The Silvertrac Extra
What Should Be Included in Your Hourly Guard Rate
The most important thing you will ever do as a security guard company owner will be setting a price 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 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.
Start by calculating the average hourly rate you pay your guards. Next, add in the cost of taxes, insurance, training classes, extra equipment, etc. This will show you the average hourly cost of your security team. Once you have this figure calculated, add in the percentage of profit you want to make to determine your rate.
Finally, don't forget to charge a different rate for armed vs. unarmed guard services. Armed guard services should always be charged at a higher rate to take into account the additional costs of the firearms, insurance, and all the ongoing training armed security officers require.
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 distance between them, a Segway, golf cart, truck, or other slightly-used light vehicle should work for most companies. It is crucial to remember how maintenance, & upkeep expenses will bleed into your hourly pricing. When calculating these expenses, 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.
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
Any request that puts your guards in the path of clear & present danger should include an hourly price increase.
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:
- Company provided uniforms
- Radios or Two-Ways
- Mobile Phones / Tablets
If the customer wants your security teams to utilize specialized equipment or custom guard uniforms, be sure to add these into the cost of providing services. Also, if you are employing armed guards, personal protective equipment (PPE) like bulletproof vests and tactical gear is a must to ensure their safety 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.
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.
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.