You’re looking for an alarm system and a company just quoted you on a ton of equipment. Let me guess, they told you that you need every single door and window covered with a door/window contact?
Yes, folks, I know what you’re thinking, I can read minds. The truth is that every single big box company will try and squeeze every penny out of you knowing well enough that you actually don’t need all that equipment.
But how is that possible? How can I possible secure my home if I don’t have a peripheral covering ever entrance point? The answer to that question is simple; you can protect your home best through the use of motion detectors.
A motion detector covers a lot more ground than a door contact.
Let’s break this down for all of you. If you put a contact on your window and someone cuts the glass and enters, the contact will never go off because the seal will not have been broken. You run the risk of these peripherals on the windows and doors being easily by-passed. Your alarm company will then say, get a glass break detector, so that way if the glass is broken the detector will sound. Well, guess, a burglar could just duct take the window, smash it, then take it off, and the glass break detector won’t pick up a thing!
There is no way to bypass a motion detector!
If you have a motion detector once the intruder works his/her way through the home they are going to be passing through an area that has a high traffic volume. This is where a motion detector will be the most useful. The intruder has nowhere to go, once they enter into that area the alarm is going to sound. If you are smart enough to find a company that offers two-way voice monitoring well than that’s even better because that will prompt automatically.
Adding all that equipment can be very costly as well, think about how many doors and windows you have in your house. It adds up, especially when you have to start replacing batteries for all those sensors. Typically a motion detector can cover an area of 150 feet, this is a very large range so one maybe two motions detectors at most may be needed. I would suggest that if you really want a door contact, throw one on your back door and your front door.
When a company starts telling you that you should be putting contacts on your windows upstairs that should trigger a red flag. Think about it for a second, how are the intruders going to get into your windows from upstairs? Do you really think they are going to get a ladder and try to break in that way? I really hope you don’t think that could be an option. Intruders will always try and enter into your home from the bottom floor so what’s the point in spending all that money for the upstairs because they will never go off. You want to make sure you have the motion detector covering the bottom floor so if the intruder tries to go anywhere in the house including upstairs the motion detector will be tripped and the live two-voice monitoring will come on. By that time the intruder will know he doesn’t have any time to spare so they will try and get out as fast as possible.
So when you start calling these big companies like Rogers Smart Home Monitoring, ADT, Protectron, CPI, Comcast Xfinity and Vivint don’t let them bully you around and tell you that you need all this equipment. Better yet, think protection and find a company that truly knows something about securing homes and call them, do your research!
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.