$140 Per Hour For Basic Labor In Orange County, CA - Really?

End user member says:

"I'm in Orange County (Calif), and a reputable integrator here will generally charge about $140/hr for basic labor give or take a few dollars."

That sounds crazy high for basic labor. Anyone with direct local experience?


Well the cost of living here is much higher. 350-400k buys you a house in a crime ridden neighborhood. Unless you want trunkslammers with no C7 licenses, 120-140 is the going rate. If you know what you want exactly than you can hire an electrician for a little cheaper.

"350-400k buys you a house in a crime ridden neighborhood"

You can't even get any house in Honolulu for that price but the going rate is not $140 an hour. I believe it's just strange.

Labor rate in DC area is just under 130/hr.

Chicago Service rate at least $100.00 to $120.00 / hr for national integrator or a Union shop.

At ISC East I visited two booths: Outsource and Rightech. They offer W2 as-needed resources at terrific rates for all types of cablers and electricians. Anyone out there ever use them?

I have used staffing services (not these) before. Got about 80 people for a weekend conversion of 40 properties. About 10 percent were even close to being qualified. The other 90 percent just blew up our phones. If you want telecom work they are good. If you want data, they are not bad. If you want security, it will be a long project.

Right! And I'm surprised to hear that the rates are lower in Honolulu and NY.

Our integrator in Sacramento area never itemizes their hourly rate on the quotes, but over time we've backed into the math at about $120/hr. Straight time... not overtime or afterhours.

But that's for an actual technician, some "smarts".

When you say "basic labor" are you talking about cabling, mounting cameras, fishing access control wiring down sheetrock?

If so, then I agree, $120 is outrageous and I'm in the wrong region. That type of labor should be about $70/hr in CA.

The "basic labor" I referenced means that that is the lowest rate they charge. That rate does get you a hardware technician with pretty good capabilities. Some integrators, including the one we presently use, charge more for other services. Our integrator charges a little more than that for software work.

UD-2: BTW, we also have a new office in West Sacramento. After initial installation, we haven't yet had to call for service, but your post will be helpful in gauging the rates we're offered.

If you are an integrator that services OC and have feedback here or think you can do better, feel free to post, I am curious to hear that.

Also, related, there are dozens of integrators with offices in Orange County as our Integrator Finder shows.

Living in Orange County I can say I have never been quoted more than $100 hr for any electrical work or finish carpentry. $90/hr for cable pull recently.

Amateur Tip: Apparently you can get a substantial discount off the hourly rate just by getting all your parts thru the contractor! ;)

What does basic labor mean? cable installation and aiming a camera?
Is that rate door to door, or just for the time on site. Who's paying the fuel, and the two trips if not being strung together with a nearby call.

If a client is having an extremely complex issue, and have exhausted all of their resources over a 3 week period, at a great internal cost, albeit with internal staff members, but they still can't fix it.

Is it worth 1/2 of that internal expense to have someone come and resolve the issue in 30 minutes? Or does the value of that persons skill and experiences suddenly become 1/2 the normal and customary hourly rate?

Andrew, thanks for your post.

"What does basic labor mean? cable installation and aiming a camera?"

It's really anything related to the hardware (vs software) -- full installation, service, and BASIC set-up/programming. Any more complex software work, including troubleshooting, is charged at a higher software rate.

"Is that rate door to door, or just for the time on site."

The specifics vary from vendor to vendor. For this discussion, I'll relate my experience with my current integrator and the previous one:

In both cases it's only time on site. My old integrator charged the regular labor rate for travel to the site -- portal to portal. Often in the hundreds of dollars, depending on where the previous call was. My new integrator charges much less for travel -- a flat $45 truck charge regardless of travel distance/time.

"Who's paying the fuel, and the two trips if not being strung together with a nearby call."

No fuel charges. Old vendor charged labor for travel for both trips. New vendor only a truck charge for the first trip.

"Is it worth 1/2 of that internal expense to have someone come and resolve the issue in 30 minutes? Or does the value of that persons skill and experiences suddenly become 1/2 the normal and customary hourly rate?"

That's a good question. In our case, we no longer perform work internally, so we pretty much call for service in each case in which we need it.

Amazon wants $145 per camera in OC.

That's before Black Friday deals are even figured in.

This is down quite a bit from 6 months earlier.

8 camera job, 8 hour day, easy money, no?

Dropping again from $145 a camera on Black Friday to $89 on White Friday!

Plus a $30 Gift Card. Folks, just give it to your hard-working, trunk-slamming installer, ok?

California is a Prevailing Wage State with a project threshold amount of $1000 (applies to Gov work only). The wage rates could give you a basis for determining what the integrator pays his staff, but not for what they bill you since the figures do not include profit and overhead... but its a place to start (here is a link ). You will find no "integrator-related" rates listed, but there is probably an "official" way to make that determination. I would also be interested in what the integrators have to say regarding what percentages should be added to these rates to end up with the price-to-customer cost.

You may also want to think about getting a "Schedule of Rates" rather than one rate. There is a marked difference between the cost of a network tec v a cable puller.

John H. Have you ever thought about doing a study of labor rates? I have looked at RS Means published rate books and many state's prevailing wage sites and I can't seem to find one that deals specifically with integrator positions. You could be that go-to site for this kind of info. Integrators could use it for comparing the cost they (or their competition) pays; technical staff could use it to determine employment opportunities; and, A & E types can use it to ensure the budget for security is more accurate.

$60~$75 per hour if you are looking for a tech that pull cable, but can't do much else in Southern CA area (LA & OC)

If you are looking for someone who understands networking, hardware & software & pull cable, then you will be looking at $125~$175 depends on the job size. This person usually acts as an general contractor or has their own staffs to do the job.