We present a measurement of the volumetric rate of ‘calcium-rich’ optical transients in the local universe, using a sample of three events from the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). This measurement builds on a detailed study of the PTF transient detection efficiencies, and uses a Monte Carlo simulation of the PTF survey. We measure the volumetric rate of calcium-rich transients to be higher than previous estimates: 1.21+1.13−0.39×10−5 events yr−1 Mpc−3. This is equivalent to 33-94% of the local volumetric type Ia supernova rate. This calcium-rich transient rate is sufficient to reproduce the observed calcium abundances in galaxy clusters, assuming an asymptotic calcium yield per calcium-rich event of ~0.05M⊙. We also study the PTF detection efficiency of these transients as a function of position within their candidate host galaxies. We confirm as a real physical effect previous results that suggest calcium-rich transients prefer large physical offsets from their host galaxies.