Ackerman Security, a very successful home security company that operates throughout the greater Atlanta and Washington regions, was acquired by Canadian Private Equity firm Imperial Capital. Ackerman Security specializes in taking over the monitoring of existing home alarm systems by offering a $20/month service. They have been very successful with this model and continue to grow at a solid pace.
Ackerman Security employs an outbound sales team, that comes to your home to assess your security needs. They also have a five diamond central station, which monitors all of their accounts.
Ackerman requires a 1-year contract for service.
This is Imperial Capitals first venture into the home security space, however, they say they will continue to monitor the industry and potentially be involved in other opportunities.
You can read all about the Ackerman Security purchase here in an article in Security Systems News: http://bit.ly/1CeNMHM
Two-way voice home alarm monitoring means that in the event of a home alarm signal, the home is connected to a central station where the monitoring operator can listen inside the home and voice threaten the intruder out through a two-way voice speaker. This connection provides a verified response, as the operator has instant information on what is truly occurring inside the home.
The big concern for the homeowner though is if the home alarm company can listen to the home when the alarm hasn’t already been triggered. Can this happen?
The answer is no. With live two-way voice monitoring, the connection is only established after the home alarm’s been triggered. If the alarm transmission hasn’t been launched then there is absolutely no way the central station rep can listen into the home. The technology doesn’t allow it, and doing so would be illegal.
Certain companies that don’t offer two-way voice monitoring will say that companies that do can indeed listen inside the home when the alarm hasn’t been triggered, which is a blatant lie. They do this to try to sway the customer to devalue live two-way voice monitoring.
Fear not, companies that have live two-way voice monitoring like AlarmForce, CPI, ADT and Rogers Smart Home Monitoring can only hear what is occurring inside your home after your alarm is triggered – which is where the value of live two-way voice monitoring lies. If your alarm has not been triggered then you have absolutely nothing to worry about, nobody has the ability to listen in on your home.
So, Think Protection when researching home alarms and understand that with live two-way voice monitoring you get a great form of monitoring that provides a verified alarm response.
In the world of home security, ADT is the 800-pound gorilla. With over 4 million customers, ADT is the biggest name in home alarms. When looking at their products and services, ADT doesn’t have anything unique, separating them from the thousands of other home alarm companies out there. So the big question is why does ADT charge so much for their services?
ADT charges anywhere between $29.99/month and $34.99/month for standard home alarm monitoring. Two-way voice monitoring with ADT is between $35.99/month and $39.99/month. Cellular alarm backup is another few dollars per month depending on if you contact ADT directly or an ADT dealer. Beyond that, there is a charge for the installation of their basic package which ranges from $99 up.
As far as I know, ADT has never lowered their monthly rates, however, once you’re under contract with them they reserve the right (and often do) raise their monthly rates. So if you signed a 29.99/month contract, don’t be surprised if by the third year of your three year contract you’re now paying $31.99/month.
In this ever competitive world of security, one has to ask themselves why doesn’t ADT lower their prices? The answer is because they can’t. ADT is locked into this high prices. By having so many current customers, all of which continue to pay more and more, if they lowered the price for new customers, say to $25/month, the rebound effect for their current customers could potentially destroy the company. So unfortunately for new and old ADT customers, the price is what it is, regardless of the world of security continuing to be more and more competitive.
When considering going with ADT, compare their offering with other companies. Look at the monthly monitoring price, the upfront price, what and how much equipment you’re getting if there’s a contract and what’s the length, is the equipment leased or do you own it and if you’re associating with the company or a dealer working independently of the parent company. All of these issues should contribute to your decision. Think longterm when you think protection, and make sure to go with the best company.
As time goes on more and more people are being subject to break-ins. In society today people are purchasing more and more high-end goods that they wish to protect in all of their homes and or businesses. So criminals are taking advantage of this opportunity and studying their victims for the best opportunity to break and enter.
Have you ever wondered why a criminal will go to your front door first before ever attempting to break in? The answer is, criminals now a day are just getting smarter. What I mean, criminals are starting to study your patterns and by going to the front door peeking in or even knocking could very well tell the criminal that you’re not home. This is becoming more and more common as were seeing many more break-ins with forced front door entry. This also gives criminals the ability to work in groups; if the criminal approaches your front door and notices that you’re not home they can secure the front and have someone force their way in through the back entrance.
