How to Choose a Security Company

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In my previous post I mentioned my barber, who by the way chose to move forward with the security plan I presented after going over a needs analysis with her, and her previous decision to hire a company that did not perform up to par. The Rio Grande Valley has a myriad of companies wishing to install a security system in your home. What makes a company a good choice for your security investment and how do you decide whether the company is a good fit?

Determining Factors

CRITERIA: Service

One of the most important factors in determining whether a company will be a good choice is the level of service not only available over the phone but in person when you are in need. For example, it’s great that a company may have a live person willing to help you at any hour of the day or night over the phone but when can they deliver results? How long does it take for them to get to you in order to do a repair? In this aspect the majority of local companies have the upper hand, I dare not say all because unfortunately even some local security providers are badly managed and their better business bureau report reflect this. In summary:

  • A company that is local and has the majority of their technicians based in the immediate area will provide you service more readily and quickly.

Action: Ask your security salesman if they are local. If so, how many technicians are in the area and if they have a local office that can provide you help and/or support should you want to visit their office rather than dealing with an automated phone system or deskhelp.

CRITERIA: Central Station

Location of a company’s central station is a topic debated among security professionals. Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether it is local or otherwise. You can reach anyone in the world in a matter of seconds as our communication methods travel at the speed of light. What really matters is the response time of the central station and whether or not they can pronounce local street names. If a security company is so large and bloated that its central station cannot address your alarm during a high traffic period of the day you are losing time, property, and possibly life. Also, I was recently told by a new customer that a national company not only took long to respond to their alarm but because the central station was unable to pronounce Spanish named streets properly the police took well over an hour of time locating the home. In summary:

  • A central station should be able to respond to your alarm in under a minute, and should have personnel able to pronounce local street names.

Action: Ask your security representative the average response time of an alarm from their central station and if they have bilingual staff able to properly pronounce Rio Grande Valley street names.

CRITERIA: History of the Company

Word of mouth reputation is often one of the best indicators of a company’s ability to deliver its promises. Google can help you quickly locate reviews and help to determine whether what the security representative’s promises have been delivered in the past. However, in most situations it will be easy to find negative reviews as an angry customer is more likely to vent than a happy one, thus I find it important to take these reviews with a pinch of salt and to cross reference with their rating on the Better Business Bureau. In summary:

  • Let someone else’s experience inform you as to whether a company is worth your investment.

Action: Check the Better Business Bureau rating of any company whom you may choose to do business with. Ask your sales representative how many homes his company is currently monitoring and if there are any notable businesses in the area who are using their services.

CRITERIA: Your Security Representative

Having been in the security industry for the past 8 years I have learned one thing: Experience is everything. Knowing technical aspects of security equipment and being able to understand how to apply them in theory is one thing but how they work in the real world is often very different. Purchasing equipment or services that “should work” is definitely a learning experience you should avoid! In summary:

  • Your security representative should have considerable experience providing security solutions to homeowners in varying circumstances, i.e. pets, frequent vacationers, homes inhabited with the elderly or children, high crime area, and other real world circumstances.

Action: Ask your security representative how long he has been providing alarms and security solutions. Also, an approximate number of homes who have chosen to use his services.
Want more information or help gathering quotes from reputable companies? Contact me at frankalaniz@thatsecurityguy.com

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