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How much does a security guard cost?

Average cost in 20149: $20 /hr See National


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The average cost for a security guard is $20/hr. You are likely to spend between $15 and $25 per hour. Exact price may vary depending on your area and project details.

Updated August 1st, 2017

Next Step: Find out exactly how much your project will cost.

Security guards can be hired one time for crowd control or safety at an event. They can provide ongoing protection for a business against crime and theft. They offer a security presence at apartment complexes or condos. And they are available for personal bodyguard services. Security guards work either in uniform or plainclothes, depending on the situation. Many professionals have backgrounds in the police force or special operations. Be sure to ask if you would like your security guard to be specially trained in a certain area. Several factors affect the cost of security guard and bodyguard services.

One-time security guard

Security guards provide protection and a calming presence at weddings, large parties, corporate events, fundraisers and much more. Often security companies charge an hourly rate per each guard requested. Hourly rates vary based on regional cost of living, guard training and experience, and other factors such as relative risk to the guard. For standard jobs, Lion’s Head Executive Protection in Los Angeles, California charges $19 per hour per security guard, with a minimum five-hour agreement. This minimum time ensures that the company’s operating costs—including insurance, licensing and transporting the guard to the event—are met.

Number of guests

More people at a one-time event requires more security guards. Lion’s Head Executive Protection recommends one security guard for every 50 guests to ensure a smooth event.

Ongoing security

Ongoing guard services are available for apartments, paid parking lots and other locations that require a watchful eye and protective presence on a regular basis. Services performed by the security guard varies by company. Some companies offer solely a presence, while others provide a guard that plays a more active role. Lion’s Head Executive Protection, which is owned and operated by active duty police officers, runs its security detail like a police watch. The company offers clients daily electronic logs that record safety concerns, photos of graffiti or fire hazards on-site, and any disruptive occurrences that take place. Hourly rates for ongoing services vary according to region. Lion’s Head Executive Protection charges $19 per hour per security guard. For ongoing clients, there is no minimum time requirement.

Bodyguard services

Hiring a bodyguard is different than hiring a security guard. Bodyguards protect individuals or groups, either as a preventative measure or against specific threats, while security guards protect properties and handle crowd control. Bodyguards often have specialized training and work in a higher risk role than security guards, so their rates tend to be higher. Lion’s Head Executive Protection uses off-duty police officers with 10 or more years of training and experience in special operations working with foreign dignitaries, mayors or celebrities. Lion’s Head Executive Protection charges $50–$75 per hour per bodyguard.

Bodyguard day rate and travel

When a client desires around-the-clock protection, some security companies provide a day rate per bodyguard to cover all-day services. According to Lion’s Head Executive Protection, day rates vary based on the client’s specific needs.

Bodyguard services for travel are also available and cost more than a local day rate because the travel rate covers 24/7 availability as well as the security team’s travel costs. In a hypothetical example of a client traveling from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to New York, the Lion’s Head Executive Protection security team would do a threat assessment of the hotels and travel plans then create an itinerary and logistics. The team would connect with the hotels’ security liaisons to let them know they’re coming and plan for all entrances and exits. The company may also provide armored SUVs, etc. Costs depend completely on the level of the client’s needs.

Security retainer

Some clients in frequent need of bodyguard services establish a retainer with a security company to have services on call for when they’re needed. Costs for a security retainer greatly depend on the specific rates of the company, what level of security is needed, the time involved and the threat level of the various situations. For example, Lion’s Head Executive Protection charges a $1,600 per month security retainer for Client X. This client often goes over that budget, but if they don’t use services one month, the retainer rolls to the next month. After two months, however, the retainer must be refilled.

Security workshops

Security companies often provide services such as threat assessments or workshops on what to do in the case of an active shooter on-site. Lion’s Head Executive Protection recently provided an interactive shooter-awareness safety training for a large warehouse production company and charged $500.

Travel fee

Some security companies charge an additional travel fee if a client’s location is outside the company’s standard service range. Lion’s Head Executive Protection charges $50 for jobs beyond 15 miles of its home office. This fee covers transportation costs and the time required to travel to the job.

Pro tip:

  • Make sure the company you hire is legitimate. The state of California requires security guard services to carry $1 million in insurance coverage and be licensed through the state. The licensing process can be expensive and involved, so verify with your state of residence that the company you’re hiring is cleared to provide the services they are offering.

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Recent reviews

Eagle Eye Protection, Inc.

Mr. Wright was assigned to our office for security. He showed up in a uniform that looked like a real police officer and had a patrol car also at no additional cost. He was very professional and did a great job for Invitation Homes. We will definitely use his company in the future for all security needs.

SENTRYSIX Security & Risk Management (S6)

The staff at the CSG Threat Management Agency truly are the leading experts in the industry! Our company hired this firm to conduct threat assessments on our facility, and to provide security when we received a threat against one of our executives. CSG came through and we could not be more happy. We have since hired this firm to provide 24 hour armed protection for all of our oil and gas company facilities. Their officers and executive protection agents truly are the best in the industry! The extra premium for an elite firm such as this one, is well worth the investment, and the added peace of mind. We plan to keep them around for as long as we can. To go with any other company, simply to save money, really is a waste of time and money. Special thank you again, to Chris, Zach and the whole team at CSG! Remarkable service!

Embark Security

We worked with Jas from Embark Security. He was patient ad explained different cost options. We went with a mobile patrol 2 times a night instead of a standing guard. The car also carries a recorder so if the guard see anything its in video. We are really happy with Jas and his team. I have dealt with bigger companies and they just don't pay attention. Embark has helped clean up our property. We couldn't be more impressed.