A home security system adds a layer of protection to your home and family, and provides safety in a place where you should never feel vulnerable. However, not all home security systems or vendors are created equal.
This post walks through how to assess and compare vendors. If you’re considering a system for the first time, or are planning to switch providers, here is where to start.
Step One: Decide What is Important
Before diving into specific vendors, first identify the criteria that matter most to you. Document and weigh desired features. This enables you to aptly judge vendors based on your specific needs. Consider ranking the following factors:
- Reliability of monitoring service
- In-house versus outsourced monitoring service
- Types of available alarm monitors (burglar, fire, smoke, heat, motion, carbon monoxide, etc.)
- Video surveillance solutions
- Mobile integration
- Environmental monitoring
- Innovation of equipment
- Service convenience
By recognizing the security features most important to you, you can weed out vendors with less robust offerings.
Step Two: Compare System Elements
Once you’ve prioritized features, compare vendors based on these elements. Create a chart with the vendors’ names at the top. Along the left side, include the features that matter most to you. As you research each vendor, make note of:
- If they offer the service
- If current customers are happy with the service
- If the vendor has examples of the security feature at work
Why record all of this information? Just because you identify that a vendor has a specific solution, doesn’t mean that its equipment is state-of-the-art or its service of the highest quality. A thorough review of capabilities, customer satisfaction and performance ensures that the vendor is up for the job.
Keep in mind: Some vendors offer set packages that bundle what they think you need; others tailor each package specifically for you.
Step Three: Choose Your Vendor
Once you’ve narrowed down vendors based on system capabilities, ensure a compatible partner. Ask vendors about the installation process, contract terms, and processes for future updates or upgrades. Evaluate vendor quality based on:
- Company stability
- Training, support and maintenance availability
- Industry experience
Have you found the best vendor to get the job done?
Image Source: Scott Maxwell via Flickr