Choosing the Right Alarm Company: What You Should Know Before Agreeing to a Cheap No-Frills Home Security System

An alarm system is an essential part of home security. However, if you choose the wrong alarm company, you could wind up spending a lot more than you need to, or worse—wasting money on an alarm system that doesn't provide adequate protection. Both scenarios can be as misfortunate as not having an alarm system at all. Take the case of an innocent southwestern Berks County couple who became the victims of a home invasion. In the news story released by The Morning Call, a Lehigh Valley newspaper, the crime occurred at around 1:30 a.m. while the homeowners were sleeping. After incapacitating the homeowners with electrical cords and duct tape, the thugs spent close to an hour in the home before fleeing the scene with the victims' valuables.

Like many victims of home crimes, the homeowners of the above news story might have been able to protect themselves or call for help had they had a home alarm system in place. Chances are they will likely invest in a home alarm system in the immediate future. The problem is that the trauma and fear they experienced may cause them to purchase a system from the first alarm company they find. This can be a crucial mistake, because not all alarm companies are backed by the values, integrity, or commitment that's needed when it comes to protecting one's home and family. Like any business, there are reputable alarm companies and there are disreputable alarm companies. A reputable alarm company is one that takes its business very serious and takes pride in doing the job properly the first time. This can be witnessed through the quality of their products and workmanship, as well as the education and experience of their staff.

While meeting sales quotas is important, a reputable alarm company does so by exceeding its clients' expectations through superior service and system design.

On the other hand, a disreputable alarm company doesn't concern itself with quality or service. Its only goal is to make as much money as it can—even if it means taking advantage of people.

Alarm systems are no different. Security systems provided to homeowners are often give-aways and/or the $99.00 no-frills type. And of course the customer must be willing to sign a three-year (no cancellation) monitoring agreement to obtain these misleading deals. But as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. While most homeowners don't need a top-of-the-line alarm system that costs a small fortune, the cheap systems can be a complete waste of money.

Here's an inside look at what an average $99.00 alarm system includes:

  • Most no-frills systems include only one siren. For adequate protection, an alarm system should be equipped with both an outdoor and indoor siren at the very least.
  • Most no-frills systems monitor the doors only and do not include motion or glass break sensors. Windows are a common entry point for burglars, which is why motion and/or glass break sensors are imperative.
  • Basic systems don't include an LCD keypad. This means there's no way of knowing what room, door, or window has been breached in the event of a break-in. LCD keypads also allow you to know where in your home an intruder is roaming. Having such a keypad in your master bedroom is especially important.
  • Basic systems don't include a battery backup source. In the event of a power failure, the alarm will not work. Cheaper systems also don't include cellular dialers, which are essential should the phone lines be cut or you experience a service disruption. With a cellular dialer, the alarm system can still contact the monitoring company to alert the police of an emergency.

Just as you wouldn't purchase a new car without learning all you can about it, you shouldn't invest your money in an alarm company without doing your research first. To ensure you place your money and trust in the right alarm company, follow these important tips:

  • Check with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) and other online sources for customer complaints against the company.
  • Verify that the company has a business or contractor's license. Ask for a copy. If they claim their installers are certified, verify their credentials as well.
  • Inquire about the type of training the company requires or provides its installers. An alarm company that employs technicians with certifications is a major plus, as they usually take their business very serious and provide top quality service.
  • Ask for references from RECENT customers and contact them. Ask questions about their satisfaction with the company, such as how timely they were with their services, the professionalism of the staff and installers, and whether or not the company provided any follow-up services.
  • Inquire about what type of insurance the company carries. Although uncommon, accidents do happen. Should that antique vase or expensive painting on the wall be damaged, or a fire occurs as a result of the installation of the alarm system, you'll want to know it will be covered by the company's insurance policy.
  • Research the alarm company online. Find out how long the company has been in business. Search for news stories about the company's involvement with the community. Look to see if the company has posted any articles about their area of security expertise. What you find should tell you a lot in terms of the company's commitment to the industry and their customers. The same holds true in terms of the education, experience, and credentials of the owner and other staff, including their installers.

Choosing the right alarm company is just as important as choosing the right alarm system for your home. To ensure you get the best of both, do your homework. While this may require a little more time, effort, and money on your part, you'll find that doing business with a reputable alarm company is worth it.

Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.

Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:

The American Society for Industrial Security.

The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.

The Society of Professional Locksmiths.