So you’re probably thinking right now if you don’t have a security system that you’re not safe and if you do have a system you’re well taken care of. There is some truth to both scenarios, but as a customer you really need to dig deeper and do your homework. Paying a monthly bill for a security system you have or looking for the best security system that you are led to believe is out there doesn’t always give you the security need you are looking for. Remember when the criminal is in your house you want to get them out as fast as possible so having something like two way voice will do just that. Companies like Rogers, Vivint and ADT don’t offer that as a standard package, you would think they do with the amount of money they are charging you month to month.
It’s easy to be swayed by big box companies saying they have the best system out there. The majority of these companies aren’t even alarm companies. There focus is on other products and services, but due to their size and greediness they look to promise poor customers that they are receiving the best security out there for the best price. That couldn’t be any further from the truth as Rogers Smart Home Monitoring is a prime example. How does a company like Rogers provide security to customers when they have spent all their time promoting and revolutionizing TV, Internet and home phone? I don’t know about you but that gives me little to no faith that they are going to be able to truly keep my family and me secure.
Don’t think for one second that criminals don’t think like this either. Criminals are well aware of the security systems out there and will target houses with Rogers Smart Home Monitoring, Vivint and ADT signs on their front lawn because they know those companies are not in business to secure homes but rather make money. At the end of the day all the gadgets, shiny fancy equipment and promises that Rogers, Protect America, CPI, Protectron, Vivint and ADT give you to make you feel good about paying those crazy high monthly fees will not protect you from criminals trying to break in through the front door.
So if you have an alarm company or looking for one, be sure to investigate how they do business and where they are located and what you are getting for the price you are paying. So if you ever have a criminal creeping around your neighborhood you want to be confident in knowing that you really do have the best system for your home which will make that criminal think twice before approaching your front door.
Virtually all alarm companies make you sign a contract when you agree to their services. Usually security contracts are for 36 months (ADT, AlarmForce, Reliance Protectron, Monitronics, Safetouch, Bay Alarm, Vivint, Rogers Smarthome Monitoring, CPI, Frontpoint and Protect America are all 36 month contracts). Ackerman will make you sign a one-year contract. Why is it these companies make you sign a contract and what value is it to you to sign it?
The reason why you have to sign an alarm contract to get home security monitoring from the companies above is so they can lock you in to being a customer and make you commit to continuing service for those 36 months. This allows them to more than cover the cost of any equipment you’re leasing and also they can make a good profit off you as a customer.
Alarm companies may have zero money down offers, but over the course of the contract you are will be paying significant amounts of money far beyond that of the upfront costs. Beyond that, by locking yourself into a contract, you are forced to stay with the alarm company, even if the service is bad.
So, what value does the customer get from signing a contract?
Truthfully, it all depends how you look at it. The alarm company will market the value as no money upfront and continued service, but the fact is that with most companies the cost of the monthly will be outrageous and the company will profit tremendously from you over the course of your contract. For example, monthly two-way voice monitoring with ADT is $39.99/month, and you have to sign a 36-month contract, so that guarantees that ADT will receive $1439.64 from you over the course of your contract. Vivint charges $49.99 for their basic monitoring package with a 36-month contract, so that works out to $1800 over the contract.
Large amounts of dollars guaranteed to the company, regardless of the quality of service.
Marketing-wise, the companies will claim the contract promises you no charge service, however there are certain things not included in the contract which will be required for servicing, which will result in money coming out of your pocket to pay for it.
Think protection is free? Not quite.
When a company starts to offer a premium alarm service without a contract, then the industry will change forever. Contracts aren’t necessary for the customers. In fact the customer benefits from not having a contract for their home alarm. The thought in the industry is that if a customer doesn’t sign a contract, then they’ll leave their monitoring service far before the 36 months, once a better offer comes around. Personally, if the alarm company is providing a superior home security service, at a low price, then the customer will stay with the company without a home alarm contract.
In fact, the lack of a home alarm contract could very well be the main reason the customer stays with the home security company.
ADT, Vivint, Frontpoint, Protect America, AlarmForce and the rest could never switch to a no contract model, since they have so many current customers already under contract, the rebound effect would be tremendous. Beyond that, if they did offer a secondary no contract offer, the monthly monitoring and upfront costs would have to be significantly higher, due to them eliminating some of the risk which would arise by not having a contract to tie down their customers.
Prospective customers should weigh all of their options when shopping for a home security system, and ask themselves if a 36-month contract is in their best interest. If it is, then sign the bottom line, but if they think protection can be found at a more reasonable price without a contract, then look elsewhere.