The Silvertrac Extra: A Blog & Podcast for the Security Guard Industry

What Should Be Included in Your Hourly Guard Rate

Dec 12, 2016 9:00:00 AM / by Chris Anderson

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The most important thing you will ever do will be to set 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 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 into your pricing strategy.

Personnel Expenses

Start by calculating the average hourly rate you pay your guards. Next, add in the cost of taxes, insurance, training, 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/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 training armed security requires.

Patrol Expenses

If a client has a vast expanse of property to patrol, this can require the purchase of a Segway, golf cart, truck, or other light vehicle. It is crucial to factor the considerable expense of these purchases represent into your hourly pricing. When calculating these expenses, be sure to include the purchase price, maintenance costs, insurance costs, hourly operating costs, and equipment depreciation into the equation. This will show you the approximate hourly cost of providing a vehicle(s) for the client's needs.

"Hazard Pay"

Some locations are more dangerous to protect than others. These include bad neighborhoods, businesses with high-risk inventory such as guns or chemicals, businesses with a history of break-ins, high-profile client with enemies, etc. Any request that puts your guards in the path of clear and present danger should include an hourly price increase.

Equipment Costs

Determine the cost of outfitting your security guards with the equipment they need to do the job. This includes uniforms, radios, cell phones, flashlights, etc. If the customer wants your security teams to utilize specialized equipment or custom uniforms, be sure to add these into the cost of providing services. Also, don't forget to factor in the costs of equipment installation and maintenance including security cameras and other protective features that you recommend the client install.

Administrative Costs

Your guards earn their money by protecting property and lives. Your administrative team makes sure that sites and events are properly staffed with the necessary personnel. Be sure to factor in 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, equipment, 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 should be rewarded if you are protecting a client's property and demonstrate a clear record of keeping it safe where others have failed. Your pricing should include a proviso for a performance bonus when you keep things locked down tight.  

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Chris Anderson

Written by 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 our clients everyday to help them grow their businesses and really enjoy what they are doing.

Chris currently lives and works in Seal Beach, CA.

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