What Is the Cost of a Commercial Security System?

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Effective security is essential to protecting your business investments and keeping your employees and customers safe, but it’s also easy to overspend on equipment you don’t really need. 


If you are looking at upgrading or installing security for your business, you are probably facing some tough choices about how to get the best bang for your security buck. 

Here, we examine some of the factors affecting the cost of a commercial security system for three common types of security solutions: intrusion detection, video surveillance, and access control.


As with any facility-wide deployment, the cost of rolling out intrusion detection capabilities scales directly with the number of square feet you need to be protected. That said, prioritizing the right systems for your facility can make a big difference.


Intrusion detection takes place on two layers:

  • Perimeter detection: As a rule, experts recommend protecting all exterior doors, including walk-in doors, warehouse doors,  and loading docks with suitable detection. It is also recommended that any ground floor or accessible windows be protected as well.
  • Interior detection: Once your perimeter is secure, it’s time to add in additional protection including motion detectors, glass break detectors, and even specific interior doors.


Commercial security providers tend to roll installation and equipment costs for detection intrusion systems into a single price for customers. What will you pay for both? For an entry-level system including two to three doors and a motion detection, you could see prices starting at around $600, with an extra $100-$200 for each additional device.


An intrusion detection system is only as good as its monitoring. According to industry experts, basic off-site monitoring of alarm, motion, and fire safety systems usually starts at around $45 per month. Most companies offer remote control of your intrusion detection system through an app. With the app you can integrate things like:.

  • Lights
  • Locks
  • Video Cameras


Provided intrusion detection and alarm systems are working well, overall maintenance costs for an intrusion detection system should be low.


While prices have come down dramatically to the point where video surveillance systems are now offered through many self-install retail sites, the cost of a dedicated video system is still heavily dependent on:

  • Application: the type and quality of camera equipment you will require
  • Environment: where and how your cameras will be installed


The two major cost factors for video equipment are cameras and recorders. IP cameras and recorders now come in a wide range of formats designed for different applications, including:

  • Fixed lens or Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ)
  • Dome or Bullet style housings
  • Multisensor cameras (multiple cameras in one housing)
  • Fisheye 360 degree cameras

Camera prices vary widely, depending on the lens quality and megapixel count required. Expect to pay anywhere between $500 to $2,000 for security cameras. Multihead cameras can potentially replace several fixed cameras, reducing the overall cost of a commercial security system. 

The more cameras your system includes the more you will need to spend on server / recording equipment. Things to consider when pricing out or building a video server:

  • CPU power to process multiple video streams
  • Hard drive space to store surveillance footage
  • Graphics cards to display video correctly

Depending on how many days or months of footage you will want to store and at what quality, expect to pay anywhere between $3,000 and $25,000 for video server equipment.


Installation costs for video systems can also vary widely. In most cases, an IP camera will require a CAT6 ethernet cable to be returned to the nearest network device or switch. 

Installation in a standard dropped tile ceiling might run at between $300 and $500 per camera, but using a lift to put up cameras in a warehouse could see prices per camera rise to $1,000-$1,500.


Monitored video systems can be very effective. Here are some monitoring options:

  • Self-monitoring by using staff to monitor video walls and monitors
  • Third-party monitoring by a security company that can alert you to events and even talk down through the system as a deterrent
  • Intelligent monitoring using innovative technology such as analytics to make your system smarter and to more efficiently send you alerts

While self-monitoring is generally the most cost-effective solution, it is important to budget for the cost of ongoing training for your staff so they know how to use your equipment properly.


Regular cleaning, refocusing, and adjusting of cameras and ongoing testing are important to the long-term viability of your video security system. You should consider budgeting the cost of a Service Maintenance Agreement (SMA) to keep your system up to date and running like new.


While ideally, you would like access control on every potential access point to your facility, this is not always necessary and can add significantly to the cost of a commercial security system. 

It pays to work with a professional provider to help you implement access control systems that maximize protection and peace of mind while keeping the total cost of ownership reasonable.


Providing access control to an opening requires several things:

  • Electronic locking hardware (ranging from a simple door strike to an integrated panic device)
  • A card reader or keypad
  • Door position indicator and/or Request to Exit devices
  • Either a connection to the network or an access control panel


Hardware and installation costs for access systems can be hard to separate. Many providers subcontract installation of the actual locking equipment to local locksmiths at a cost between $750 and $1,000 per door. 

Adding in cabling and other costs to connect the door to your network could add another $750 to $2,000, taking total costs per door to $2,500 to $3,500.

On Premises or Hosted

You have a choice of whether to have your access control software installed on site or to have it hosted in the cloud. Both options have their advantages, but more and more companies are choosing the hosted option. These types of systems can be easily accessed from anywhere through internet browsers and apps. Corporate IT teams do not have to maintain servers, or deal with database management. The access control software stays up to date and is always up when needed.


Access control systems also come with significant ongoing maintenance costs, including annual software and hosting fees, and physical maintenance of locking equipment. Even the cost of replacing lost cards or fobs can run at $3 -$7 per unit. Again, budgeting for an SMA is smart, in order to keep your system functioning like new.


The cost of a commercial security system mounts up fast when you are looking at rolling out systems across your entire facility. Without a clear idea of the type of protection your facility really requires, you can easily spend too much on equipment and systems you don’t need.

It’s important to keep budget in mind when starting your security design process. It can help to talk to a reputable commercial security provider like Richmond Security. 

We have the skills and knowledge to:

  • Help you identify your critical security needs
  • Make specific security design recommendations
  • Develop a customized security solution for your business

With more than 40 years of experience helping to protect large and small businesses in the Richmond area, we’ve learned that while all the bells and whistles are great, if you focus on your critical requirements first you will always have the best solution for your needs.

We’d love to bring that same philosophy to building an effective, affordable commercial security system for you. Click below to learn more.


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