with a private security firm. Hiring an independent guard can save you some money because they will not have as much overhead as a firm will, but there are disadvantages as well. With a sole proprietor, there are no checks and balances. If they get sick, you have no guard. If you do not care for the service they provide, you have to start from scratch. Any due diligence is up to you, so do not cut corners. Check their background, insurance, and any licensing required by your state.
Security firms, on the other hand, take care of all of this for you. Best of all they give you plenty of flexibility if your needs change. Add more guards with just a phone call. Select the experience level as needed or add a shift or qualification. Some firms can also provide remote guarding if you are interested. Cameras can be placed in hazardous or far-flung areas and monitored remotely for a fraction of the cost of hiring additional guards to cover these areas.
Competitive Wage Market
As with everything from housing to utilities, the cost of guards will vary by location. Hiring a guard in most midwestern areas, for example, is likely to be more affordable than on the coasts. On the one hand, guards may be in more demand in densely populated locations like cities and thus more expensive. On the other hand, you will have more selection and possibly access to individuals with more skills and experience. Consider also, state and local tax burden and regulation which can add to your costs.
The level of training required by your needs and the state can have an impact on the cost of a guard. Are guards regulated in your state, and if so, what cost is incurred? Do security firms charge a premium for guards with specific licenses, credentials, or training? Also, how much training do they need to cover your requirements? Are there cybersecurity threats that will require the guard to be computer savvy? Is there anything about your location that will require special skills? A guard on an oil platform on the Gulf of Mexico will require a different skill set than one in a suburban office park.
The cost to hire a security guard can also depend on the types of guard services you require. Here are a few common types to consider.
Choosing the right level of security is an important first step. A security consultant will come to your location, assess your risk, and make recommendations regarding what you require to ensure your security needs are fully met. Security is what they do for a living, so they will be able to identify risks that you are unaware of or reassure you that an area you perceived as a vulnerability is not something to worry about. They will not only recommend the right number and type of guards but also what kind of equipment you may need – from locks and gates to cameras and alarms.
Corporate & Office Security
Even within this sector, there are a lot of variables. Are you located in a quiet business park where it is unlikely there will be any significant incidents or are you in a high-crime area or part of a controversial industry? Some business sectors can attract unwanted attention, requiring a higher level of protection and you may pay a premium.
Residential Community Security & Patrol
Residential security also has unique considerations. You may have a condo complex located in a high crime area to protect or a bucolic exurban gated community. You would probably be fine with a basic level of security for the latter, but wealthy homeowners may be willing to pay a premium for a high level of protection. They will expect experience and may even want to review the guards’ credentials for themselves.
Industrial settings can have a wide range of guarding needs. If you are in a high crime area, you may need a guard for the parking lot to protect employees walking to their car or their cars from property theft. If you have raw materials that are expensive or in-demand, you may need to protect them from theft (copper, for example). The products you make can also be a temptation to thieve. Electronics and pharmaceutical industries are particularly vulnerable to pilfering.
How high risk do you imagine Amazon or Best Buy to be? If manufacturers are vulnerable to theft or vandalism, just imagine how bad it could be for distribution centers where large amounts of often expensive products are gathered for shipment.
If you host events at your facility, you may need to control who gets in and out. That is when you need security to keep uninvited people out or protect your guest from potential dangers. If a celebrity or high-net-worth customer is deciding between your location and another, your ability to provide security and peace of mind could be the deciding factor
There are many reasons security is required for medical facilities. The equipment and medications in the building can be expensive. Some of your medications are likely to be controlled substances – the target of both desperate addicts and those who wish to profit from the resale market for these items. The emergency room is commonly a location requiring extra security. It can be dangerous and emotionally charged. People who are victims or otherwise involved in crimes may be present such as gunshot or stabbing victims. There can also be domestic abuse victims. Healthcare professionals may need backup to protect patients from spouses or parents so they can focus on patient care. Also, distraught visitors can behave in an unpredictable manner, such as refusing to leave or assaulting healthcare providers. This is when a security guard can make all the difference.
Guards may be required to watch for vandals, terrorists, or disgruntled employees. Many areas are in remote locations. Pipelines, windmills, drill rigs, and other energy equipment can be located in a desert, miles from a population, or on a platform in the ocean. That can make them expensive and difficult to guard. People can stumble into areas where they do not belong and can get hurt. Individuals can also have wrongdoing in mind. A combination of remote and in-person guarding can be ideal here. Security is also needed on oil tankers and pipelines because destructive vandalism can be very costly.
Security can simply be a matter of controlling who exits and enters the event space, but it can also mean protecting any equipment or people who may be targeted. For example, a plumbing convention will have a different level of security needs than a speech by a celebrity, politician, or controversial figure. They may travel with their own security staff, but you will still need to coordinate for full coverage and to protect the interests of the event space. It also depends on who you want to keep out – people who have not purchased a ticket, paparazzi looking to photograph the event, or wrongdoers who want to harm attendees.
Remote security monitoring can be an effective way to augment or replace your fulltime guarding staff. Remote guards can go anywhere a camera can. This is ideal if you have a large area to cover such as a car lot or recycling center, but it is also a wise choice great for areas that are dangerous. Examples include unattended pools, hazardous waste repositories or confined spaces. Guarding is not always about protecting your business from criminals with ill intent, it also protects you from liability caused by curious children or individuals who do not realize they have stumbled into a hazard. Remote guards can simply instruct them to leave the area. Most will comply readily, but if they refuse, you can alert the authorities (or threaten to) in most cases, firm instructions will be enough to get them to leave.
Remote guards can also handle large or spread out areas easily. A car thief can attempt to steal a car from the back of your lot thinking they will not be seen. An intruder may believe they will not get caught climbing a windmill or cell tower because there is no guard present, but remote security can be anywhere. You may not want to place a guard in the middle of nowhere in a low-risk area, but remote guards could be the answer. A camera without a guard is not typically adequate because it tells you what already happened it does not interrupt or prevent it from happening. Remote security can lessen the number of onsite guards you need or make their lives easier. No guard can be everywhere at once. When a guard is on patrol, everywhere else on their route they are responsible for is vulnerable. Any savvy criminal will memorize the schedule and patterns of the patrol route. A remote guard means that there is never an area that is not covered.
Partner With a Top Security Guard Company
A security company can fill you in on all the important factors to consider when hiring a security guard such as specialized expertise, screening process, retention rates, and insurance coverage. They will give you the flexibility you need to keep up with variable requirements and can advise you on the amount and type of security that is right for you.
Contact BOS Security Today
If you need to request a security guard or would like to schedule a security assessment, please contact the experts at BOS Security. No matter what your requirements, we will develop a thorough and cost-effective security solution that will always give you the most for your money.