Security System Buyer's Guide

Be A Demanding Security System Customer!

Whether you're looking into a security system for your home or business, you're making an investment. There's a lot at stake because the decisions you make will have an impact on the safety of your family or employees. It pays to be an informed customer with high expectation when purchasing a security system or alarm monitoring service.

Five Tips for Becoming an Informed Customer

  1. Have some idea of what kind of security system (intrusion or fire detection) you want for your home or business. If you turn all decisions over to the dealer-whose input should be extensive but not overbearing-your system will reflect the dealer's preference rather than yours.

  2. Talk with friends, relatives and business colleagues who already have a security system and understand the process.

  3. Don't be afraid to express high expectations. A good security system / alarm monitoring professional will spend time listening to your concerns-large or small. If they just come in, count doors and windows and give you a price, they're not interested in your safety.

  4. Ask questions and expect answers. It's all right if the salesperson does not have the answer right away. But you should expect to get answers back in a reasonable time.

  5. Listen for clear statements about what the company can and cannot do. A reputable dealer will be candid, explaining how your requests will affect the installation's design and cost. When you're clear about what you want, the dealer should be clear about all costs.

Additional Resources


See what Clark Howard has to say in the article below about purchasing an alarm system:


Burglar Alarm Buying Tips 

Updated: 11:44 a.m. Monday, April 8, 2013 | Posted: 4:49 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010

While eating breakfast at a fast food joint, Clark eavesdropped on a conversation at a nearby table. Based on what he overheard, it seemed two of the men were employed by a security alarm company and in the process of interviewing a young 20-something man for a sales position.

The young man was told that the job involved obtaining recent police burglar reports and then going door-to-door in those neighborhoods. The men told the young man that a good tactic was to let customer's imaginations run wild after showing them the police reports. Then, go for a monthly contract of from $24.95 to $39.95, whatever he could get out of them and pocket the spread.

Talk then ran to rollover contracts. That's what happens to contracts when customers don't contact the security company about their intentions at the end of the contract term. That contract simply renews on its own for another contract period.   

Here are Clark's tips to follow when your home needs security and you don't want to be swindled: 

  • First, take your time shopping and researching.
  • Security companies should earn your business and shouldn't require you to sign a contract. 
  • Don't sign a contract -- ever. 
  • Don't let a security company representative into your home unless you have first determined that the company won't require a signed contract. 
  • If a security company wants to charge you more than $20 per month for basic monitoring service, don't do business with them and search for another company. 
  • Is the monitoring station UL approved? Is the station properly staffed and trained? 
  • Gather price quotes from various companies for security and include smoke and fire monitoring. 

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