As you review home security systems and consider purchasing alarm and security products online, you’ll no doubt want to ensure the company is on the up-and-up before you take the leap. That said, how you vet companies and what criteria you use while searching will make all the difference in the world. Use this page as your guide to purchasing an alarm and security products online to ensure you wind up with the right components and level of service for your needs.
Quick Guide to Purchasing an Alarm Security Products Online
Step 1: Make a list of things you want your system to have.
Most setups start off pretty small. They may have a keypad and a few door and window sensors and perhaps a motion sensor. If you’re already familiar with the options available and you know there are additional components you want, such as a CCTV camera, fire alarms, or glass break sensors, make a note of it.
Step 2: Identify a realistic budget.
Believe it or not, you can get a basic setup for just a little bit of money these days. However, if you already know you want extra components or have a large house to protect, you’ll likely want to set aside a bit more to cover the initial startup costs. In addition to this, you should determine how much you can afford for monthly monitoring.
Prices are all over the place in this area and range from less than the cost of a dinner for one to the equivalent of feeding a small army. Although cost may sometimes dictate the type of monitoring service you’ll receive, this isn’t always the case, so try to be objective as you review home security systems later and compare price points.
Step 3: Consider how you’ll need to connect.
When purchasing an alarm and security products online, you’ll see that different companies, and sometimes even different kits from the same company, will connect you with the monitoring company through various means. For example, some systems go through a telephone landline, while others use the Internet or a cellular connection.
Still others use one as a primary and allow you to use additional means of connecting as backups. Both Internet and cellular are generally considered fairly reliable, but if you have a preference one way or the other or only have access to one type of connection, you’ll need to be mindful of this as you shop.
Step 4: Review Home Security Systems
Run a search online and review home security systems. It may be helpful to create your own spreadsheet that includes all of the systems which meet your criteria in terms of offering the right equipment, using the right connection, and coming in at the right price. If cost is a major sticking point for you, add up individual components as well as monthly costs to ensure you’re comparing apples to apples.
For example, one may charge more for the initial components and setup, but you may break even a few months into service and start saving. Lastly, watch for contract requirements and find out what happens if you move or decide to leave the company. While LifeShield (www.lifeshield.com) doesn’t tie people into contracts, other companies do.
Step 5: Read Testimonials
By now, you should have a manageable list of companies that meet your initial expectations, but this only tells half the story. Head over to Google reviews to read what experiences others have had when purchasing an alarm and security products online through each company.
Bear in mind, any company that has been in business for any period of time will have some naysayers—even if the company is awesome. There will be people who weren’t tech-savvy enough to troubleshoot their own issues, complete their install, or who had other problems with the service. Focus on the general consensus or the overall tone. By the time you finish, you should have a forerunner.
How to Avoid Scams When You Review Home Security Systems
Check for licenses. Companies that monitor are generally required to be licensed to do so. In some areas, even sellers of surveillance equipment need special licensing.
Look for age. If you’re purchasing an alarm and security products online, you need a company that has been around for a while. It’s a tough industry to stay in and a lot of the DIY wireless systems can only be monitored by the company you purchased the equipment from. If you go with a new or unknown company, you run the risk of investing in equipment that could become obsolete at any moment from the company going under.
Find out if they have a physical address in the United States. Although not all companies that operate solely online are running scams, it can be a red flag. Seek out companies that have a physical presence here in the US.
Read your contract. It probably goes without saying, but you should always read the fine print. Eager or uninformed salespeople can unintentionally or intentionally give you bad info, but if you sign a contract, you’re bound to that agreement.