What Should Be Included in Your Hourly Guard Rate?

Security Service Rates

The most important thing you will ever do as a security guard company owner will be setting the rates for your services. If your prices are too low, you will drive yourself right out of business. If they are too high, the competition will slice away at your business with a much lower rate. Knowing how much to charge for your security services starts by knowing your operating costs and using those as a baseline for building your rates upon.

To that end, the following are some of the costs you will want to build directly into your pricing strategy while protecting your bottom line.

Personnel Expenses

Start by calculating the average hourly rate you pay your guards. Next, add in the cost of taxes, insurance, training classes, guard equipment, etc. This will show you the average hourly cost of your security team.

Keep in mind that all of these numbers will change depending on the type of service you are providing. Security guard service rates vary widely.

For example, armed guard services should always be charged at a higher rate to take into account the additional costs of firearms, insurance, and all the ongoing training armed security officers require. Personal security should also be charged at a higher rate because you will likely be paying the guard more for a higher level of attention.

Once you have the security guard cost and all of the other additional costs calculated for the specific service, add in the percentage of profit you want to make to determine your security guard service rates and maximize your margins.

Patrol Expenses

If a client has a vast expanse of properties to patrol, this can require the purchase of a mobile patrol vehicle. Depending on the size of the property, or the distance between them, a Segway, golf cart, truck, or another slightly-used light vehicle should work for most companies. When it comes to mobile patrols, it is crucial to remember that maintenance, & upkeep expenses are all things that bleed into your hourly pricing.

So how much do security patrol services cost? When calculating the cost of a mobile patrol, be sure to include the purchase price, maintenance costs, insurance costs, hourly operating costs, and vehicle equipment depreciation into the equation. This will show you the approximate hourly cost of providing a vehicle(s) for the client's needs.


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Mobile Patrol Calculator Tool

Hazard Pay

Some locations are more dangerous to protect than others.

These could include:

  • Bad neighborhoods
  • Businesses with high-risk inventory (such as guns, money, or chemicals)
  • Businesses with a history of break-ins
  • High-profile clients with enemies (for personal security)

Any request that puts your guards in the path of clear & present danger should increase your security guard service rates.

Equipment Costs

Determine the cost of outfitting your guards with the proper security equipment they need to do the job. At the minimum, most unarmed security officer jobs will still require:

If the customer wants your security teams to utilize specialized equipment or custom guard uniforms, be sure to add these to the cost of providing services. Also, personal protective equipment (PPE) like bulletproof vests and tactical gear is a must to ensure that any armed guards are kept safe on the job.

Also, don't forget to factor in the costs of equipment installation and maintenance, including security surveillance cameras and other protective features that you recommend the client install.

Administrative Costs

Your guards earn their money by protecting people, property & lives. Your administrative team is there to make sure that sites and events are properly staffed with the necessary personnel.

Be sure to factor in all your administrative expenses when calculating your hourly guard rate. Your administrative costs must include all costs related to running the office including rent, insurance, utilities, gear, etc. Once you have this figure, break it down to an hourly cost to determine how much you should add to your hourly guard rate.

Performance Bonuses

You & your team should be rewarded if you are protecting a client's property and demonstrate a clear record of keeping it safe where others have failed. Including a proviso for a performance bonus when you keep things locked down tight is a great way to challenge your team to do the best job possible.

Using the data from your guard management software is an easy way to show clients your true value and even increase your bill rates.


When it comes to setting your security guard service rates, it’s important to keep all of the costs that you take on as a business. By working those costs into your rates and then establishing a healthy profit margin, your security business will be on its way to success in no time.



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Chris Anderson

Chris is the founder of Silvertrac Software and has been working in the security industry for more than 25 years. He enjoys working with clients daily to help them grow their businesses and really enjoy what they are doing. Chris currently lives and works in Seal Beach, CA.