Too often, consumers looking to improve the safety of their Austin home take on the lowest bidder mindset, only to be disappointed with the end result. When it comes to designing and installing a home security system in Austin, not every company is of the same caliber.
“For me, it’s all about the things you don’t see. It’s the quality of the equipment, the selection and placement of security equipment and the overall security design,” said Brian Offenberger, a 23-year veteran of the home security industry. “Unfortunately, there are just so many mistakes made at the system design and installation levels, it’s hard to know what a good system looks like.”
If you are looking to install a security system in your Austin area home, keep these six tips in mind.
# 1 – Get a good proposal
The more detail, the better. Nothing will lead you to poor security and false alarms faster than a vague proposal. Offenberger highlights these things to look for:
Equipment – Find out who makes the alarm equipment and stick with trusted leaders. Compare proposals and do your research. “I can easily trim a couple of hundred dollars of the system price by using inferior, non-UL certified equipment, but I guarantee it’s not what you want me to do in the long run,” Offenberger added.
# 2 – Is it modern?
Offenberger says designing home security systems is about foresight. A new home security system today should take advantage of the automation features that are available. You should be able to control your home security system from your smartphone. There are plenty of other ways to lower home energy costs and to make life simple with technology. Ask about them and why they are included or excluded from the proposal.
Some companies see home automation as the standard for a 21st century home security system. Others may see it as an upgrade or an add-on. Make sure the proposal and the contract are extremely detailed, so you know what you are getting.
# 3 – Gauging company experience
Look to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and online reviews of security companies in Austin. Make sure to ask about the background and experience of the people that will install your system. Find out if they are employees of the company you are considering. Many Austin home security companies use sub-contractors. Don’t think that just because you are dealing with a large national company that you are in good hands. Larger companies have high turnover and can sometimes employ inexperienced salespeople, system designers and technicians.
“It’s important that the security company conduct background checks on employees and holds them accountable for delivering exceptional customer service,” says Offenberger.
# 4 – Alarm monitoring
The most important part of a home security system is who responds and when. Make sure the alarm monitoring center is Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) certified. Know where it is located, and find out if there are redundant backups for the monitoring center in the event of natural disasters or emergencies. Make sure you understand the technology being used for your alarm monitoring, as they vary widely in safety and performance.
# 5 – Work until you are done rule
A good home security company should install your system quickly and efficiently. They should work continuously on your system until it is fully operational. Ask about installation timeframes and schedules. If they can’t promise you an uninterrupted installation, they may be either unaware of installation best practices, or they may be overscheduled and make you a lower priority.
# 6 – Seek an industry expert
Offenberger says if a pro’s opinion is valued on social media channels and in the media, they are likely a leader making their mark in the industry. These industry change agents are more likely to be on top of the latest trends and best practices.
If you’d like a professional assessment for a security system for your home in the Austin area, please call us at (512) 693-4003.