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How much does security cost in 2024?

The average cost of hiring security is
$35 - $50 per hour

depending on the type of security you're looking for.

Looking to hire security for your building or as personal protection? Read our handy guide to private security costs in 2024 to find out how much your security guard will charge.

In an unpredictable world where safety is not a given, the question of personal or business security is a paramount concern for many people. A security guard is someone who is employed to protect property or a person. Security offers reassurance to the public as well as preventing theft or criminal activity. They can also enforce crowd control at events, or work as door staff at establishments where alcohol is served. 

As the demand for private security grows, understanding the costs associated with this protection becomes more critical to choosing the right option. Whether you're a business owner looking to secure your assets or an individual wishing to enhance personal safety, this detailed guide will shed light on the landscape of private security costs in the United States in 2024.

Average Price of Private Security in the US

male security guard

The Average price of hiring private security in the US fluctuates significantly, primarily falling within the bracket of $35 to $50 per hour. This average encompasses a wide range of services, from unarmed guards to those using complex surveillance systems.

Private security firms tend to offer a variety of packages, but the base cost for most falls within this competitive range. This pricing includes not just the labor cost for guards but also administrative overhead, insurance, and the profitability margin for the security firm.

Average cost (per hour) $35
Minimum cost (per hour) $20
Maximum cost (per hour) $50

Hourly Rates for Security Guards

Hourly rates for security guards form the bulk of the private security costs. For a standard unarmed security guard, the hourly rate can begin at $10 but quickly ramps up to the $25-$35 range for more specialized assignments. Armed security guards demand higher hourly rates, with averages starting at $15 and going up to $50, reflecting the associated increased liability and training required.

It's crucial to consider the scale of the security operation. Larger events or properties may require a team of guards, and this will multiply the hourly rate accordingly. When you're looking to contract a private security service, understanding this tiered pricing will help in creating a realistic budget.

Daily Rates for Security Guards

The daily rates for security guards come into play when long-term contracts or daylong events are concerned. These rates often present a slightly better deal than their hourly counterpart, with the daily fee reducing the hourly rate. This is particularly advantageous for clients who require round-the-clock security coverage for more than just a few days.

Daily rates are significant in event management, where 24-hour presence can be required over several days. For such operations, daily rates start from $350, increasing based on the qualifications and numbers of guards employed.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Security

Understanding the factors that influence private security costs is paramount in delivering an accurate estimate. Key determinants include the level of experience and training of the security personnel, the implementation of technology like surveillance equipment, the type of property being secured, and the location of the operation.


LocationAverage security cost p/hour
New York$32

Geography plays a significant role in the cost of private security. For instance, the cost of security services in New York City or Los Angeles may be double that of smaller, less populated areas. High-crime areas warrant more expensive, robust security solutions, whereas rural areas tend to be on the lower end of the cost spectrum.

Experience and Training

Highly trained or ex-military security personnel command higher wages. Their expertise is particularly valuable for high-risk operations, and this is reflected in their hourly rates. Conversely, less specialized roles require a lower cost, making unarmed guards a more affordable option.

Type of Property

The nature of the property being guarded influences the level of security required, and therefore, the cost. A retail store might opt for a single manned guard during nighttime, but a large corporate office may necessitate a team of contracted security, or even consider permanent placement of guards.

Technology Utilization and Extras

Incorporating advanced security technology, such as CCTV systems, alarms, and access control, adds to the total cost. These systems often require an upfront investment but can be incredibly cost-effective over the long term.

Specific Types of Security and Their Prices

female security guard

Specific types of security come with their own price tags. Event security, executive security, residential security, and retail security all have their unique requirements and consequently, different costs associated with each.

Type of securityHighest average price Lowest average price
Event security$35$20

Event Security

Event security typically runs higher than other forms of private security. Costs are influenced by the type and size of the event, with rates increasing for more prominent, higher-profile gatherings that require a more substantial security presence.

Executive Protection

For high-profile individuals or corporate dignitaries, the cost of executive protection is steep. Rates can soar past the $150 per hour mark, with personal and specialized security details occurring additional to standard guards.

Residential Security

Protecting a home implies different tactics and therefore different costs. Residential security can range from $15 to $40 per hour, depending on whether it is an estate with expansive grounds or a simple home with basic requirements.

Retail Security

For retail businesses, the focus is often on prevention and surveillance. Retail security averages at around $20 to $30 per hour, with a strong emphasis on loss prevention and customer safety.

How to Save Money on Hiring Security

Security guard

Budget constraints are not uncommon, and finding ways to save on private security can help businesses and individuals manage costs. There are several strategies to cut back on expenses without compromising on safety.

Evaluate the Necessity

An initial security audit can be eye-opening. Understanding the actual level of threat can help in scaling security measures appropriately, potentially leading to cost reductions by eliminating unnecessary expenses.

Optimize Guard Placement

Ensuring the most strategic placement and rotation of guards can maximize their effectiveness and minimize the required number of personnel, ultimately reducing costs while maintaining a strong security posture.

Consider Technology Investments

Though the initial investment can be hefty, utilizing surveillance technology can greatly reduce the need for additional security personnel over time, providing a balance between effective security and cost efficiency.

Choosing a Security Service Based on Your Budget

When it comes to selecting a private security service that aligns with your financial limits, it's essential to conduct thorough research. Get quotes from different firms, and analyze their service packages in detail.

Consider each service provider's reputation, experience, and the level of service offered. Sometimes, a slightly higher cost for a more reputable firm can lead to a better return on investment in the form of better protection and customer service.

It's also vital to communicate clearly with the security firm about your needs and budget. They may be able to tailor a package or work within your financial constraints to provide the best possible security solution.

Ready to hire security?

The cost of private security in 2024 in the US is variable and can feel complex, but with careful planning and assistance from the right security service provider, you can ensure the safety and protection you desire at a cost that makes sense for your personal or business budget.

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