How Much Does an Access Control System Cost in 2024?

Author: Ingrid

Mar. 07, 2024

Consumer Electronics

As a business owner or security professional, finding the right access control system is important. You want to protect your assets, employees and customers. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start – especially when it comes to access control system cost.  

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, in this article, we’ll explore the factors that influence the cost of access control and provide a better understanding of what fees to expect. From your initial investment to ongoing maintenance, we’ll break down the costs associated with installing a new electronic access control system and help you make an informed decision about the best system for your needs and budget. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s begin.  

In this article, we’ll discuss: 

  • Access Control System Cost 
  • What Types of Access Control Systems Are There? 
  • Hidden Costs of Access Control Features 
  • Choosing a Credential Type 
  • Integrations: Video Surveillance and More 
  • Other Costs of Access Control Systems 

Access Control System Cost: Don’t Believe Your Eyes! 

There’s a lot of poorly vetted information on the internet when it comes to access control pricing. Unfortunately, most information won’t help you get a much clearer idea of the true price. In fact, Googling “average cost of an access control system” often yields results ranging from $500 to $3,500 per door.  

Confused by the price range? So are we.  

Most, if not all, access control companies will avoid publishing their prices online in order to remain competitive in the marketplace. However, some well-known access control providers will write broadly about pricing, like this:  

Door Reader and Hardware $600-$1,200 per door Installation w/o locks $1,200-$2,500 per door Basic door license  $600 per year, per door 

Again, this information isn’t worth its weight (i.e., nothing). Why? Many additional factors come into play when pricing out a new system. Some of these factors include: 

  • Software features  
  • API integration fees 
  • Credential fees 
  • System maintenance and upkeep 
  • Installation 
  • Number of Users 

We’ll elaborate on each of these points in this article, but the bottom line is: When you see an exact dollar figure online for an access control system, be wary.  

What Types of Access Control Systems Are There? 

Access Control – Cloud vs. On-premises 

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is which type of access control system. Electronic access control comes in two forms: on-premises and cloud-based. These are the basic access control systems. On-premises access control requires servers to be housed on site, whereas cloud-based systems are managed off site by a third party. 

When it comes to cost, on-premises systems come with an added price tag. Regular maintenance is necessary, as are manual updates and integrations. Conversely, since cloud-based access control systems are managed off site, the user is not responsible for managing the upkeep of the servers. This can help teams automate their processes and concentrate on more important tasks.  

Additionally, cloud-based access control offers a remote option, allowing teams remote access to their systems. In many cases, cloud-based access control can end up being a more affordable and robust option, without the continual costs of an on-prem system. 

Common Types of Access Control Systems 

After deciding whether to select an on-premises or cloud-based solution, you will have to choose the appropriate credential form. Credentials interact with hardware, like door proximity readers, to authenticate preprogrammed access permissions. In other words, credentials hold the information that lets you through the door to your office. 

 A wide range of choices exist when it comes to credentials for physical access control. Types of access control credentials, include:  

  • Mobile Access Control 
  • Employee Badge in Apple Wallet 
  • Key cards or Key Fobs 
  • Keypad Access Control 
  • Biometric Access Control 

These access control types are discussed in greater detail, below.  
 

  • Mobile access: Mobile access control systems use smartphones, smart devices and tablets as people’s keys. Due to its convenience, mobile access control is gaining popularity among enterprises, commercial real estate and schools. These are slowly replacing card access control systems. 
  • Employee Badge in Apple Wallet: iPhone and Apple Watch users can store digital copies of their employee badge, credit cards, driver’s license and more in Apple Wallet. While Genea offers an integration with Employee Badge in Apple Wallet, many cloud-based access control companies do not. Employee Badge in Apple Wallet offers a secure and convenient way to distribute user credentials. To learn more about how organizations are finding this integration useful, read our Jamf case study.
  • Key cards/key fobs: Key cards and key fob access control systems are most widely used. You can find these in enterprises, hospitals, schools and more. Key card access control systems use swipe or proximity cards to authenticate access. They offer enhanced security and flexibility over traditional keys. 
  • Keypads: A keypad access control system is a security solution that requires users to enter a unique code on a keypad to gain access to a restricted area. These are integrated with access control software to regulate door access control systems. Keypads and smart locks are beneficial because they negate the need for employees or tenants to carry physical keys.  
  • Biometrics: Biometric access control uses unique physical traits of an individual for identification. For example, fingerprints, facial recognition and iris scans are used to grant access to a restricted area or device. This type of system is designed to prevent unauthorized access by ensuring that only authorized individuals with verified biometric credentials can gain entry. Biometric access control is widely used in high-security areas such as government buildings, financial institutions, and research facilities, as well as in everyday applications such as unlocking smartphones and laptops. 
     

