How Much to Pay a South African Car Guard

If you’re like me, you might find it difficult to keep up with the going rate for a car guard. A few years ago, R2 was generally what I’d pay but nowadays I’m scorned at for giving a measly R5. Of course this value depends on a few factors. Nonetheless, I wanted to try and determine a fair car guard price myself.

  1. Base rate
    Car guarding is a fairly low skill job so the minimum wage should make a good base rate. South Africa’s current minimum wage for a security guard is R16.78 per hour (source). There are different minimum wages for different working sectors, but I feel that car guards should get paid about the same as a security guard and therefore I’ll use that minimum wage. Working as a car guard doesn’t quite provide the same income security as working for a wage, so to compensate for that, I’ll almost double that wage to R30 per hour.

  2. Number of cars guarded
    This is a hard factor to determine and one that can vary greatly. One parking lot I frequent is the Long Beach parking lot in Kommetjie. There’s usually only 1 car guard there who is guarding approximately 30 cars. In more popular areas, such as Long Street, there appears to be 1 car guard for every 10 cars.

  3. Time spent guarding
    This is the time spent away from your car and is another factor subject to variation. If I go watch a movie, it could be 3 hours, maybe 2 hours for a restaurant etc.

These 3 factors will allow you to quite accurately price a car guard service. Vary the latter 2 factors based on the situation, round the numbers and ballpark figures so you can calculate it on the fly.

Example 1: 2 hours at Long Beach:
30x2/30 = R2

Example 2: 4 hours at Long Street:
30x4/10 = R12

The actual mathematical formula to remember is:


Personally I think that’s too much effort so I’ll probably just use R5 if I was gone for about an hour or more and R10 if I was gone for 3 or more hours. It’s fair compared to the minimum wage and still a bit less than paid parking garages.

Remember to update the hourly wage with inflation. Drive safe!