Business Security Systems: How to Understand Pricing and Control Your Costs
Researching business security systems can be frustrating and confusing. There are many moving parts, and when you ask for the cost, the answer is usually, “It depends.”
Even worse, many providers don’t provide the clarity and transparency you need around what the total cost of your security system is. And you’re left trying to evaluate what the charges mean.
The cost of a business security system does depend on multiple factors, but they shouldn’t be a mystery. In this article, we’ll try and demystify what goes into pricing, and what you should expect from your vendor in order to understand the true cost of security.
Your business size, industry, and contract length
The size of your business and the type of property you need to protect are two basic factors impacting price.
Take these two customers, for example. Their costs are going to differ because their businesses differ:
- A jeweler protecting one 3,000 sq foot retail location that needs security cameras, alarm systems, and alarm monitoring.
- An auto dealer who owns three properties with outdoor inventory that needs cameras, access control systems, and AI-assisted live video monitoring.
Generally speaking, the larger the facility you’re protecting and the more security services you require, the higher the cost.
Other obvious factors that go into pricing include the length of your contract. Given the amount of work that goes into system design and installation, many service contracts range from 12 months to five years, with most contracts falling somewhere in between.
Hardware and equipment
One of the most significant factors in determining the cost of your system is the hardware and equipment and whether you are buying the equipment or leasing it. Most business security services companies will provide both options and are willing to bundle their pricing into monthly increments.
Regardless of which option you choose, your system hardware is likely to include some combination of:
- Alarm sensors and contacts
- NVRs (Network Video Recorders)
- Other equipment like cabling, switches, and wall mounts, etc.
Given the cost of maintenance, and the potential costs of faulty equipment if it’s not properly updated and maintained, you will want to make sure your provider is offering the most up-to-date hardware on the market.
System design and installation
The cost of producing a system design plan for a small business can be minimal, but for larger, more complex enterprises with multiple locations, labor costs will be more substantial. A burglar alarm and camera system for a small business takes a lot less time to design than a code-compliant fire alarm system for a multi-tenant building.
Installation is a major cost factor because of labor and time, especially if you are building a security system from scratch, as opposed to upgrading an existing system.
Make sure you’re working with a business security services expert who excels at creating effective security systems that are the right size for your operations. The cost of inadequate or non-compliant systems can outweigh any savings from selecting the provider with the lowest quote.
Your provider needs to be licensed, bonded, and insured. They should be capable of understanding both the hardware that needs to be installed as well as the software and systems required for your security system to run effectively.
All of the cameras and alarms in the world won’t do you any good if they aren’t monitored effectively.
The cost of your system will depend on factors including:
- The number of systems being monitored (burglar alarms, fire alarms, cameras, etc.)
- The number of components being monitored
- If you have cameras, the level of video review your contract includes (live or clip-based)
The type of monitoring you use should be driven by the type of business you are protecting, the location of your business, and the complexity of your monitoring needs. You’ll want to double-check that the service you select keeps you compliant with state and local regulations as well as your insurance company.
Maintenance, servicing, and warranties
Make sure you clarify whether full servicing and maintenance are included in your security system contract or whether you’ll be paying as you go as needed. There can be hidden maintenance and servicing costs that come up unexpectedly if you don’t read your contract carefully.
Regular maintenance keeps your system operating as intended, so we strongly suggest asking if maintenance and servicing are part of your complete bundled pricing.
If you are purchasing the security system hardware, ask about any warranties so that you don’t get stuck with any major surprise fees for critical equipment repair.
Great. So what should I expect to pay for a business security system?
The answer is still “it depends,” but hopefully you have a rough idea of what “it” depends on. Including hardware and equipment, system design and installation, maintenance, service, and warranties.
Prices will of course vary depending on your needs, but getting transparency and clarity on all these areas in your quote should be non-negotiable.
To get a detailed security audit from Bay Alarm, including a custom-tailored proposal for a new business security system designed for your business, contact us today.
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