Hiring a building security guard is one of the most common ways for property owners to protect their assets and improve safety for customers and tenants. If you’re considering hiring an on-site guard, however, you may want to take a closer look at the associated costs.
The average rate for security guards ranges from $15 to $30 per hour, although rates can climb more for guards with advanced skills and experience. Taking related expenses into account, even the lowest-paid guard in the U.S. typically costs a facility between $6,000 and $8,000 per month.
Ultimately, your specific security needs will determine the number of guards you need, as well as which cameras, keypads and analytics software you choose. As you make your selections, it’s important to fully understand the costs of each option, as well as the alternatives.
Here are a few factors to consider if you’re in the market for a building security guard.
Consider Your Conditions
Plenty of sources can tell you the average cost of a security guard in your area, but that average is based on wildly varying rates. To more accurately estimate your costs, you’ll need to consider the conditions of your facility, as well as the level of service you expect.
One of the biggest factors is locale. What are your neighborhood’s rates of theft and violent crime? Have surrounding businesses experienced recent break-ins? In general, on-site security will be more expensive in urban areas than rural, and prices will rise as crime rates do.
Time of day will have a similar impact. With most break-ins and thefts occurring at night, an after-hours post will usually cost more than a daytime guard. Of course, if you need 24/7 surveillance, you’ll be paying two to three times as much as you would for a single shift.
Lastly, the skills and experience you require will strongly impact price. The low end of the average includes unarmed security guards with fewer years on the job. On the other end of the spectrum are highly trained, armed security guards with military or law enforcement backgrounds.
Overall, you’ll need to consider the risks your company faces, as well as the risks guards are taking by working for you. In general, higher stakes mean higher rates.
Vetting, Benefits and Turnover
In addition to risks, skills and experience, you’ll need to assess the costs of hiring new employees. Each guard will require, at a minimum, an interview and a background check. If they’re going to spend significant time around customers — or if they’re going to be armed — you may need additional vetting processes such as psychiatric evaluations. Every time you hire an additional guard or replace one who has left, you’ll need to pay for these processes again.
Likewise, you’ll probably need to provide health insurance, paid time off and other benefits typical of a full-time employee. You won’t have to cover these costs directly if you work with a security company, but you can bet they’ll be passed on to you in the form of higher rates.
In addition to the financial costs, hiring a building security guard may involve a host of legal issues. As an employer, you’ve likely considered some of these potential woes: harassment, equal opportunity, compensation agreements and protection of confidential information, to name a few. When you hire security personnel, however, you’re taking on the additional responsibility of other people’s personal safety.
For example, what if a guard you’ve hired assaults a person they wrongfully believed to be an intruder? Depending upon the laws in your jurisdiction, you could be held liable. You may also bear responsibility if a guard is unnecessarily rough with an intruder, or even if their lack of intervention results in another person’s injury. Even if these situations never occur, you’ll need the proper insurance and legal guidance to protect yourself.
Less Cost, More Peace of Mind
Ultimately, your decision to hire a building security guard will come down to a combination of factors. However, building owners should be aware that there are other options — ones that could keep facilities safer and decrease operating costs.
Consider Digital Guard Force, a leading provider of security technology and remote concierge services. With tailor-made solutions that include networked cameras, analytics software and 24/7 remote monitoring, DGF helps customers respond to threats in record time. These security services act as force multipliers, allowing building owners to reduce or even eliminate on-site security staff. All told, the average DGF customer saves between $2,000 and $3,000 per month on security-related costs.
To learn how DGF can improve your building security, contact us today.