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Security Guard Cost

How Much Does a Security Guard Cost?

low costUnarmed Security Guard: $12-$20 Per Houraverage costArmed Security Guard: $18-$25 Per Hourhigh costOff-Duty Police Officer: $40-$60+ Per Hour
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Security or undercover guards may be hired for ongoing service at apartment complexes, small businesses, restaurants or clubs, among other locations. An armed or unarmed security guard may also be contracted to work a special event, such as a concert, public gathering or rally.

Typical costs:

  • Depending on the type of event and the level of security needed, security guards can cost $10-$100 per hour. Guards in the higher price range typically work for a proactive agency like Denver-based Code-3 Protection & Security, which contracts security guards who can work effectively in high-threat situations and detain people if necessary. Inexpensive guards typically work for an "observe and report" agency, which contracts security guards who are not trained to act in high-risk situations, but report events to the police.
  • An unarmed security guard typically costs $12-$20 per hour, while an armed security guard costs typically costs $18-$25 per hour. An unarmed guard from 21st Sentry Security in Dallas-Fort Worth typically costs $14 per hour, while an armed guard starts at $18 per hour.
  • The time of day also affects pricing. Security guards working at a late-night party in the city may cost $30-$50 per hour, for example.
  • An off-duty police officer typically costs $40-$60 per hour for security guard services. Interested clients can contact a local police department for availability and rates, which can be expensive because the officer is working overtime.
Related articles: Liability Insurance, Event Planner

