Scouting For A Home Security System Provider? 5 Things You Should Ask
There is no doubt that every home in the US needs a home security system installed. Nowadays, it’s not really enough that you live in a so-called “good” neighborhood. Burglars will strike anywhere and will target anybody. If you are in the habit of forgetting to secure your doors and entry points, you will require automated technology to ensure your and your family’s safety.
You can go the DIY route and install these gadgets yourself. However, that can be quite challenging, because what happens when a burglar does sound off your alarm, right? Sometimes, it would be smarter to partner with a professional service to ensure your peace of mind. After all, your safety is not something you can put a price tag on.
If you are looking for a company that would take care of everything, from the assessement, to the installation process, to the after-hours monitoring and emergency response, there are important questions that you need to ask before signing a contract.
For one, what type of home security system are you looking for? Basic setups are those that sound off an alarm if any part of your house has been forcibly opened, depending on where the sensors are installed. Some of these standard provisions even send a notification to your smartphone if there’s any attempt to break in. That’s the simple version.
More high-tech options include glass-break sensors, motion detectors, lighting and temperature sensors, fire and hazardous gas alarms, and panic buttons. Other fancy gadgets even allow you to control your security equipment remotely using an app that you download to your phone. Indeed, it is an exciting time to live in when it comes to the types of technology that are available for households. Straight out of a sci-fi movie, now you can have peace of mind knowing that your house is safe regardless if your home or miles away from it.
In the process of hiring the right home security company to help make this happen, what questions should you ask?
Here are the five most important.
- How much does it cost for the equipment and installation?
The extent of your home security system is largely dependent on how much you are willing to spend. Each company will offer different packages at different rates. When comparing offers, make sure to check what each of them cover in their quote and if there are any caveats. Because they are businesspeople, most likely they will highlight the best sides of their services, so don’t hesitate to ask about the ifs and buts.
Once you have decided on a pricing package that you are comfortable with, find out about the terms and frequency of payment. Will you be paying for a whole year’s coverage upfront, or is it a monthly obligation? Will there be any extra services or features that you will be asked to pay? How about security deposits and advanced payments? The price of the package might be enough for you to handle, but the service might have a few other add-ons you are not ready for, so it’s smart to ask before signing anything.
- Are the equipment already yours?
There are home security companies that charge you just for the service and the system they will use is just on lease to you through the duration of the contract. Others will have you stay a client for a minimum lock-in period for the tech to be considered yours. Clear this up with your provider so you know your and their limitations. In the end, go for the company that gives you ownership of entire system installed in your home and provides monitoring services as an add-on. You should be in control of the system because you own it. It’s your house, after all.
- Are the people installing the system part of the company or are they independent contractors?
It matters a lot who will install your home security system. You should go for the service that’s powered by its own set of technicians. Those that hire third-party contractors may offer great services, but they can’t possibly guarantee the conduct of the individuals they hire. Meanwhile, if the installers come from their own staff, you can find out about their hiring and vetting process, so you have peace of mind knowing that the guys installing your security equipment are reliable and trustworthy.
- How often will the system and maintenance checks be done? Are these free?
Your home security company should be constantly updating your setup with the latest software or at least checking its integrity and effectiveness from time to time to make sure nothing’s out of place. No one ever knows when a burglary attempt can strike, so your provider should make sure that your home is always ready. Some equipment are able to auto-test and send reports remotedly to their base center, as well. Ideally, auto-testing should be done weekly.
- What is the provider’s reputation in the industry?
This is a question that you should ask those who have already worked with them before. You can run a search online to find out what former clients have to say about their service. You can also get in touch with existing and long-time customers about their opinions and if they are happy with the service.
During your search, you will be seeing both large companies and small service providers who will offer the same services. Don’t always go for the big company at first look. Sometimes, the smaller ones will have more time to spend monitoring your system and that’s what you really want for your home. On the other hand, the large providers will have more tech and resources at their disposable, which is also a good thing for your security.
Overall, just as you would choose which hotel to stay in or which restaurant to eat in, scour the Internet and make some phone calls to research on your prospective provider before making any decision. The best gauge of their service are past and present clients who will be able to tell you if the company is really good for its word and will not shortchange you.