So you have decided that you want to bite the bullet and move forward with a security system, great choice! Now you may purchase a security system on your own and have a contractor install it, or just have the contractor do the entire job. Either way, if you want the system monitored by a central station you will need a security company to be the middle man.
Picking the right contractor
- The first thing to do would be to research who is within 0-30 miles of your residence or business where the system will be installed. If you start looking for contractors that are further away than this, expect that their drive time will be added into the final cost of the project (this is especially important if it is a larger installation and will take up several days.)
- Next you will want to visit each contractor’s website. Get a feel for them and their work ethic.
- Make phone calls to each contractor, ask for their hourly rate and also their monitoring rate.
- Narrow it down to the 2-3 contractors that you liked the best and give them a call to schedule a walk through.
- You should never be charged for a walk through or consultation.
The walk through
- You will want to make sure that the contractor appears professional. Look for uniforms, clean-cut and nice work vehicle. Avoid contractors that show up in anything that appears unprofessional. If they can’t even take care of their trucks or appearance, what makes you think they are going to take care of you as a customer?
- Very important: Make sure that you let the contractor know that you are getting quotes from other contractors. You can even mention their names (it makes it seem like less of a bluff.) This will cause the contractor to really hone his price in and be competitive. If a contractor even gets the slightest vibe that they are the only company bidding on the project they will look at you like a cash cow.
- Have an idea of what you want in a system to avoid the contractor up selling left and right. Knowing areas that you want to protect will make the walk through move quickly and will keep the contractor on track.
- Ask how long until the system could be installed if you decide to move forward. This is a great question towards the end of the walk through. What is the point in moving forward with a project if the contractor is two months out on installations and you want the system within a week due to recent burglaries?
- Make sure the installer is insured and licensed.
- If you have received a bid from another contractor, never reveal the amount.
Moving forward with the project
Now you have picked the contractor with a great price and that came off as professional to you. You should ask the contractor to leave the installation codes default on your system. They may look at you strange, because it will show that you know what you are talking about. Security systems have lock codes and usually installers change them, so that nobody else can program the system if they decide they want to switch dealers. If you make the contractor leave it default, in a year if you are not happy with the service you could always call one of the other contractors in the area to take over service and monitoring of your security system! It is a great move. If you do not perform this step, in a year if you want to switch, they may charge you for a service call to come out and default the code. They may also state that it is their code and they cannot change it, Do not take this as an answer! You have paid for the system and you own it, therefore you own what codes are programmed into the system.
I hope that this has given you some information to digest if you are thinking about having a system installed. This is an investment for you, make sure that you pick the right contractor and avoid the huge markups on parts if possible. If you have any questions or need any advice, please do not hesitate to email me!