Hourly wages for security guards run from a minimum floor of $12 to $14, with an average somewhere in the $18 to $22 range. However, highly trained security guards working in potentially hazardous conditions will generally expect significantly higher wages. These can approach $50 per hour (see the national security guard salary breakdown here).
Many factors affect the market rate for security guard services, including experience, risk, training, and the nearby labor market.
First, armed security guards tend to command higher wages than unarmed security guards. Armed security guards are assumed to be taking on higher risk, and they usually have additional training. Employers should be prepared to absorb those extra costs if they need an armed officer.
Training and experience can also increase the cost of hiring a security guard. Businesses seeking guards with a strong track record with lots of happy clients willing to serve as references can expect to pay a premium.
Another factor influencing cost is whether the security guard is also a police officer. Many police officers sell their services while off duty. These officers generally charge higher than the normal hourly rate, but they have much more experience and training as well. However, because police officers generally have excellent benefits from their day jobs, they usually don’t expect benefits from their night jobs.
Finally, guards working in more dangerous circumstances will expect to earn more money. A guard asked to provide security at a store that has been robbed six times in the last year incurs more personal risk, and thus demands a higher salary. Guards can also command higher wages for work during undesirable hours. For example, security guards at night clubs in large cities earn a premium because they’re expected to work through the night.
Businesses and organizations looking to hire security guards for short-term periods or for individual events can keep costs low by contracting with a security firm. However, organizations with longer-term security needs may need to bring on guards as employees. This can substantially raise costs, especially if the guard will be working full time and and accumulating benefits. Furthermore, hiring armed security can have implications for liability insurance rates.
Organizations hiring security guards through a security contractor can expect to pay a relatively low hourly rate. However, those bringing security guards onto their own payrolls will need to add additional costs including payroll taxes and benefits. The precise amount will vary by location and specific needs, but generally ranges from $14 to $30 per hour.
If you are a security guard candidate seeking employment, check out our security guard jobs page.