Some providers offer compatibility with more than one form of access control. Genea Security gives IT and security teams the ability to choose mobile, Apple Watch, key card or key fob access control.  

Additionally, those looking for two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor authentication can boost their security by using different forms. For example, a government agency might use key cards and a biometric fingerprint to prevent unauthorized access. 

When it comes to selecting the right credential type, pricing should also be considered. Certain providers will charge per user, others will not.  

Hidden Costs of Access Control Software Features 

Software features vary tremendously when it comes to physical access control. However, some of the basic requirements should include automated reporting and provisioning, intuitive dashboards and equipment status alerts. Without these features, you’re sure to encounter problems in the long run. Make sure to thoroughly compare what you’re getting and, if possible, ask for a comparative breakdown of the features offered. 

  • Automated Reporting: Automated reporting offers insight into user activity, system usage and security incidents. Reports can be customized to provide a summary of the data needed, and they can be scheduled to run automatically on a regular basis. These reports provide valuable data to help identify areas for improvement, identify security vulnerabilities, and demonstrate compliance with regulatory standards. 
  • Intuitive Dashboards: The software dashboard should provide a user-friendly interface for managing access control. Administrators can view and control access levels for each user, assign access credentials and monitor activity in real-time. The dashboard should be customizable, allowing administrators to tailor it to their needs and preferences. 
  • Equipment Status Alerts: Equipment status alerts refer to real-time notifications and alerts that indicate the operational status of access control equipment. This information can include equipment malfunction, maintenance, firmware updates and other critical information that may impact the security of a building or facility. By receiving these updates in real-time, security personnel can quickly identify and address any issues to ensure the access control system remains functional and secure. 

Again, access control software features vary by provider. Some providers offer features as add-ons, which increase the price of an access control installation. To see Genea’s robust set of access control features, click here.  

Integrations: Video Surveillance, Visitor Management and More 

Access control system costs also depend on the API integrations required by your organization. Different types of security systems require different integrations. For example, when working with a video management or video surveillance system, you may need to integrate with camera security. Some providers offer these integrations for free, others charge per integration, per camera. Integrations can range from parking management (e.g., Flash Parking) or video surveillance (e.g., Meraki, Rhombus Systems, Milestone).  

Other security solutions include integrations with: 

  • Visitor management– Visitor management is the practice of greeting and directing guests. Visitor management systems (VMS) streamline the day-to-day workflow at your business, while also giving guests the attention they require for a productive visit. Effective visitor management practices lighten the workload for administrative employees and increase the overall security of your building. They also present a picture of professionalism for stakeholders, clients and prospective customers. 
  • Identity management– These programs automate the access control process. Software tools like Azure AD and Okta allow IT and security teams to automatically provision employees. When an employee is added or removed from the identity management system, the provisions are automatically adjusted in Access Control.  

Integrating your access control with your broader security solutions helps to mitigate potential security risks. Additionally, when integrated with commercial grade magnetic locks and proximity cards, access control systems will deter motivated intruders.   

Other Costs of Access Control Systems 

While the total cost for an access control system varies, there are some objective factors you can weigh in developing an estimate for your business. If you are unsure of exactly what you might need in the way of access control, take a look at the cost factors, below:   

  • Number of users and locations (employees/tenants/buildings): It goes without saying, larger operations will spend more on access control. However, access control systems for a large number of people are more affordable per person than for small businesses.  
     
  • Number of access points: Because each single door controller in your building requires its own keyless entry system, the number of doors will greatly impact your expenditures. 
     
  • Monthly service fees (licensing fees): As cloud-based access control is offered by SaaS providers, you should budget monthly or annual fees for use of the system.  
     
  • Installation: Most cloud-based access control companies include installation in the overall cost of the system. Always be sure to ask about installation costs.  

