Ballpark Estimate: $200 to over $900 per day plus expenses.
You may think that hiring a bodyguard is a privilege restricted for the very rich and very famous. But in fact, today a variety of people of different means and backgrounds are contracting with such trained professionals to receive personal protection from a wide range of potential dangers.
The Need That Exists
With the tumultuous state of the nation that exists currently, there are many new challenges and threats facing people in all sorts of situations. Whether you hold a leading role in a well-known company, are an elected official, are involved in a highly-controversial legal case, have knowledge of very classified information, or have personal concerns about terrorism or kidnapping, there is a possibility that you could be at risk and would benefit from hiring personal protection for you and/or your family.
What’s in the Name
The title “bodyguard” is commonly used in books, on television and in movies. But there are a host of other names that are sometimes used to refer to the same position, such as “executive protection,” “personal security” and “security specialist.” Whatever you call it, though, the role is generally the same: the person is trained to do whatever it takes to keep you and your family safe.
There are different types of bodyguard arrangements you can secure, depending on your needs and your situation. Some people want just a single bodyguard for a few hours to escort them to a special event or occasion, while others may need a team of trained security people to live with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, some executives, elected officials and celebrities or other people who are in the limelight may be in need of temporary protection when they have the need to travel outside of the United States. Finally, some bodyguards provide protection for a variety of patrons (rather than for an individual) at high-end locations, such as at prestigious restaurants, hotels and casinos.
What to Look For
Many body guards are former military members, law enforcement officers or private investigators, and most are trained in armed combat so they are ready to react to any threat that may arise. Keep in mind that a bodyguard doesn’t have to be big and muscular, but rather has to be an intelligent, highly-trained individual who is able to offer you protection on a variety of levels, including being able to foresee potential threats and heading them off effectively. In addition, some bodyguards carry a weapon (or weapons) at all times. Finally, you can hire a bodyguard who wears plain clothing and blends in with your crowd, or you can opt to have one wear a uniform in the hopes of scaring off potential predators.
You can contract with an individual bodyguard who works alone, or you may want to go with an established security company that has all of the resources you need to help you avoid danger. Just remember to do a background check on whomever you select. Also keep in mind that when you are hiring someone to file your paperwork or greet customers in a company’s waiting area, there is usually time to train them with your processes and let them get up to speed. When it comes to hiring a bodyguard, however, there is no room for error. In fact, a bodyguard who is not on the ball 100 percent can cost you your life in the end, so it is important to insist on hiring the very best, regardless of what it may cost.
Shopping Around to Select the Right Fit
When it comes to selecting a bodyguard or a personal protection agency, there are several factors that can help you to choose the right fit. First, you will want to make sure the individual or company you are considering is properly licensed to perform services in your state. You will also want to find out what training and background the person or people bring to the role. In addition, you will need to know the weapons available and should ensure these are legally registered. You may also ask what other resources are available to supplement the personal protection. Tools that do GPS tracking and video monitoring can help aid in keeping you safe. Finally, you will want to check references to make sure former clients were satisfied with the service provided. Since hiring a bodyguard can be a very private experience, this may require some discrete inquiries to get the validation you seek.
How to Find a Bodyguard
If you want to hire a bodyguard, there are a number of avenues you can take to find the options in your area. You may want to start with looking online on your state’s website to find out what regulations governing this position are in place. It helps to know that different states may have different legal names for this position, so also check for personal protection officer and other variations until you find the information you seek.
You may be able to link to licensed individuals and companies directly through your state’s homepage. Or, do a search online, look in the yellow pages. You can also ask for recommendations from colleagues, family members and friends who may also use personal protection officers to help keep them safe.
It is worth noting that while finding someone whose services are properly licensed is important, that alone is not enough since some licenses don’t require extensive training or regulation. So beyond checking license status, you will also want to probe more deeply to find out what background a potential bodyguard will bring to your job and make sure you feel confident that you have the right man (or woman) for the job.
What It Costs
What you can expect to spend on a bodyguard varies a great deal depending on the level of personal protection you require. The region in which you live also can greatly affect the price. For instance, bodyguards in New York City or Washington, DC, can charge a much higher rate than one who works in a suburb somewhere in the Midwest. In addition, there is variation even between large cities. A recent study of bodyguards in different parts of the country revealed that bodyguards in New York make an average of $65 an hour (or $650 for a 10-hour day), while counterparts in Los Angeles command only $20 an hour (or $200 for a 10-hour day). If you hire these bodyguards through a well-respected agency, the rates may be even higher than this.
Further, the level of threat that exists will greatly affect what you can expect to pay. High profile clients such as celebrities and politicians who need round-the-clock protection from a variety of threats will need to spend more to ensure their safety than someone who just needs some low-level protection for a few days or weeks.
Some bodyguards charge by the hour for shorter-term jobs, while others charge by the day. In addition, some longer contracts may be arranged at a set rate for a specific amount of time. One expert cites that the price goes up to $900 a day if the position requires travel outside of the country. In addition to this rate, such protection specialists typically charge for expenses as well, which can include such items as hotel rooms, airfare, car, equipment and food. To put this into perspective, consider the fact that one high-powered executive recounts spending $70,000 a year (which comes out to just under $200 a day for 365 days) for his personal protection.
So the price can vary from about $200 a day to receive protection from low-risk threats, on up to $900 a day or even much higher for increased protection outside of the U.S. or for people at very high risk, plus expenses.
A Canine Alternative
If you don’t need a full-time bodyguard but do need some increased security in your life, you might want to look into purchasing a special protection dog. These highly-trained dogs can keep you safe 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The price starts at about $5,000 and can go up to $20,000 or more for a dog that has undergone rigorous training to respond to threats and ensure your safety in any situation.