Buying a Security System

As a security professional, if I was purchasing a new security system for my business or home, the three main factors that would influence my purchasing decision would be: SERVICE, SERVICE, & SERVICE.

Many LocksToday, security companies come in all shapes and sizes, with many to choose from. But don't be fooled by official sounding company names and inexpensive monitoring rates. There is much more (or at least there should be) to those monthly charges other than simply monitoring. Remember, you are not simply purchasing products right off the shelf as you would pens or pencils. You are purchasing professional services.

These services that you are purchasing should include:

•  Professional installations at reasonable prices .

Your security service company should be capable of providing a security system with professional installers and should be licensed in your state.

•  24-hour technical support and repair service .

Your security service company's service department must be dependable, efficient, and competent. This means that they are there when you need them with no hassles, and they have the knowledge to fulfill your needs.

•  24-hour UL Listed Central Station Monitoring Service .

Your security service company should own and operate their own central monitoring facility, or at least contract to a well known national monitoring station

In most cases, alarm monitoring companies do not charge a premium for the use of a UL Listed central station service. That's a great benefit to you, the customer, as you know that Underwriter's Laboratories has certified the central station, requires certain standards be met, and has yearly inspections by UL Inspectors.

That's not saying that non-UL monitoring facilities are no good. I'm just saying that if your paying little to no premium for that added peace of mind, isn't that worth it? Heck, that's why you're buying the system in the first place isn't it?

By following these criteria, you may find that many of the licensed Security Alarm Contractors in your state may not qualify to provide the quality services that you require. But how do you pick the right security service providers from the remaining companies? I suggest asking the following questions to any firms you are considering:

•  How long has your company been in business providing these services?

•  May I obtain a reference list of some of your clients?

•  How many people are employed by your company?

•  Does your firm subcontract any of the services that you will be providing?

•  May I have a tour of your facilities, including your Central Station?

•  For installation or service questions, who would I contact?

•  For monitoring or central station questions, who would I contact?

•  If I have a customer service issue, who would I call?

•  Is your firm a State certified Fire Alarm Contractor (if required by your state)? This can be a must even for a single smoke alarm installation.

•  What percentage of your staff are State Certified Fire Alarm Technicians or NICET certified (if required by your state)? This may also be required for installation and service of your fire related equipment.

•  Does your firm purchase its major product lines directly from the manufactures of the products, or mainly through distributors?

This last question could clue you into the size, stability, and reputation of the firm you are considering. In many cases, it takes more than simply a purchase order to buy direct from a major manufacturer.

Many of these questions may not need to be asked by you, depending on your situation, but you should at least consider them when making your evaluation.

Many of the national alarm companies like ADT may be able to provide the services you require, but understand that there are ADT Authorized dealers out there selling ADT's services. You are still monitored by the same central station, but your installation and service comes from the dealer that many times tries to make you feel like your dealing with ADT itself. It doesn't mean you'll get inferior service, but you should know who you're trusting with you security needs. Smaller-local companies can be good as well, but try to stick with ones that operate their own central monitoring facilities.

Ask for a free estimate and when you're talking with the sales consultant, and inquire about how the local branch, local dealer, or franchise dealer operates using the above as a starting point.

Want to know the best way to evaluate a purchase?

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