What is the cost of a security systems technician?

Published Nov 22, 2009 00:00 AM
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Determining the full cost of a security systems technician is an important factor for many groups:

  • For integrators, this is important for profitability planning jobs. 
  • For end users, this helps understand what a fair price is. 
  • For manufacturers, it allows them to estimate what the full cost of using their products are.
In a November 2009 article (on page 8 of this pdf) [link no longer available], David Shelton of US integrator D/A Central [link no longer available], estimates that total fully burden cost of a US security systems technician is about $70 per hour (or $140,000 per year).
In his article, Shelton carefully breaks down the cost into a dozen different segments including costs for support, administration, vehicles, tools, training, carrying inventory, etc. Additionally, he factors in that a significant portion of a technician's time is not billable (Shelton estimates the norm for billable hours to be 65% to 75%).
A few of the major cost drivers could be questioned. For instance, Shelton estimates that a systems technician earns $53,000 per year (based on a PSA survey). By contrast, an SSI 2009 survey [link no longer available] reports an average salary for installation techs to be $45,000. Secondly, Shelton estimates $15,000 in annual costs per technician for a vehicle for each tech. Many integrators have 2 techs per van which would reduce annual costs by $7,500.
Obviously these numbers will vary based on local conditions. We do recommend the comprehensive format Shelton uses for those looking to more precisely estimate integrator costs.