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Why Security Costs More (and What You Can Do About It)

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    If you need to revise your security budget, there are savings to be found in labor, remote cameras, and outsourcing.


    How to counteract the rising cost of security services

    Running a business gets more expensive every day. Whether it’s ongoing staffing shortages and supply chain interruptions or a general climate of economic uncertainty, it has become increasingly challenging for companies to afford services that they used to take for granted, including security. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for small business owners to protect their assets and property.

    Luckily, there are ways to bring down the cost of security services and we’ll walk you through them here. But first, it’s worth exploring the reasons why security costs have increased in recent years.

    Five reasons why you’re paying more for security

    There are many reasons why security is more expensive than it used to be, but we’ve boiled them down to five major issues.

    • Fewer workers. The pandemic brought with it a significant labor shortage that many industries still struggle to overcome. Security is no exception, with guards and technical personnel in high demand. And with high demand comes higher compensation.
    • Higher pay. This year more than 20 states are expected to boost their minimum wage. Since many in the security industry make minimum wage, this has the potential to directly impact labor costs. If you’re in a smaller market that has lower income levels generally, these increases can hit hard.
    • Less competition. The security guard industry in particular has seen a significant consolidation in recent years, with the top five companies getting bigger and controlling nearly 40% of the market. Less competition usually means higher prices.
    • Belief that crime has increased. A Gallup poll from October of 2022 showed that more than three-quarters of Americans believe that there is more crime now than in the previous year, the highest it’s been since 1993. Fifty-six percent say that crime has increased in their community, up five points from last year. Security firms see this perceived greater need and charge more for their services.
    • More armed guards. Since more people think crime is on the rise, armed guards are in higher demand. And they’re expensive, both because of their level of experience (many are off-duty police officers) and the increased liability and insurance costs that come with them.

    Now that we know why costs have gone up, what can you do about it?

    Cut labor costs

    Security personnel, such as guards, are a proactive crime prevention tool that has many benefits. They see and react to suspicious activity in an instant, warding off thieves and vandals before they cause too much damage. Their very presence may even deter criminal activity in the first place. But if you have a large property, you’ll need more than one and their wages and benefits can add up quickly, particularly if they’re armed.

    Even though labor cost increases show signs of slowing, it’s still an expensive proposition to hire on-site guards. In the past two years, these costs have risen at over double the average rate since 2005. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has data that shows these costs going up at 4.28% in February 2021 from the previous year. These are historically high levels, even with some slowdown from the high of 5.52% in November 2020.

    If you need to cut your security budget, it’s easy to see labor costs as the place to start. Replacing guards with a less-expensive alternative that’s just as effective could save you a significant amount of money. 

    Consider live remote monitoring services

    One way to eliminate or reduce the number of on-site security personnel is to rely more heavily on high-quality cameras. But cameras alone won’t get the job done. Unmonitored camera footage adds value to your security only after someone has committed a crime, and then only if the criminal hasn’t tried to conceal their appearance. And this is assuming that someone thinks to check the footage at all.

    Live remote-monitored cameras, on the other hand, are essential tools for keeping costs down while still keeping your property safe. With HD cameras monitored by qualified professionals, you’re far more likely to avoid trouble than with on-site security guards, who can’t be everywhere at once. Your security team can monitor suspicious situations and intervene before they turn into incidents.

    Cameras equipped with two-way speakers can allow an agent to speak directly to criminals and strongly encourage them to leave or face arrest and prosecution. These deterrents also save money that would have been lost in a break-in.

    Outsource your video surveillance

    When you install a video surveillance system, there are a couple of ways to do it – purchase and set up the cameras and monitors yourself or hire an industry expert to do it. There are pros and cons to each, but you can gain flexibility and save money if you outsource the work. Here are some of the ways you can save.

    • Buying equipment. The first thing you’ll need to do is determine which type of camera will work best for your business. But which models are the best? How many will you need? You may also want to look at features such as tag recognition or night vision, which provide extra protection but also come at an increased cost. Are they really worth the money? A security expert can determine exactly what you need and help you avoid the trouble and expense of buying the wrong thing.
    • Installation and maintenance. Now that you have the cameras, where do you put them? Sure, you can make these decisions and install them yourself, but if you haven’t done it before, you leave yourself open to a lot of trial and error. A professional can determine the best placement to cover your entire property, saving you potential losses from thieves sneaking past poorly-installed cameras. HD cameras also require a lot of regular maintenance – including lens cleaning, software updates, recalibrations, and general repairs – that are usually better off being handled by experts.
    • Hiring personnel. You obviously can’t constantly monitor your property 24/7, so a remote security team is the best way to make sure you’re covered. And it only costs about as much as one full-time employee. That’s a reasonable price to pay for a whole team of experts.

    As you research security solutions, you may be able to find even greater savings, as many security firms purchase equipment as part of their fee, often at a lower cost than you could buy it yourself. They will also know if adjustments can be made if a setup isn’t ideal, rather than leaving you to flounder and potentially waste resources on new equipment that you don’t need.

    Start saving today

    If security is a must-have for your business, there’s no reason to go it alone. With experts by your side, guiding you every step of the way, you can protect your valuable assets and still save money in the long run. At Mobile Video Guard, we offer monitored video surveillance services that can help keep costs down. Our custom solutions will meet you exactly where you are, no matter the size of your business. Contact us today for a free quote.


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