Smart, Cloud-Based Access Control with Genea 

When compared to on-premise access control, cloud-based systems will save you thousands of dollars each year. Not only can you avoid building an expensive IT infrastructure, but you also don’t have to hire expensive IT teams to manage on-premises, outdated systems.  

Whether your providing security for a small business or global enterprise, Genea can help you save time and money.  

Contact a Genea representative to learn more about our cloud-based, non-proprietary access control solution and see how you can improve your security.  

Securing premises is not just about keeping threats out; it’s a dynamic interplay of value, technology, and investment.

Amidst cutting-edge security solutions, one pressing question emerges: What’s the price tag?

Let’s understand the nuanced pricing of the right access control system for you and unravel the cost factors. Here’s our access control systems cost guide.

Average Access Control System Cost Per Door

On average, though, you can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per door with professional installation. Remember, high-end systems can push this number upward, while simpler configurations might reduce costs.

Determining the average cost of a door access control system is intricate.

Multiple variables come into play, such as the type of security systems [1], installation complexities, and associated access control hardware or software.

Types of Access Control System & Average Price Per Door

Keypad Access Control

A staple in access control, keypad systems allow users to gain access by entering a predetermined code. They’re relatively affordable and are commonly used in many settings.

On average, the cost per door ranges from $500 to $1,500, depending on the system’s sophistication and additional features.

Smartphone Access Control Systems

Modern and sleek mobile access control systems leverage smartphones, permitting entry through an app or QR code. Given the advanced technology and software integrations involved, this tech-savvy solution generally falls within the range of $1,000 to $2,500 per door.

Access Card or Key Fob Access Control

Reliable and straightforward, key fob or access card systems provide entry when access control credentials such as card or key fob are swiped or scanned.

These systems typically cost between $600 and $2,000 per door, contingent upon the brand, quality, and any bundled software or features.

Biometric Access Control Systems

Biometric systems [2] recognize unique physical or behavioral attributes—like fingerprints or facial patterns—to grant access. Given their intricate technology and superior security level, they’re expensive access control systems, usually ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 per door.

Factors That Affect Access Control System Costs

Access Control System Type

The specific type of access control you select is pivotal in determining access control pricing. For instance, biometric access control with advanced technologies may be priced higher than traditional keypad systems.

Features, brand reputation, and system capabilities further skew the pricing. For example, standalone door access control systems will cost less than one that requires remote access.

Licensing Fees

Many access control systems come with proprietary software that requires periodic licensing renewals.

This recurrent expense ensures the software remains updated and functional. These fees can vary widely depending on the system’s complexity and brand.

Access Control Installation Considerations

Number of Access Points

The number of doors or entry points you aim to secure directly influences costs. More doors mean more equipment, increased labor, and, inevitably, a higher overall price tag.

Integrated Security System

If your door access control system integrates with other security components—like a video surveillance system—this can affect the installation process and its associated costs. Integrated systems offer enhanced security but can be pricier due to the complexity of intertwining multiple technologies.

Electrical Upgrades

An advanced electronic access control system might necessitate electrical upgrades to support its functionalities. If your current infrastructure doesn’t meet the system’s electrical requirements, you’ll need to account for the cost of these upgrades.

Materials & Labor

The choice of materials—for cabling, controllers, or readers—can drive costs up or down. Moreover, labor costs fluctuate based on the installation’s complexity, the technicians’ expertise, and regional labor rates.

High-quality materials and skilled professionals might command a premium, but ensure a durable and efficient setup.

Components

ComponentAverage CostLocking Hardware$50 – $250Software License Or Maintenance Cost$10 – $50/monthAccess Control Accessories$20 – $100Door Controller$150 – $500Door Reader$50 – $300

Locking Hardware

Locking hardware refers to the physical components like electronic lock, strike, and magnetic lock used to secure the access point.

Cost Impact: Locking hardware can vary widely depending on its quality, brand, and features. Premium and highly secure locks with more advanced features (e.g., anti-tampering) are priced at the higher end. As a fundamental part of any access control system, the choice of locking hardware affects the total system cost.

Software License Or Monthly Service Fees

This cost pertains to the software that manages and monitors the access control system. Licenses can be for hosted or cloud-based software, and maintenance costs cover software updates and technical support.

