What To Consider When Comparing Security Quotes:
Comparing security quotes between two different companies can often be misleading and confusing.
Make sure you fully understand what is in (and not in) both quotes before comparing.
For your convenience, we’ve created seven essential questions to keep in mind when evaluating security quotes.
Remember, If you are not sure what’s included, always ask the company for clarification in writing.
1. Do The Specifications Tell The Whole Story?
Specifications, while important, cannot capture all relevant information.
Just because a security camera is 4K resolution does not necessarily mean it is the best camera for the job.
There are always other factors at play, many of which are not so easily captured on paper.
- How well will the camera perform at night?
- In difficult lighting?
- In the cold or rain? Etc.
A quality 1080p camera that has an excellent low light, wide dynamic range, and environmental ratings will often perform better than a camera with 4K resolution that lacks such advanced features.
Therefore, it’s important to not get caught up in specifications, but to verify the actual quality for yourself.
When you’re unsure, it is best to ask for actual screenshots of the same camera in similar installations, or better yet, to get a demo in the specific application on your site.
2. How Usable Is The System?
The highest tech security system is worthless if it cannot be used at maximum capacity.
To stay with the example of the security cameras, always keep in mind practicalities like:
- How easy is it to review footage? All companies will claim their system is “easy to use”, don’t just take their word for it. Verify for yourself by using their proposed software ahead of time.
- Is Remote access to the system included? Something like this is so basic it can be easy to forget. Yet many systems lack such core features which drastically improve the usability of a system. Again, always verify what you are getting.
3. Are Corners Being Cut To Present A Lower Price?
When comparing two quotes, always make sure they include the same installation methods.
Necessary components can often be skipped to make a quote seem more affordable. This will almost certainly lead to more money being spent in the future.
For example, one of the most significant cost variations in a security quote is whether or not a system includes metallic conduits to protect security cables from vandalism and damage.
Metallic conduits are usually a good idea, particularly in public spaces. They will ensure that your system continues to operate for years without additional expenses due to damage or vandalism.
Yet, we have seen many quotes where conduits are either purposely not mentioned or included in the fine print as “conduit by others” or “conduit at an additional charge per ft.”
4. How Skilled & Experienced Is The Installer?
In Ontario, unfortunately there are no laws requiring security technicians to have a certain level of experience, education, or training. In fact, the level of training (if any) is entirely determined by the company employing them.
What seem to be tiny factors like placement, focus, and rotation all prove to be critical when recovery of quality footage is needed.
Make sure you are confident in the level of experience of the installers who will be doing the actual work.
5. Who Is Designing The System?
At most companies, this is handled (at least initially) by a sales representative.
Many times, a sales team will promise the world to close the deal but lack the actual know-how to evaluate the feasibility of what they’re promising properly.
On installation day, the crew shows up to explain that the “perfect” design is not feasible, and costly changes are required to achieve the desired result.
Furthermore, by this time, it’s too late, the sales representative has passed you off to the installation crew who have a widely different understanding and vision of the project.
During the design phase, we always recommend working with someone that understands the product they are recommending rather than someone who is just trying to close the next sale.
6. How Long Is The Warranty & What Is Covered?
A company may attempt to lower the cost of a quote by installing inferior components, which is often reflected by the warranty period offered. A year or less warranty is typically associated with poor quality equipment being installed, if the company does not believe with a high probability that the equipment will last past a year, they will only offer a one-year warranty.
Security systems are complicated, and things can go wrong over time especially with inferior equipment. A good warranty almost always pays for itself.
In some cases, we’ve seen companies promise warranties that are, in fact, worthless and will not be acted upon. Make sure you read the fine print and ensure you have a multi-year warranty that covers both equipment and labour.
Do your due diligence here and make sure you are buying quality equipment with a proper warranty.
7. What’s In The Fine Print?
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find ridiculous clauses in the fine print of security proposals.
Some that we have seen include: required work being excluded from the proposal itself and included in the fine print as ‘customer to provide x.’ For example, many jobs will require a scissor lift. Yet, many security companies will not include this expense in the actual proposal and instead leave you responsible for providing one through the fine print.
Another issue is with weasel clauses such as “subject to a site inspection by senior management” – in this case, the company is essentially reserving the right to send you unlimited changes in orders to fulfill the work that should be included in the original scope.
If your security provider has had thorough time to review the site and/or building drawings, they should be providing you with a fixed price.
If you see this clause, you should offer them the opportunity to review the site again if needed and submit a revised proposal with a fixed price.
How Does Square Address These Seven Concerns?
We created this article because we are aware of these concerns for our clients. As such, we have built our company around addressing each of them:
- We are always happy to provide any potential client with an onsite demo, free of charge.
- We only work with systems that keep the user in mind and provide an effortless user experience.
- We include metallic conduits (EMT) for any public or otherwise vulnerable wires.
- We invest in proper education for our employees, and all of our team leads have at least five years of field experience.
- Your security system design will be provided directly by a team member that has had hands on experience deploying the proposed solution.
- We offer a best-in-industry 3-year warranty on all installations and stand by it.
- We thrive on transparency and never hide essential details in the fine print. If we have had the opportunity to review your site or drawings, we never include a weasel clause.
If this sounds good to you, consider providing us an opportunity to provide a proposal for your next project. Schedule a free consultation here or call 416-460-7218 to get started today!