Who is Really Your Home Security Company?
When it comes to choosing a home security system in Indianapolis there are a lot of companies you can choose from. What’s important is the technology you decide to use, the security equipment that protects your home, and most importantly, the security company that you decide to use as your provider. These are the top 5 questions and topics you need to know about to make sure your getting what you expect. Since this article was just updated we have a sixth one as a bonus!
Often times, people are in the market for a security system because of an unpleasant event like a break in. Other times they have just purchased a home or had a child. In most cases, it’s an emotional time. When emotions are involved we often don’t ask the right questions or make the smartest decision. Unfortunately there are many security providers in Indianapolis, and the rest of the country, that will take advantage of the situation. The security industry doesn’t have the best reputation because of unethical practices from certain individuals and companies. That’s why at All About security we want to make sure you know the facts about your security system and the home security company that you decide to have protect what matters most
Key Questions to Ask Home Security Companies
1) Who they are, who they really are!
Yes, that is right, who they are. Now, I’m not saying they won’t tell you who will be your alarm monitoring company. They often will tell you that part. This happens a lot with the big names in security . Many security dealerships try to play on words for you to think they are the “Corporate” version when they are really a dealer or re seller. This can make it easy to hide bad service from the company itself.
This means when you are looking up an Indianapolis security company for reviews or for a phone number it can be very confusing. If they are with ADT, Brinks (which sold their security business to ADT and is now ADT), or other large alarm monitoring companies doesn’t mean they are the alarm company doing the installation and service.
With a clever name to avoid branding their organization and riding the coat tales of the corporate version they can imply they are that company. For example a company name may be Get Security but they can advertise as Get Security with ADT(put the monitoring company name here). Will the real ADT please stand up? Or is it really a Dealer named Get Security With….? Try it, type a big name security dealer and see. Nothing wrong with being an authorized dealer as long as the company your dealing with has integrity and stand by their product’s and service.
What I find unethical is hiding it to mislead customers. This is the main reason we haven’t taken this route of being a traditional authorized ADT dealer. We thought about it but when we did some research we decided it wasn’t the best fit for the type of organizaton we wanted to put our name behind. We also saw over 15 authorized dealers in the Indianapolis area.
Unlike some other home security dealers, we will never allow our employees mislead you or make you think we are someone that we aren’t. Our values and our clients come 1st as they should with all businesses. There is no reason to lie or mislead. If you are in the security industry then you should be proud of your service, unless…..maybe they are trying to hide something? Make sure you know all their names. Some of the larger companies have several names and no identity. Did they change their company name? If so, why? Often a DBA (Doing Business As) is used. Again, that is OK, as long as you know who the real company installing your security system is and you are happy with them that is fine. In my experience, nothing good starts with misrepresenting yourself.
2) What will it costs? When everything is said and done, what will it really cost? Security Companies advertise free but nothing in life is free.
It’s free, right? Or is it? Sounds great, but what features, services, and security equipment does your home and family need?
Just because it claims free installation that doesn’t mean there isn’t an activation cost or equipment cost that will be needed to have a complete home alarm system. It is only fair to expect to pay something, but when it sounds too good to be true (free) it usually is. There is always a monthly payment at the very least and most will have an activation that can be as low as $99 to $499 depending on your needs and wants. This is another misleading practice when their terms and conditions aren’t explained clearly. It’s pretty common to have sticker shock with some of these “free” advertisements. I have seen quotes for well over $10,000. Does that sound free?
You can get a great deal and most security system companies will give you some kind of free home security package, but that can change, even with the same company. Make sure you know the cost of any extra equipment you may need. Some company’s will advertise what sounds like a lot of free equipment because they will overcharge for any other equipment they know you will need. Others will help you out and give you a fair price, while a few will add it to your monthly payment. Again, this is the alarm company you deal with, and the technician that comes to your home. Don’t let them sell you equipment at an outrageous price. Negotiate, have them call a manager, but always ask. A motion detector shouldn’t cost more than $150, ask them if they will match others prices. At All About Security and we want our customers to have the best value so we offer a low price guarantee, We also want our clients to be able to add on later if they wish to do so. Some security companies also make it difficult to change your services later down the road. Some will make it easy, and some won’t. As long as you know and are OK with it and if you are then it’s fine.
3) What their Warranty really Covers
This is one I really don’t like. A lifetime warranty is great, but most dealers will give a warranty that sounds amazing until you need it. Often, what they forget to tell you is in the fine print. Dealing with big name security dealers can also mean your account may be transferred to corporate. Depending on the authorized dealer program that sold you a system this can be a good thing, or a bad thing. Sometimes, this transfer make the original warranty void! Why? Because of tip #1, you are no longer the customer of the alarm company that set up your alarm system.
