My wife gets on my case because I am terrible at engaging our burglar alarm system every night before bed. Rightfully so; a burglar alarm is a smart precautionary initiative toward protecting your home and the valuables within.
In my opinion, everyone should have a home burglar alarm system. Systems will vary across a broad range of features and pricing. Even though burglar alarm features and configurations can be drastically different, I’ve learned several basic negotiating tips common to all systems which I have implemented over the years:
• When you’re ready to start shopping, take your time, do your preliminary research online and be ready to walk away from the deal if it doesn’t sound like music to your ears. You are not buying life insurance here. This is negotiation 101.
• As part of your research, contact multiple alarm companies and get written quotes via email for overall home protection security including smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide if you are potentially exposed to that risk. I have found some excellent deals in the past by bundling multiple services together.
• You will likely learn that pricing can range from as low as $20 all the way to $200. There is very little difference between these plans, if at all. DO NOT pay more than $25 per month for alarm system monitoring; there are just too many good companies out there that charge in that price range. The most I pay for any alarm is $35 a month, only because the cheaper companies don’t operate in that particular geography (yet).
• When you find a candidate, research the Better Business Bureau, company website and the Internet to see what other people have to say. More importantly, speak to the company management and determine whether the monitoring station that will be overseeing your property is certified. Gauge how diligently the station operates on a day-to-day basis, including staffing and training levels.
• DO NOT sign a contract. Ever! They’re not required, and many burglar alarm companies love rolling over your contract when it ends to a new one for a full year. If you don’t proactively contact your alarm company and tell them that you want to end your services, they will automatically enroll you in a new term. Getting out after the fact isn’t a cheap or easy process. This happened to us and my wife was furious about it. We eventually got off the hook by threatening to take them to small claims court.
• Finally, beware of alarm company reps who show up at your home uninvited as they could be a scammer or thief. Even if they aren’t, alarm company sales reps are trained in highly-effective scare tactics intended to get you to sign long term pricey contracts which you can totally live without. These salesmen do their research by obtaining recent neighborhood incident reports and then try to scare you with all the possibilities of something happening to your home. This actually happened to my wife.
So what’s the overall lesson here? Conduct lots of thorough research. Then, only invite alarm company reps to your home after: 1) you are comfortable with your research facts; and 2) you have confirmed that the alarm company you are interested in does not require you to sign any contracts.
Your home and its possessions are valuable and worthy of protection. Assuming you do a little research up front, investing in a reliable burglar monitoring system is well worth the price.
About the Author
Sunil owns over a dozen profitable niche websites and is the author of How to Go from $0 to $1,000 a month in Passive and Residual Income in Under 180 Days All in Your Spare Time, a FREE report you can download instantly from his Extra Money Blog, where he discusses how to create multiple streams of passive and residual income, entrepreneurship, internet marketing, blogging and personal finance. In 2007, he sold his e-commerce website for $250,000 to a top Ebay Power Seller and since then has sold several niche sites for five figures each. You can read more about him and his work on his blog.
Photo Credit: Matt from London