Security System Evaluation Checklist

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Following are some key questions to consider before you sign on the dotted line with a security service. Make sure the service fits your needs, providing the features you need and no more, so you’re not paying for unnecessary ones. Keep in mind that you may be eligible for a lower insurance premium, so check with your insurance company. Also, if you’re renting, check your lease for any restrictions on building modifications necessary to install security equipment.

Key Questions to Ask When Researching Security Services

• Does the company specialize in security? Or is security just a secondary part of its business?
• What certifications does the company have, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Factory Mutual and Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and Electronic Security Association (ESA)?
• Does the company offer national service? Or is it limited to a particular region?
• How does the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com) rate the company for reliability and reputation?
• What kind of online reviews has the company and system received?
• How easy is the system to use?
• What level of customization is possible?
• Is the security system available by lease? by outright purchase?, or both?
• What pricing structures and contract lengths are offered?
• Is pricing affected by the size of the store? If so, how are square footage and costs related?
• Are there any cancellation or termination fees or penalties?
• Which security features are included?
• Are all features integrated?
• Are system features compatible with other security features in the store that aren’t part of the system?
• Does the system compile reports? If so, which ones? Are they customizable?
• Does the system use a cellular connection or landline (telephone wires)?
• How is power supplied?
• Does the system have backup power system if primary power is lost?
• What is covered under warranty and for how long?
• Is the system owner-installed? Or installed by a professional?
• Is there an additional cost for installation?
• What service and maintenance plans are available?
• Is user training provided?
• Are customer service and tech support available 24/7? By what methods? Phone? Email? Web Chat?
• Does the company provide a monitoring service? If so, is it 24/7? or alarm activated?
• Who is notified in case of a break-in? The security company? Police? Owner? By what method? Phone? Text? Email?


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