How much money we tip car guards in SA: poll

A recent BusinessTech poll found that most South African motorists tip car guards R5 for keeping watch over their vehicles – but at least one in every five bite their thumb at the prospect of giving them anything at all.

Car guards form part of a uniquely South African industry that was only formalised in 2009, though still operates on a largely informal basis.

A sign of high rates of unemployment, it is almost impossible to park your car in a public area and not be welcomed by someone – either in a luminous vest or formal security attire – who is willing to keep an eye on your vehicle.

According to the poll results, 40% of South Africans are willing to pay car guards R5 for their services, while 32% deem R2 to be enough. Only a small percentage, 6%, go over and above R10.

Car guards who work for formal companies or agencies are covered under the private security industry, and as such are entitled to a minimum wage of between R2,933 and R3,534 a month, depending on the area they work in.

A 2015 survey found that, in Pretoria, 37% of car guards interviewed indicated they earned between R51 and R100 a day, and 34% said they earned between R101 and R150 a day.

However, these wages are diminished when one considers the costs involved to do the job – including the “bay fee” (up to R50 a day)  guards often have to pay just to earn anything at all.

Guards working through agencies are also required to hire uniforms daily (up to R30 a day), and also pay a “bay fee” to be placed in certain locations – meaning, no matter what, car guards pay to work.

Car guards not working through an agency often pay these fees or part thereof directly to shopping mall management.

After taking these costs into account, even guards earning “high” amounts per month (R4,500), could potentially be thrown below minimum wage.

[Main image: Car Guard by Makiwa]

Read: How much money car guards and private security officers earn in South Africa

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How much money we tip car guards in SA: poll