How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Security Guard?

With so much chaos happening in the world, security is one major concern that needs to be addressed at all times.  But what makes things worse and all the more challenging is the fact that you don’t even know who you are guarding against. Even those who may seem harmless and you would not even imagine swatting a fly could be the most evil person, a predator just waiting for a prey.

One way to reduce the possibility of any untoward incidents is by hiring a guard; a security guard at that.

Security guards can work in different sites ranging from the gates of private subdivisions, office buildings, mall entrances, behind security monitors, tailing or serving as an advanced party for an arriving VIP, and even disguising as customers in shops. They have become very creative lately just to ensure the safety of their employer’s properties and personal safety.

With the order and security always in mind, sometimes, the price can be the least of your concerns. But when it impacts a business financials or a family budget, it may be worth knowing how much the average rate for hiring a security guard is.

Average Cost of Hiring a Security Guard

The national average rate for hiring a security guard is at $20 per hour, but you would typically pay between $15 and $25 for the basic unarmed and armed guard.

The unarmed guard’s rate with some advanced skills and experience typically ranges around $30 to $35, while the armed counterpart can cost $35 to $45 per hour.

The most expensive security guards to hire are those armed, off-duty security officers and former military members who typically charge $60 to $100 or more per hour.

Typical posts that require security guards and their corresponding rate are as follows:

  • Site security guards – $15 to $45 per hour

These are guards who are needed to protect items of the business establishment where they are assigned, typically luxury goods and expensive items like jewelry, designer bags, and accessories. They are also needed to protect the employees and customers of the business establishments.

  • Loss prevention guards – $15 to $20 per hour

These are guards usually assigned to retail stores to prevent shoplifting and even theft by employees.

  • Roving patrol or gate guards – $15–$20 per hour

These guards are usually assigned to gated communities of affluent families. They are responsible for checking the identity and credential of every individual wanting to enter the community as well as to patrol all over the place to secure the area against intruders. They are typically employed 24/7.

  • Bodyguards – $200 and more per day

These types of guards are hired by VIPs like celebrities, politicians, CEOs of big companies, among others. They are required to come along wherever their employers are going to make sure they are secured from some obsessed individuals trying to get near these celebrities or from angry constituents or enemies of politicians.

Meanwhile, the average rate for hiring a security guard per year is $29,915. Please see below the salary ranges of security guards across all states in the US as compiled by

    • Alabama  $25,787 to $28,389
    • Alaska $32,996 to $33,983
    • Arizona  $27,252 to $30,722
    • Arkansas $25,816 to $28,060
    • California $29,765 to $35,808
    • Colorado $27,731 to $30,663
    • Connecticut $32,188 to $34,342
    • Delaware  $31,231 to $32,009
    • District of Columbia $32,996
    • Florida $26,863 to $29,675
    • Georgia $27,013 to $29,466
    • Hawaii $30,992 to $31,201
    • Idaho $25,996 to $29,436
    • Illinois $27,492 to $31,710
    • Indiana $27,103 to $29,735
    • Iowa $24,889 to $28,898
    • Kansas $27,671 to $29,436
    • Kentucky $26,893 to $29,257
    • Louisiana $26,445 to $29,705
    • Maine $27,222 to $30,214
    • Maryland $30,663 to $32,996
    • Massachusetts $30,453 to $34,043
    • Michigan $27,641 to $31,410
    • Minnesota $27,731 to $31,919
    • Mississippi $25,248 to $28,240
    • Missouri $28,987 to $29,436
    • Montana $24,710 to $28,479
    • Nebraska $24,620 to $28,299
    • Nevada $30,094 to $31,171
    • New Hampshire $30,453 to $32,428
    • New Jersey $32,069 to $35,928
    • New Mexico $25,188 to $28,269
    • New York $28,060 to $35,928
    • North Carolina $26,953 to $29,316
    • North Dakota $26,026 to $27,910
    • Ohio $27,312 to $29,825
    • Oklahoma $25,308 to $28,688
    • Oregon $27,731 to $31,410
    • Pennsylvania $27,551 to $33,863
    • Rhode Island $31,620 to $31,740
    • South Carolina $26,834 to $29,346
    • South Dakota $24,231 to $26,325
    • Tennessee $25,876 to $28,269
    • Texas $25,188 to $30,274
    • Utah $27,043 to $30,722
    • Vermont $29,526 to $29,765
    • Virginia $27,432 to $32,996
    • Washington $29,586 to $32,727
    • West Virginia $26,325 to $29,287
    • Wisconsin $26,923 to $29,765
    • Wyoming $26,385 to $27,821

What are Included

The duties and responsibilities as well as the qualities of the guards depend on the requirements of the hiring employer but would typically include the following, depending on the type of post they are assigned, the security guards are expected to be:

  • Responsible for the safety, security, and order in the buildings, malls, grounds, banks, shops, and the likes.
  • Regularly patrol the all areas related to the sites they are assigned to ensure security at all times.
  • At least a high school graduate or its equivalent.
  • Reporting to a supervisor or a manager of security for instructions.
  • Possessing at least an acceptable understanding of the job description
  • Working under close direction of a superior in terms of functions for specific instructions.

Additional Costs

If you have first employed an unarmed guard but later on changed your mind, your guard needs to undergo training and secure a license to carry firearms. These would be passed on or translated to an additional $3 to $5 per hour rate. A gun holster would also be necessary if this is the case.

Other means of debilitating the “bad guys” like a stun gun and pepper spray may also be considered as an added cost.

A means of communication might also be necessary in the performance of work of the guards so you may also consider purchasing a two-way radio.

Of course, you do not have to worry taking care of these additional costs if you hired the guard from an agency as it would provide everything the guard needs to get the job done. All you have to do is pay the agency according to the agreement.

Shopping for Security Guards

When looking to hire a security guard, your first instinct is to look for a security agency right away. But it is important to research first so you would know if you are quoted a fair rate based on your location. The rates per state presented above can be a good guide.

To start with, you can check out to get free quotes from a service provider. Be sure to get several quotations for comparison and so that you can have several options.

Factors Affecting Cost of Hiring a Security Guard

Type of guard requirement – as the hiring party, the type of protection you want to get would be the first and foremost determinant of how much does it cost to hire a security guard. Whether you want your store protected against shoplifters, you want your house safe from intruders, your want a personal protection, and the likes would have varying rates.

Location – as presented above, different states have varying rates due to cost of living factor in that particular area.

Training – the candidate guard’s training certificate earned would also increase their rate as they would have an added skill that would be beneficial to the job at hand.

Experience – the more experience the guard has, the higher salary you have to pay as these experience would be an added advantage in how they handle difficult situations which means you are in good hands.

Armed or Unarmed – your choice of whether to have your guard armed or not would also affect your security guard cost as handling firearms would require additional training and licensing which would be charged to the rate you have to pay.

Important Notes

If you just want someone to oversee things as you sleep peacefully in the comfort of your home or just want someone visible with a handheld radio so that those with bad motives would think twice, an unarmed security guard would suffice to save on paying higher guard salary.

Also, it is important to note that while independent guards may be cheaper compared to those coming from agencies; those provided by the latter may be advantageous in the long run due to the insurance factor plus the added security due to the fact that agencies do thorough background checks and train their guards prior to deployment.

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