When you're thinking about hiring a security company to protect your premises and your personnel, one of the first questions that will pop up is how much it costs. As the information below will bear out, the cost of hiring any security agency will be dependent on several factors. Once you've considered how all these factors can influence the cost of hiring a security service, you'll be much better prepared to go out and find the right service for your organization.
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What Does a Security Company Offer?
When hiring a security guard, one of your first considerations should be what type of guard you're looking for, and what kinds of service you require. In the general field of security services, there are a great many different types of personnel providing those services, so you need to know beforehand exactly which kind of protection you require for your organization or your event. Security agents are often unidentifiable as security personnel since they usually dress in plain clothes so they can blend in. This security personnel are retained for work at large gatherings, where they can discreetly provide service for all those in attendance without being recognized as security personnel.
They're also often hired by celebrities and other high-profile individuals as bodyguards, or as protectors of the premises.
Patrol officers are security personnel who monitor a given neighborhood or a section of a community. They do this by driving around in a vehicle, which means they never stop at any one place for very long, so they have no physical presence at any given location. They generally patrol their assigned area according to a schedule and are also available for emergency calls.
Private security enterprises usually employ contract security guards, and to avail yourself of their services, you would arrange with the private security firm. This has become a prevalent option for providing security for any facility or event.
In-house security guards are those who have had training in your organization, to carry out security tasks specific to your company. They are paid an annual salary, and your organization specifies their daily routines. Most often, in-house security guards will be found working for larger corporations and companies which can afford to establish their training programs, and pay those annual salaries.
Factors that Influence Security Guard Pricing
How much does a security guard cost? As you might expect, there are many factors which can affect the pricing of any security guard service. If you're talking about a single event like a party where security is required, the cost can be anywhere between $10 and $100 per hour. The higher figures are generally involved when there is a greater security risk at an event, which means security personnel might be expected to use some of their skills to manage the threat.
An unarmed security guard would be paid less than an armed guard, generally in the neighborhood of $12 an hour to $20 per hour. By contrast, an armed guard would probably be paid somewhere around $18 per hour to $25 per hour, if for nothing else, because of the more extensive training they had to go through to handle a weapon competently.
The time of day and the location of premises which are to be protected will also have an impact on the cost of a security service. Logically enough, it will cost more for security at night, when the threat is typically higher for burglary and other crimes. The location will have an impact because there's a greater potential for security risk in an inner-city setting than there would be for a rural area or in suburbia.
Although this is not common, the price for security guard could also be impacted by who you hire, for instance, an off-duty policeman. If you do hire such a person for your security service, you can expect to pay somewhere between $40 an hour and $60 an hour, only by virtue of their more extensive training and security knowledge.
Do You Require Armed or Unarmed Guards?
You might think that it's always best to have armed security guards on the premises because they will provide the highest level of security. However, there's a lot more to it than that, and for that reason, having an armed security guard is not always the best choice. The times when having an armed security guard is highly advantageous include those situations where some precious merchandise must be protected. Some examples might be costly jewelry or artwork, or possibly even a hoard of cash. When you can't afford to lose valuable merchandise, an armed security guard is the best choice.
There are also times where it's much more likely that violence will occur at a given setting, for instance in areas of high crime. These can be at bars or nightclubs which operate late into the evening, or sometimes hospitals where gang fights are often being handled. The rule of thumb for engaging the services of armed guards is that they would be necessary to deter the possibility of crime or violence by their mere presence.
One of the reasons that unarmed guards might be a better choice is when you have occasions that your budget is limited, and you can't afford the more expensive security service. By keeping an armed security presence on your premises, it's also likely that your insurance premiums will go up, and that will add to the cost of your service. You should also be aware that your organization will be liable for any actions committed by security personnel on your behalf.
For example, if an armed security guard were to shoot someone and cause severe injury or possibly even death, it's possible you’d be organizationally liable for that action. If you want to avoid all the potential for increased liability and increased cost, you're better off going with an unarmed security service.
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Hiring In-House Versus Using a Security Vendor
The biggest issue related to any decision about using in-house security personnel or outsourcing to a third party is undoubtedly associated with the cost of each. In most cases, if you do all the calculations related to both services, you'll find that it's considerably cheaper to outsource the function to a security service provider, rather than to hire personnel from within. This is not to say that it's always a better idea to hire an outside agency; it merely points out the fact that it's generally cheaper to do so.
When you consider all the training that will be necessary for in-house security personnel, as well as their annual salary, health benefits, uniforms, and other costs, it's simply more cost-effective to hire an outside agency. When you've decided that some kind of security service is necessary for your premises, the first thing you should do is conduct a risk assessment to see what the actual security threat would be in your area. This will help you to determine whether or not an armed guard service is necessary, or whether you could get by with simple uniformed personnel.
Keep in mind that if any actual security violations or violent crimes were to occur on your premises, you could be held negligent because you failed to conduct a risk assessment, or you were unable to provide adequate security. When a facility is located in a high-risk area, any security provider would be justified in increasing an hourly rate charged to your company.
You should also consider the risks to your personnel if in-house employees provided your security service rather than outside professionals. In-house versus outsourcing can be a tricky question, but for the most part, you're generally better off hiring a third party to provide your security services for you.
Considerations When Using a Security Guard Company
If you've determined that hiring an external company is best for your organization, try to find one which is a small business itself, rather than a huge national security firm. You'll get better service from a small business, and you won't be overlooked as readily as you might with a larger national company. For a small business security firm, you'll also find that security is their only business so that they can focus on that one service and nothing else.
Of course, you'll want any firm you choose to be licensed and insured, so you can expect quality service and one who is authorized by the state you live in. It's also a good idea to check out any candidate company's reputation before you hire them. This is very easy to do nowadays, since you can read online reviews of their service, and you can check out their rating on the Internet. You can even ask them for references, and then call some of those companies to determine how they felt about the security service provided.
Lastly, before you hire any security firm, make sure that they're willing to work with you so that your security needs can be accommodated. This might involve schedule flexibility, holiday requirements, or even short-term versus long-term contracts. Any security company that is worth establishing a long-term relationship with should be willing to demonstrate some flexibility toward your organization.