Home security is a major issue for many homeowners and renters, and finding a reliable and affordable company to provide alarm monitoring services can be the key factor in ensuring the success of a home security system. There is a large number of alarm monitoring companies in existence, offering varying services at a wide range of prices, and as with most consumer services, the responsibility for choosing the best company rests squarely on the shoulders of the buyer. A recognizable brand name is not always the best indicator of quality, nor is pricing. Thorough research is highly recommended to ensure the company a homeowner is considering can provide the services that will keep the home and family safe and secure.
The best security alarm monitoring companies are generally those that deliver a full package of support services for the products they provide. They will not only sell the alarms and other equipment, but maintain them as well. They provide prompt repair service and offer high quality, efficient call center response in the event of emergencies.
Typically, monitoring companies utilize special telephone lines or wireless alarm monitoring, along with computers and a trained technical staff to observe the home’s security system and relay information to the proper authorities when the alarm is activated. Most often, a monthly or yearly fee is charged for the service. As the experience and quality vary greatly from one company to the next, following a few sound guidelines can be very helpful in locating an alarm monitoring company that will most effectively provide the necessary services.
Asking for Referrals
The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association can supply you with a copy of their helpful brochure, “Safe and Sound: Your Guide to Home Security.” On request, they will also provide a listing of the member companies serving your location. Become familiar with the terminology and basic information related to home security by reading the provided information, and conduct your own independent research by visiting the websites of the companies the listed by association.
You homeowner’s insurance agent is another valuable source for referrals, as are friends, neighbors and work associates who live in your area. Your local police department can also supply information regarding reliable alarm monitoring service providers. Once you have compiled a list of possible companies, call them and ask if their staff have been trained and certified by the NBFAA, and find out if the company participates in their Quality Certification Program. Also inquire as to the status of their local and state licensing. Follow up calls to the different licensing agencies are advised, as is a check with the Better Business Bureau.
Meet with Representatives
After your preliminary research, you should be able to narrow your list of possible companies to from three to five good choices. Arrange to have a representative of each company visit your home when all members of the household can be in attendance.
It is important for the company to have an understanding of the routines and habits of the family in order to outfit the home with the proper system components and functional controls, and equally important that each member of the household can understand how the system operates. The company’s representative should be able to fully explain how the equipment functions, and provide instruction regarding alarm monitoring software, remote security monitoring, or any other attributes of the particular system.
Ask the representative about the history of the company, how long they have been in business and if they are a privately held company or part of a larger organization. Inquire about their training programs, and if all of their staff are knowledgeable about equipment, installations and reporting procedures, as well as troubleshooting and response issues. Ask about the operational hours. A good company should provide alarm monitoring and be accessible around the clock, each and every day, and have a solid and reliable backup monitoring system for power failures, phone outages and other possible disruptions in service. Ask questions about the equipment, particularly if the in-home components and those used in the monitoring station is certified by Underwriters Laboratory.
The prospective company’s representative should conduct an inspection of the home, make recommendations and provide a written quote. It is a good idea to ask for a reason the recommendations were made. If the explanation is clear and understandable, it can be a good indication that the company will provide honest and efficient service and a well-informed staff.
A security system is only as good as the company who monitors it. Ensuring the safety of your home and family and the security of your possessions is serious business. When enlisting the services of an alarm monitoring company, it is well worth the extra effort to take the time to screen all candidates as thoroughly as possible.