Again, transparency is key. As long as you are made aware of it, there is nothing unethical about it. If you aren’t….. Now, I am not talking about a small trip fee, which is often a surprise on its own, I am talking about the actually warranty. Again, make sure you know who your provider is, their name (not the Entity they represent) and make sure you can get a hold of them when you need them. If there are issues and they don’t fix them, you have social media and customer service numbers for a reason. Keep complaining until they make it right, most will if you take it far enough but some wont (They may hate us, as long as Indy loves us. Transparency is the key to any good business)
4) Security Companies say 24 hours/7 days a week FAST Response (Never miss an Alarm)
No one is perfect. Call around and you will hear claims that just can not be verified, if it is too good to be true it probably is. Some say that said they haven’t missed an Alarm for 30 years, I know I was impressed with that statement. Until, I had family member who told me that she had an alarm and somehow no one showed up, I didn’t believe it. Mistakes happen but covering them up and misleading customers isn’t a mistake, its bad business. Make sure that they can prove what they say. What organization gave them this level of service excellence? If it wasn’t an independent study, and it was a paid spokesman, you might think twice. You might be surprised that there are some smaller companies who have faster response times than the large ones. Remember, they are the monitoring company, not the installer or authorized dealer that installed your system. Hopefully, we are :).
Even if the monitoring station dispatches in seconds that doesn’t mean you’ll have a quick response from your authorities. If you don’t have your alarm verified it can take much longer to get any response. That’s why it’s so important to focus on alarm verification technology. Whether it’s with two way technology that All About Security includes, or visual verification with an image sensor or camera. A live operator on the other line to verify any situation can increase police response! A picture from your motion detector upgrade, or video camera, that is sent to your phone is even better. If it’s a video security system that is endorsed by the National Sheriffs Association the police are more likely to make an arrest. Ask your home alarm company about their verification process so you are aware what type of response you really will have in a real emergency.
5) Security Companies Customer Service Isn’t Always the Best, Like they Claim it to Be (No Way???)
Isn’t it funny how a company will tell you that they will go the extra mile, make sure you are taken care of, and have the best service but after the sale they cant be found? That person isn’t available and it is another department. What type of service recommendations do they have? How long do they take to fix an issue? Some large company’s have a 30 day back log and that is not acceptable. Make sure you can talk to a live person in this Country when you have an issue and make sure they don’t have any lawsuits, and that the Person you are dealing with is willing to stay in contact. If they aren’t willing to help you after the sale, many times you are stuck. Make sure you are aware of their contract, what the big print giveth, the fine print taketh away 😉 Be aware of the terms, ask questions, and make sure they give you an annual inspection at no extra cost to keep you as a customer, if they aren’t, make sure you can get out of your contract without an automatic renewal happening. Often, without you being aware.
Bonus #6 (updated 4/13/16)
Free Monitored Fire Protection.. that is, if you buy monitored smoke detectors!
One more for the update! Another service that is often forgot about is fire protection. While some security system companies will charge an extra monitoring fee for monitoring for smoke and fire, the service part can be free. The catch is you need to have the security equipment for fire protection. Your smoke detector’s aren’t going to work with most home security systems. You can add the monitored smoke communicator but what will it cost? If you have a connected fire alarm, the alarm company may ask you to purchase all new detectors. This can be very expensive in a large home. One new piece of equipment that can be tied into your existing interconnected fire system is a sensor that can repeat the signal and sound. By using an audio sensor that will repeat the sound if one smoke detector is triggered and send a signal to your security panel you can save hundres, if not thousands of dollars. This is a great value. Make sure your asking your security provider if they offer this life saving device.
It isn’t uncommon for security dealers to add one monitored smoke detectors and claim they will add fire protection the a package. You can place it in an area you feel is at risk but with one smoke communicator you won’t be able to monitor the entire home. One common solution is to use one with your existing smoke detetcors.
Using the firefighter audio sensor is a more cost effective solution if you have inter connected smoke detectors already. Instead of spending thousands of dollars for replacements you can purchase one of these devices for less than a couple hundred dollars, sometimes for about a hundred! If you don’t ask you may get one monitored smoke detector but it wont be enough for a home’s fire safety. If you ask the right questions you can get a better deal. Of course you can always call us at 317.559.3500 and we will make sure your home security is the right solution for your needs. If you don’t and decide to use another company just make sure you have this resource and use it as a checklist. Either way, All About Security is here to help!
These are just some things that motivated us to start our own security company, we partner with companies who will serve our customers best. We had the ability to join anywhere, we could and still can be a dealership if we choose to do so, but it all comes down to the security provider you are working with directly. If they can’t serve you the way you deserve to be taken care of, there are others that will. Make sure you are happy with your choice by getting to know your security dealer. If high pressure fear tactics are used that may be a warning to look somewhere else. You can always call All About Security at 317.559.3500.
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Until the next article, stay safe and informed Indianapolis!