Choosing what security company should get the privilege of protecting your home is not always easy, and there are some pitfalls to be
vary of when going through the list. We regularly get questions about home security companies, both general ones and company-specific, so here’s a list of regular q’s and a’s.
The first thing you should do, obviously, is decide if you need to hire a security company in the first place. Usually, if you’re in doubt, then you’re not, as they say. Go ahead and do it. It’s important to remember that you’re not marrying this company for life – if you find out that your need was less than you thought, then cancelling the home security company contract isn’t hard. You’ll be out a few bucks, but at least you know, right? Also, chances are that those bucks can be saved on a lowered insurance policy in the time you were “under protection”.
– As a first step, take a look at our Home Security Survey, and go through the bullets and points there. That should give you a general idea of the state of things, and give you a nice knowledge base to build on when you’re choosing what company to go with.
– Second, consider the market. Which home security companies are the biggest, which have the most personnel, etc. The most important part of this bullet is to consider what home security companies have the largest market share in your area. Which company are your neighbors (if any) using? Using the same company as your neighbors adds to your security in the sense that the chance that the company has personnel in your area increases if they have more customers there.
– Third, consider cost. As a rule, you get what you pay for when it comes to home security companies, as with any other product out there. There’s a reason why this is third on the list – it should definitely not be the first thing you look at. Cheap is good for your wallet, but it may be bad for your security purposes and plans. Keep it in mind, that’s all we ask.
Q & A:
Q: What is a reasonable price to pay in today’s market?
A: That depends on a lot of factors. You should choose a company and a package that suits your needs and your budget, but don’t skimp more than you need to. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Q: How do I go about getting a home security system?
A: Most reputable companies will either include an alarm system in their package, or install one for you as an add-on to a patrol package. Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a few companies, call’em up and ask what they can do for you.
Q: Can I install a home security system myself?
A: Some systems are advertised as DIY sets, but that’s not really recommended unless you’re an electrician or very, very experienced in complicated DIY projects. Best to let the home security company or a certified technician do this for you. It’s safer that way.
Q: Can I maintain/service the home security system myself?
A: See the above… best let someone with experience deal with the complicated tech stuff. That will save you some headaches.
Q: Can I get a system with online monitoring/status checking/etc.?
A: Most modern systems allow some sort of status reporting online, so you can check the status of your home and your system from anywhere in the world. Some even allow live streaming of video, if you have cameras in your house. Ask the company you choose about this.
Q: What are the benefits of a home security alarm system and a home security company?
A: The benefits are pretty clear. You’ll have both electronics and people watching over your house and hearth even when you’re not at home. What most people don’t think too much about are the financial benefits that exist. Hiring a home security company will in most cases lower the cost of insurance, and not only on your house, but also your belongsings and perhaps even your car, if it’s parked in a garage that is hooked up to the system.
Response to alarms and status changes in your home is a major upgrade to your personal safety as well – make sure that the system you choose and the company you’ll be using can accomodate panic buttons and automated emergency calls.
Q: Are there any downsides to hiring a home security company?
A: Not really. The only things you need to worry about is cost, and the time and hassle it takes to install/remove systems that the company installs. Be careful and read the whole contract you’re signing with the company, and if you’re not happy with it, either choose a different company or ask if they would be willing to change or amend the contract. In many cases, companies are willing to accommodate you, as long is it doesn’t put them in an unfair, disadvantagous position. In any case, it never hurts to ask, does it?
Q: Some of the companies offer patrols, and electronic systems, and some offer only one or the other. Which should I choose?
A: That depends on your needs. Patrols may not be necessary if you’re in a low crime area, but may be a very good thing if you’re living in an area plagued by burglaries and vandalism. Take our survey, and choose accordingly.
Q: Which home security companies use dogs?
A: Fewer and fewer of them, as a general rule. There are some companies that still use dogs (K9’s), but before you take on one of those, you should consider if you really need it or want it. Should and alarm go, would you like a dog to come barrelling through your house? Personally, we like the idea, but it’s not for everyone, and might be better if you’re planning security for a construction site or office building – perhaps not your home.
Q: What kind of home security companies are there?
A: There are several types of security companies, but the ones you should focus on are those that handle individual, “civilian” customers, i.e. you. If you’re a company or managing security for a company, then you should probably look at other companies than this page talks about.
Q: What are the signs of a good security company?
A: Good reputation. That’s a given. Do your research, check their online availability. Also, one of the best ways to differentiate a good home security company from a bad one is their customer service. Call’em up. Do you have to wait in line for a long time? Bad. No one picks up for a long time? Bad. Are you treated politely, as the potential customer you are, and do they spend time on you even though you’re not currently a customer? Good. If you ask to speak with a manager, do the ask you why? Bad. Do they transfer you at once? Good. Also, check with your neighbors. Good customer testimonials are always, always a good sign, if they’re reasonably consistent.
Q: What are the signs of a bad security company?
A: That might be a lot of things. Run-down signage, bad HQ location, small customer base (this one might be good too… but usually it’s bad), bad customer service (or would-be customer)… etc.
Q: Can I ask you guys to check on a company for me?
A: Sure you can. Send us an email or leave a comment, and we’ll take a look for you, and even talk to them if we think it’s necessary.
This list is not complete, but should answer some of the most common questions. If you have other enquiries, send us an email (address on the About-page) or leave a comment below. Also, make sure you sign up for our Newsletter, so you don’t miss anything!