When it comes to employment as a Bodyguard, the most frequently asked question is “How much can I make?” Well, let me offer you some advice but, please note there are no hard and fast rules. This is based on my 20+ years of EP work and a survey of the current rates from colleagues and EP training instructors. Towards the end of this chapter, you will see a table with specific job skills, detail expectations and pay rates (2004). Also included is a breakdown of information regarding different cities.
The rates associated with bodyguard/executive protection work vary widely, depending upon a myriad of important factors:
* The Economy
* Prior Experience, Skills & Training
* Client Profile (Celebrity vs. Dignitary vs. Corporate)
* Level of Risk/Danger
* Political Climate
* Amount of Travel Required
* Locale & Circumstances of the Detail
* Range of Duties for the Position
First of all, there are no set fees for bodyguard employment. All fees are arranged by negotiating with the client. Obviously, the more skills you have, the more experience, the more training–the more you can earn. A highly trained, extremely seasoned bodyguard with a substantial work history may earn $100,000 per year plus bonuses, but these are often positions with distinct requirements and skill specifications, and the work may be located half-way around the world. It can also mean working in some of the most dangerous regions on the planet.
I know of a one particular bodyguard who is earning six figures. The job locale is the Middle East–Saudi Arabia. This individual speaks fluent Arabic, and has a keen insight into the cultural and religious morals and societal rules of the region. This bodyguard served 8 years in the United States Marine Corps, and so an expert with weapons and highly skilled in martial arts. The ability to speak other languages meant this particular EPS served as an interpreter when the client traveled, a valuable asset that helps to drive a bodyguards rate up. Lastly, this bodyguard was a female. The simple fact is that there are so few females with this skill set. When you add up all this individual’s skills, you can see why she commands a very high paycheck.
A beginner with limited experience and training will most likely make less than $30,000 annually. A mid-range individual with some experience and some training can make $30-70,000 and someone with a great amount of training and experience can potentially make $70-125,000 depending on all the above variables.
For example, Former Secret Service agents acquire some of the finest training in the
world and garner the most extensive on-the-job experience. In the private sector, these
individuals can demand the highest fees. Someone with extensive security experience,
(such as property security or building security, door security) but virtually no personal protection experience will be earning significantly less. That’s just part of “paying dues.”
Contracts are unique; there is no one set type of contract or “form” for this type of work. Contracts are negotiated based on the factors mentioned above, and you always want to have your negotiation IN WRITING. You will want to review the contract carefully (perhaps consulting a professional in the field) to be sure it is what you want and expect. If your contract doesn’t make mention of reimbursements for personal travel expenditures, you may want to negotiate that point. Will the client be paying for the gas, insurance and maintenance on the car you’re using to transport him/her? Do you have vacation time at the holidays? Is there a probationary period? All of these kinds of details need to be examined carefully and negotiated.
Assuming you are new to the field, you may want to take advantage of a detail that provides a valuable opportunity to gain experience working in association with other bodyguards. Sometimes, newer bodyguards are called upon to provide an authoritative presence to act as a deterrent at a large event (red carpet detail, sporting or awards events.) The pay scale for a beginner is going to be significantly lower, but remember, you are building a resume and contacts. As a novice, don’t ever turn down an opportunity to volunteer-you can include these assignments on your resume.
If you possess paramedic skills, you are extremely attractive to individuals seeking bodyguards, and this skill set means you have the potential to reap higher paying assignments, even with limited EPS experience. The high demand for paramedic skills means some companies are even willing to train paramedics in the PSD/EP skills needed to supplement their valuable medical training.
It is important to understand that only 10% of the EP work force are earning the six-figure incomes.
Also, domestically, an individual will earn more in the larger cities (NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston). The rates and opportunities drop significantly outside of the largest metropolitans and in the suburbs. Individuals employed in high-risk zones (the Middle East, Mexico City, any area with political strife or military action) will earn significantly more because of the increased threat of harm to the client and his/her protector.