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Your security system is a long-term investment and should not be taken lightly. There are many factors that go into choosing the correct security company for you. What is right for your neighbor down the street may not be right for you. Everyone has different needs and you should look for a company that can best fulfill those needs.
"Need To Know" Information About The Alarm Company
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How long has the company been in business?
Longevity is important. You want to know that your company will still be around a few years down the road. A company that has not been in business long enough to develop a solid reputation for service and reliability may not be around when you need them.
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What are the Sales consultants like? Installers? Employees?
Look for a company that takes pride in the reputation of its employees. Sales consultants should be helpful, considerate, well-informed and neat in appearance. Installers and service technicians should be the same. Are the employees bonded and insured? What type of certification and training do the employees receive. You do not want just anyone coming into your home. Do the employees keep their appointments on time? Do they clean up after themselves when they are finished with the job? Do they act in a respectful manner towards you and your property? Do they take pride in their job? Do they have a strong and proven commitment to customer service before and after the sale?
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Does the company take an active interest in community affairs?
An Alarm Security Company should be well aware of what is happening in the communities they serve and should do what they can to help make it a better place for everyone to live. Are they a member of the local Chambers of Commerce? Better Business Bureau? Are they involved in community associations such as Neighborhood Watch programs, CrimeBusters, etc.
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What type of equipment do they use?
Your dealer should use equipment from a trusted manufacturer that stands behind its products. Products should meet or exceed the industry standards. Are their products Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed? What type of warranty program do they offer? Both the dealer and the manufacturer should have a solid warranty for their products and services. more...
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Why is Alarm Central Station monitoring important?
A company that has 24 hour monitoring can keep track of your security needs, analyze the problem and dispatch the appropriate personnel (police, fire, or just a service technician).
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Why is "local" Alarm Central Station monitoring better?
An Alarm Security Company that offers "local" monitoring can offer you faster service to your security needs. They are familiar with communities, road construction (causing delays in response) and local emergency personnel. A company whose monitoring facility is in another state or another community could take longer to respond and be less familiar with your community. Some larger companies also have a "delay" of 60 seconds or longer before the alarm monitoring company even receives a signal from the residence or business.  That delay is necessary because of the sheer volume of accounts they monitor and the transmission path of your communication link. In addition to this disadvantage, most large companies sell out their monitoring contracts to the highest bidder often. You may find yourself monitored by a company in Atlanta, California, Florida, Illinois, or Texas when you are located in Tennessee!
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What about price?
Price is a concern to most people, and you should shop around to make sure you are getting the best product and service for your money. However, there are many, many instances in which cheaper is not better. Lots of companies will install a system for "no money down". There has to be a catch somewhere or the company could not stay in business - nothing of any value is FREE. Usually, this is a lower-quality, very basic system and the company makes its profit by requiring long-term monitoring contracts at higher monthly rates. Any equipment above the basic package will cost extra (sometimes, a lot extra). Also, the equipment may be leased to you, so you own nothing. In addition, sales and installation people often lack adequate training and certification. There are many factors that make for good value. Make sure you are aware of them all and choose wisely.
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Do you need "extras"?
This is where a good sales consultant can help. Someone who has received extensive training on different products and their capabilities can give you valuable assistance. A properly trained sales consultant will walk through your home or business with you, discuss your individual needs and concerns and plan the best system for you. Your business may be best served by Card Access, CCTV or Gate Systems. Your residence may be best served by less perimeter protection, but more interior protection. You may have need of remote panic devices. Be honest about your needs and work with your consultant to design the right system from the start.
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Is the system simple to operate?
A security alarm does no good if it is not used. A system that is difficult to operate will not get used. Most security control panels have displays that tell you what you are doing or where a fault zone is and most are easy to operate if you receive instruction from your sales consultant or installation technician.  Your master security code is very important. Do not give it to anyone, even your children.  There are systems that allow you to program temporary codes for family members, baby sitters, housekeepers, and guests, without compromising your master code. You should also have a "distress code". This is a code that allows the Alarm Central Station to know that you are in serious danger (hostage situation, etc.) and they will immediately dispatch the police with a special instruction.
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