With so many different security companies in the marketplace today, hiring a new one for your facility can be an overwhelming process. To help you ensure you’re getting the right company for your needs, use these five questions to help you make an informed decision.
- What are their qualifications?
- What services do they provide?
- What type of equipment do they use?
- Can they provide references?
- What are their rates, and what are the terms of their agreement?
Let’s elaborate on these questions:
1. What Are the Qualifications of the Security Company?
Not all security companies are created equal, and it’s important that you look for those who are accredited through recognized governing bodies. Here are three of the most important:
Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC)
ULC is a nationally recognized body who write many of the standards that govern the security industry, as it relates to equipment that is used, and their installation requirements. If the security company you are speaking to is ULC-listed, that’s a good indication that they are qualified to perform the work you require.
Canadian Security Association (CANASA)
CANASA members must adhere to an industry code of ethics in order to become and maintain their membership. Additionally, members generally attend the many educational seminars that CANASA offers, which translates into a company that is up to date on the latest technologies and practices in the industry.
Additionally, CANASA has a training program for Service Technicians called the Alarm Technicians Course (ATC). If a security company’s technicians have completed this course, it’s a good indication that they will provide quality service and installation work.
Canadian Fire Alarm Association (CFAA)
If your needs require ULC fire alarm monitoring, you need to ensure that the company’s Service Technicians are CFAA certified. A CFAA certification is required in order to work on any fire alarm panel, and a fire alarm monitoring installation will likely require this interaction.
If you already have a system installed within your building, ensure that your new security company has the product specific training or certifications to work with your equipment. Typically, better trained Service Technicians will install and service systems that have lower false alarm rates and fewer service issues, which can lower the ongoing costs of your security system.
2. What Services Does the Security Company Provide?
It’s important to note that most companies provide similar services for their commercial security systems however, they do not always go about it in the same manner. For example, is the security company a full-service provider? Meaning, they provide service and monitoring in house versus providing their own service but offer monitoring through a third party. Similarly, if your company requires alarm system service in multiple locations, is the potential service company able to maintain all of your locations or will they need to subcontract out the work in areas they cannot cover? While these may not be a deal breaker for you, it’s good to ask these questions so you are able to accurately compare the offerings from multiple companies.
3. What Type of Security Equipment Do They Use?
Not all security equipment is created equal, and ensuring that the company is installing the right equipment for your system is important. Here are three key things to keep in mind:
- The equipment should be ULC-Listed
- The equipment should be easy to use
- Is the equipment proprietary?
4. Can They Provide References?
Asking a prospective security company for references is a great way to find out what kind of service other customers have experienced with them. Keep in mind that a company often won’t provide you with potentially bad references, however you can often find unbiased reviews on platforms like Google, Yellow Pages, or Yelp. References can also give you an idea of the type of customer that the security company has experience with, and allow you to see if they fit with your business.
5. What Are Their Rates and the Terms of Their Agreement?
One of the last things to consider are the security company’s rates so that you can determine whether or not they will fit your budget. While many of the common rates can vary, there are some key questions to ask to ensure you are comparing apples-to-apples:
- Are there fees built in for cellular service?
- How often is the system tested?
- Is a ULC certificate included?
All of these items can impact your annual rates, and you should be aware of them when comparing companies. It’s important to note that the lowest price point often doesn’t translate into the best value for your money.
Other items to consider include the length of the agreement you are being asked to sign, and whether the equipment that is being installed is rented from the company or if you will own it.
There are many other things to consider when choosing a security alarm system provider however, addressing these five areas should put you on the right path to selecting the right provider for your building.
For 19 years, Bulldog Fire and Security has been an expert in Intrusion Alarm System installation, having installed a variety of systems in numerous applications across Southwestern, Ontario.