What should be included:
  • Security guards working with an agency should be trained and their backgrounds should be checked.
  • A standing security guard may be armed or unarmed, and stays on site throughout the service period or day. At each location serviced, 21st Sentry Security assigns a set of post orders, a set of mandatory duties for officers to execute each shift. Each security guard must submit a daily activity report, detailing the guard's activities during each shift, and additional forms detailing any suspicious activities on the property. Each agency varies in duties assigned during each shift.
  • Unlike a standing guard, a uniformed patrol officer visits the property a specific number of times each day, as determined by the client. Each visit includes a written security report. At C.S.I. Patrol Service[1] , multiple small business owners may share one patrol officer's services, splitting the costs and services evenly. Patrolling guards are helping in the ongoing prevention of fire, theft and vandalism.
  • If requested by the client, security guards arrive in uniform. Security guards provide their own equipment, including but not limited to handcuffs, batons, pepper spray, stun guns, firearms and bullet-proof vests.
Additional costs:
  • Hiring armed security guards generally costs more than hiring unarmed guards because their agencies must pay higher insurance rates. Security guards working independently and not through an agency may be an insurance liability, so it's important to check into liability insurance before an event.
Shopping for a security guard:
  • A guard service company acts as a broker for assigning security guards to a number of clients, making sure they are paid fairly and are adequately trained. The Security Guard Services Guide[2] discusses the benefits of hiring a guard through an agency.
  • When hiring a security guard, think about the area that needs to be protected and the level of protection needed. For instance, a nighttime patrol officer may be preferable to a 24-7 standing guard in some situations.
  • When hiring through a security guard service company, make sure that the agency is licensed and bonded. This will often affect how its employees are trained, background checked and insured. Also, some states like Colorado do not require security agencies to be licensed, so use caution when making an inquiry.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Charging for non-worked hours
Amount: $87.66
Posted by: Anonymous Consumer in Tucson, AZ.Posted: October 15th, 2014 10:10AM
Level of Security: unarmedAgency: Frontier
Frontier only charges 14.61. The security guard sits in his vehicle and reads a book. The guards is only needed 3.5 to 4 hours; however Frontier is forcing us to pay a minimum of 6 hours. Is this legal.
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Security Services
Amount: $18.00
Posted by: Sarah FP in Manchester, NH.Posted: August 5th, 2014 09:08AM
Level of Security: Strike/HighAgency: Salerno Protective Services
This company looked and acted like cops! Uniforms were sharp. They were very professional. Thorough reports were given.
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Securiy service
Amount: $19.75
Posted by: in Denver, CO.Posted: January 6th, 2014 10:01AM
Level of Security: unarmedAgency: Boss Dog Crime Prevrntion inc
Boss Dog Crime Prevention inc.
This company was very professional . and even though this is a small newer company all Expectations were met and I would recommend this company. We will continue to use this company when needed.
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Security Rate
Amount: $20.00
Posted by: Memphis guy in Memphis, TN.Posted: October 31st, 2013 04:10PM
I also wanted to chime in about the "sky high" rates for armed guard liability insurance. This is an urban legend or an assumption from someone who has never purchased guard service liability insurance. Yes - it's true, liability insurance for armed guards is higher than for unarmed guards. **BUT** In my experience (20 years owning a guard service) the rates are not that much higher. Large guard companies (people mills) who are all about the profits and could care less about clients or their officers help perpetuate that falsehood so they can steer unwitting clients into unarmed guards where the risk to them is minimized and profits can be maximized.
Armed rates are higher because the guards are paid a little more, etc. In today's liability climate, families of deceased unarmed guards who were murdered on the job are suing for wrongful death and winning huge judgements. It is something to consider before you hire unarmed security personnel.
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Amount: $20.00
Posted by: Memphis guy in Memphis, TN.Posted: October 31st, 2013 04:10PM
Level of Security: ArmedAgency: N/A
Rates for security officers vary widely depending on where (City/State) the site to be staffed is located. The hourly rate is based in part on local prevailing wage rates. In areas where the cost of living is higher, the wages have to be higher and thus the price will be higher. Rates are also based on volume. If you need coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week your rate will be lower than someone who only needs coverage 4 hours per night, 5 days a week. There are many variables that go into formulating a security officer billing rate.
In Memphis the average billing rate for armed run between $ 18 - $ 22 per hour. Unarmed runs between $ 13 - $ 16 per hour.
Expect to pay more for temporary or short term assignments as opposed to long term contracts.
My advice when selecting a guard service - find a local based company and do not choose on price alone. You get what you pay for is very true... with security guards - you get 60% of what you pay for.
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Cost of security guards in CA
Amount: $20.00
Posted by: Mitchel in All, CA.Posted: April 5th, 2013 12:04PM
Ca. labor code 2810 requires security companies to charge an hourly rate that covers all payroll, taxes and insurance required by law. And any other mandated employee cost. All duties and hours must be included in contract before any one arrives on site. Any changes made requires an new contract If a client dose not request a contract it is assumed they know the rate is too low to cover reqired expenses and can be sued buy the service employee or the state on their behalf. You can be mid contract and have stae, fedral taxes increase or insurance rates increase to security company and you will have to resign contract or switch companies.

The client location, type of bussines,type of event, insurance claims against client property, or crime reports for area/location can affect vendor's insurance rate. If you hire an armed guard then all insurance rates sky rocket.

If you are quoted $16.00 an hour for an unarmed officer be very suspicious. If the guard is paid $8.00 per hour that leaves the company $8.00 per hour to cover all required cost.

In CA. hiring an off duty police officer or a retired officer gets you nothing special. The stae views them as regular security guards. They have no police powers. The only way they have police powers they must be in department uniform and you must have a letter from the department accepting all liability for the officer's actions.
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Security Services
Amount: $18.75
Posted by: Mrs. Martin in Westwood, CA.Posted: October 8th, 2012 01:10PM
Level of Security: UnarmedAgency: Guard Pros Security Services
This company was very professional from top to bottom. Expectations were met and I would recommend this company. We will continue to use this company when needed.
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Security Guard? Try an Off-Duty Officer!
Amount: $20.00
Posted by: BSpoon in Birmingham, AL.Posted: December 15th, 2011 07:12AM
Level of Security: 10Agency: Local
I am, like many officers, available for off-duty, around-the-clock, armed protection. Off-Duty officers cost the same, but offer a completely different level of expertise and safety.
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