So, you’ve decided that an alarm system makes sense for you, but now you need to decide who you will trust to come into your home and protect your family and possessions. How do you choose the right security company for your home or business?
People essentially have two kinds of companies from which you choose: the large national alarm providers with millions of customers or the smaller, local company down the street from them. Which company can you trust?
In this post, we discuss the pros and cons of several areas that will help influence your decision-making.
MONTHLY FEES, CONTRACTS, AND PAYMENTS
A national company will often offer you a free system and free installation. The “free” alarm system is often a basic panel with only two door contacts and a motion detector. This starter package is rarely sufficient for your home. When the company installs your system, they often suggest you add more door contacts or motion sensors to cover the entire premises- items not included in the “free” system and charged a la carte. The system is installed for “free” because you don’t buy the system: you lease it. National companies often require you to sign lengthy contracts with monthly charges upwards of $50. These contracts often have a clause in them stating that can your monthly cost can increase at any time for any reason. The additions result in out-of-pocket expenses many homeowners don’t expect.
In this scenario you’ll pay much more in monthly fees (sometimes 2 or 3 times more) because you cover both the lease and monitoring service cost. Additionally, when you lease the system, you generally sign a lengthy contract which allows the installation company to recover its installation labor costs.
At contract renewal the national company can charge a rate that they deem appropriate at the time and often there is a large fee to get out of said contract. If you ever decide to sell your home or cancel your contract, the alarm company may show up at your door to retrieve its equipment, and you could be charged a hefty fee if they can’t recover it.
The local company, on the other hand, is composed of people who live in your community and has a vested interest in making sure your system is installed properly. They will also service your system. Since you receive a free quote for installation before the technician arrives, there are no surprise charges.
A local company will usually charge you for the system and installation up front. This will cost more out-of-pocket, but you will own the system, and over time, you’ll save money because your monthly fees will typically be much less.
Local company contracts are typically shorter and have baseline monthly charges. There are local people with whom you can speak if you miss a payment or come across hard times. Local companies are typically more willing to work with you to temporarily suspend service or make arrangements to get caught up on your account.
National brands often use third-party contractors who resell their equipment and services. When two companies are involved to they both need to make a profit and may cut corners on on training, installation, or testing. The technician who comes to your house today may not be the same one who appears next week.
The third-party contractor is paid per sale, but it’s often not the same firm that services the system. The contractor’s priority is to install as many systems as possible, as quickly as they can, then move on and let the national carrier worry about servicing the systems.
The third-party sales team also receives high margins on additions and upcharges to the basic installation.
When a criminal sees your yard sign or window sticker, you want them to know a real company protects your home. While a well-known national brand will definitely be recognized as a legitimate company. Local alarm companies may not be as well known, but local alarm companies signs are effective too. Criminals learn to recognize the signs of a real alarm company. Something as simple as a phone number on the yard sign is enough to indicate that there’s an alarm system on site.
TIMELY SERVICE AND REPAIR CALLS
With a national company, if something is wrong with your system, you have to call a central call center to put in a service request. Then the dispatcher has to call a contracted technician (not someone directly employed by their company) and schedule them for the best time available for that technician which normally results in lengthy wait times.
When you call your local provider who has his own techs, they schedule an appointment based on you’re schedule and usually have availability within 48 hours.
FAMILIARITY WITH YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
The people at your local home security company are just that, local. They live, work, and play in the same areas as you do. They know when and where there’s been a rash of break-ins in a particular area and can warn customers who live nearby.
The local tech knows how to get to your house because he knows the area. If there is severe weather or power outages in your area,he’ll know about it because he is dealing with them also. Local technicians are better positioned and able to handle those situations.
The people who run the local company are also your neighbors. It benefits them just as much as it does you to have your home safe and secure.
PERSONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE
Local companies with local employees allow you, as the customer to build a rapport with the people responsible with protecting your home.
Local companies understand when situations arise beyond your control. They’ll will go the extra mile to keep your home safe in the case of an emergency because they care. A great deal of national businesses miss this aspect, the human aspect, of looking out for one’s neighbor, of being a good friend, and of taking proper care of customers because people are the number 1 priority, not the bottom line.
Check with your local Better Business Bureau to find a local company more than happy to protect your home and make sure you and your family’s safety is of their utmost concern.
We encourage you to visit our office and review our operation. Meet the people responsible for you’re life safety and security. Contact us today for more information.
Whether your goals are protecting your home or business from fire or burglary to having the ultimate, customized entertainment system, Central Security Systems, Inc. & Sandhills Home Theater will create the system that is right for you. Since our incorporation in 1983, our main focus has been building lasting relationships with our customers; we look forward to building that same relationship with you!