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Cost-Effective Security Systems for Your Business

Tips for installation, contracts and discounts


With something as crucial as a security system, the upfront cost is unlikely to be your primary concern, but once you wade into particular options, you'll soon realize that balancing upfront and ongoing fees are at the heart of choosing a security system. Trying to balance the level of security equipment sophistication with the best monitoring service, while referencing how a particular plan of action will affect your business insurance rates, involves a lot more than just looking at the price tag. Moreover, a security system can't be cost-effective if it's not first effective at protecting your business assets, and the most effective security system will depend on the nature of your business: Some companies have a greater need to keep burglars from getting in; others are more concerned about keeping company secrets from getting out. Only by sitting down with a security company and discussing your business's most valuable assets and day-to-day operations can you hope to choose an effective and cost-effective security system for your business.
Need-Based Installation Costs
Many security companies offer a basic security package that can be installed free-of-charge with a monitoring service contract. These basic packages typically include motion sensors, door and window contacts, control pad, and a basic alarm. If you talk to a security company that doesn't offer free installation, this company should at least be able to offer lower monthly monitoring fees. Either way, nearly all security companies offer optional upgrades to their security equipment package. Examples of optional upgrades include surveillance cameras, remote TV monitor, recording system, intercom and/or PA systems, key fob (key device that requires an authentication code), glass breaking sensor for windows, more elaborate alarm sirens and response systems, as well as additional motion sensors and door contacts.
Minimal upgrades are likely to cost no more than a few hundred dollars, while more sophisticated and comprehensive systems can run several thousands dollars. Some businesses determine that making a large upfront investment for a sophisticated security system can even eliminate the need for monitoring service, allowing them to save on the cost of monthly fees.
Monitoring Service Contracts
There are a number of ways of structuring a monitoring service contract. Monthly fees usually range anywhere from $25 to $50 for a contract between 1-5 years. The cheaper rates are generally quoted for longer contracts. It's not always the best idea to opt for the longer contracts, even if you know you're going to need to a system indefinitely. By looking at different security companies each year, it may be possible to negotiate a better rate down the road. On the other hand, signing a longer contract should allow you to lock-in a rate that will protect you from cost increases. It's also worth noting that some companies will give you a choice between buying the equipment outright or paying an extra $5-10 a month as a warranty fee for the equipment.
Business Insurance Discounts
Business security systems aren't just for the businesses that use them; they also help minimize the risk to insurance companies. Indeed, there is no stronger endorsement for the effectiveness of security systems than the fact that insurance companies routinely offer discounts to business which have security systems in place. The most cost-effective systems use these insurance discounts to help defray the expense. According to ADT Security Services, small businesses can see premium discounts of up to 20%. In select cases, these insurance discounts may come close to completely paying for the monitoring service.
Of course, not all security systems are created equal, and chances are your insurance company will only offer you a discount that matches the level of protection that your system creates. At the same time, you may need a security system in place that directly addresses areas not covered by your business insurance policy. If your business liability insurance policy doesn't include employee dishonesty coverage, some form of employee surveillance is nearly a must to reduce the risk of theft and employee fraud. The most cost-effective security systems are the ones that are so effective at protecting your business that you never have to learn just how much money they've truly saved.
If you are looking for home security systems, and not business solutions, click here to assess your options.


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