Cost Impact: Recurring license or maintenance costs can accumulate over time, and the chosen software platform, its capabilities, and its brand reputation can influence these expenses.

Opting for comprehensive platforms with a wide range of features might elevate the ongoing costs but ensure a smooth and efficient operation.

Access Control Accessories

Access control accessories can include mounting hardware, additional cables, backup power supplies, or supplementary devices like remote controls, physical credentials, or keypads.

Cost Impact:

The choice and number of accessories will directly influence the final cost. While some are optional, others are critical for the system’s functionality, and their quality can determine the longevity and reliability of the access control setup.

Potential Hidden Costs

While the primary components of access control systems have their price tags, there are often additional costs that might catch an organization off guard. These can include:

  • Software Updates: As technology evolves, software updates might come at an additional expense.
  • Training: Employees and security personnel may need training to operate the new system effectively.
  • Replacement Cards or Fobs: Physical access credentials like cards or fobs can get lost or wear out over time.
  • Battery Replacements: Wireless systems, in particular, may require periodic battery changes, leading to recurring expenses.
  • Emergency Repairs: Malfunctions or unexpected damages might necessitate urgent fixes, sometimes at a premium.

When budgeting for an access control system, it’s essential to factor in these potential hidden costs.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Investing in an adequate access control system might seem like a significant upfront expense, but the long-term benefits often outweigh the initial costs [3]. Enhanced security reduces the risk of theft or unauthorized entries, which can lead to substantial financial losses or reputational damage.

Additionally, employees and stakeholders can operate with peace of mind, knowing they’re in a secure environment. It can boost productivity and morale.

As technology advances and potential threats evolve, a modern system can save costs in updates or overhauls down the line. While the initial outlay can be substantial, the cumulative benefits make access control systems a sound investment.

Importance of Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance of an access system isn’t just a suggestion—it’s a necessity. Ensuring that the system is optimally operational can prevent costly breakdowns and repairs in the future.

Simple actions, such as cleaning card readers, checking for software updates, and inspecting the hardware, can extend the system’s life and maintain efficiency. Scheduled check-ups can identify and rectify minor issues before they escalate into significant problems.

Investing in regular maintenance can save an organization both time and money in the long run, all while ensuring the system serves its primary purpose: securing the premises.

Insurance Implications

Modern access control systems can play a pivotal role in insurance premiums. Many insurance providers view these systems as a proactive measure against potential risks, which can lead to reduced insurance rates.

Organizations can negotiate better terms with their insurers by demonstrating a commitment to security through an advanced access control system. Furthermore, in the unfortunate event of a security breach, a state-of-the-art system can provide critical data during investigations.

However, liaising with your insurance provider when considering an upgrade or installation is crucial to understand any potential premium reductions or requirements.

FAQs

How much is the cost of a keyless entry system?

The cost of a keyless entry system can vary widely based on its features, brand, and the complexity of its installation.

On average, a basic keyless entry system can start from as low as $50 per door, with more advanced and integrated systems going upwards of $500 or more per door.

Why is access control so expensive?

Access control systems can be costly due to a combination of high-quality hardware components, software licensing, and installation requirements. Additionally, ensuring top-notch security often means investing in advanced technologies and regular system maintenance, contributing to higher costs.

Key Takeaways

Securing premises with robust access control systems is indispensable in today’s security landscape [4]. While initial costs can seem steep, the peace of mind, enhanced security, and potential savings from averting security breaches can offer invaluable returns on the investment.

The type, components, installation complexities, and ongoing maintenance determine the system’s expense. Before deciding, always weigh the system’s benefits against its long-term costs.

Don’t leave your premises vulnerable. Contact Safe and Sound Security today for a free consultation and discover the perfect access control solution tailored to your needs.

If you’re in Miami, Florida, access control is especially important, given the bustling urban environment and diverse population. Ensure your security needs are met in this vibrant city.

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/technology/security-and-protection-system
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK219892/
  3. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/returnoninvestment.asp
  4. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/merging-digital-and-physical-security-creates-a-robust-defense-against-modern-threats-says-info-tech-research-group-301908529.html

How Much Does an Access Control System Cost in 2024?

Access Control Systems Cost: Pricing Decoded & Explained

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