Advertisements for home-security companies are all over the place — TV, newspapers, radio, online. But with so many companies out there, how do you know which one is right for you? And how do you know they’ll keep your home safe?
At Mackoul & Associates, we think that purchasing a home monitoring system can help give you peace of mind when you’re at home or away. If you’re considering hiring a company, here are some tips, including guidance from the Electronic Security Association (ESA), a nonprofit trade association for the industry.
1. Get advice. You wouldn’t buy a car without asking your family, friends or neighbors for input. So why would you shop for a security system without their help? You also can look to the Better Business Bureau or online for reviews of the companies you’re considering — but keep in mind that you’ll want to check several different sites to make sure you’re getting a fair cross-section. Some reviews could be fake, especially if they’re overwhelmingly positive or negative.
2. Check credentials. The ESA has a certification program through its National Training School, which provides extensive training in electronic security. In addition, ESA member companies must adhere to a code of ethics and standards of conduct.
3. Ask about licensing. Some states require security system installers to be licensed, so ask companies if it’s a requirement in your state. If it is, the company should provide proof that its licenses are in good standing.
4. Meet with several companies. Narrow your search, and then speak with representatives of two or three companies. They should inspect your home (always ask for identification before letting them in) and provide recommendations. Be sure to get any quotes in writing.
5. Read your contract before signing! Don’t let a company representative pressure you into signing a contract you haven’t read or don’t understand. In fact, if you are receiving any pressure at all, proceed very cautiously with that particular company.
Having an alarm system can help you sleep easier at night — but only if you choose the system and company that’s right for you. So take your time, ask plenty of questions, and don’t be afraid to say no!