What you should know before hiring a commercial security system company

It’s an unfortunate reality, but having a business in the city opens you up to a host of crime. Atlanta’s no exception. There are plenty of burglaries and other crimes committed within the ATL. To protect your business, you might be thinking about getting a security system and cameras installed on your premises. We caught up with Ty Williams of ADS Integration to find out what his advice is for getting a commercial security system. (Williams was a radar technician in the Navy before getting into the security industry, and then he started his own business in 1999.)

We asked Ty what you should know before having a system installed in your place of business.

He started off by listing a few questions:

Is there a monitoring contract involved?

Many alarm installation and monitoring services try to get you to sign a 36-month contract for your alarm system. Some might have a contract that lasts 12 or 24 months. It’s important to know if you’re going to be bound into a contract because three years is a long time if you’re not sold on the service you’re getting.

What happens if I want to leave my contract? What if I’m not happy with the service?

Let’s say that you sign a three-year contract, but you want to get out of it. Things change. You’re not happy with the service. Sometimes there will be a hefty penalty to you for breaking the contract. The company might even make you pay out the contract in full—and that can be upwards of $1,000 depending on how far into the contract you are.  

We also found out how some alarm companies are able to give away free security systems.

Security system companies can install a system for free or very little money down because of the three-year monitoring contract that we mentioned before. They charge between $33-$40 a month for monitoring services, which comes to about $1,200-$1,400 over three years. The alarm system pays for itself. It takes about a year and a half of you paying those fees for the company to get their investment back. Even after the contract ends, you’ll still be paying the same fees.

We learned that Ty doesn’t ask his clients to sign a contract.

Ty has built his business on not asking his clients to enter a long-term contract. If the alarm company has you pay on a month-by-month basis, there’s no contract for them to hide behind. You have the freedom to fire them if you’re not satisfied with the service they’re providing. If they have you sign a contract, you’re stuck.

Ty noted, “You pay a little bit more upfront for the equipment but you own the system and you can have anyone monitor it for you.”

What if you already have a security system but want to change monitoring companies?

Ty said, “Any reputable alarm company can take over the monitoring for you. Some existing systems can be reprogrammed while others cannot.”  Er, what does that mean, exactly? “All that’s required is to change out the main panel and keypad,” Ty explained. “This will give you a new system with a warranty. This means you can have peace of mind without having to buy everything from scratch.”

Oh, that makes sense.

Here’s how commercial security systems deter employee dishonesty.

Employee theft is a growing problem that many Atlanta-based companies face. We asked Ty how a security system might help businesses avoid being burned by their employees.

He said, “Each commercial security system provides every employee with their own unique alarm code. This means you will be able to identify who opens and closes your store or business every day by looking at the alarm code entered into the keypad.”

You’ll be able to tell if your employees are getting to work late or if they’re leaving early. All you have to do is check the report—it’ll give you the time and date that your employees arrived and left. If you receive a report of an unauthorized entry late at night or on the weekend, you can check and see whose code was used to access the building. If you suspect that an employee isn’t being truthful about their hours worked, you can rewind the security footage and check on what time they arrived and left. As a result, you won’t end up paying someone for hours they didn’t work.

Seeing the cameras serves as a visual deterrent for any employee that’s up to no good, whether it’s fudging hours or thieving. Ty told us about a warehouse operator who feared that one of his employees was stealing parts. The cameras served as enough of a deterrent to remedy the situation.

Security systems can also prevent your HVAC system from being stolen.

We didn’t realize how big a problem this was in the Atlanta area. “I recommend connecting your HVAC compressor into your security system with an outdoor wall siren overhead,” Ty said. “This prevents people from stealing the compressor and selling it for scrap metal. When someone goes to cut all of the lines, the alarm goes off and the overhead siren scares them away.”

Ty reports saving many air-conditioners this way. That’s a nifty perk to having a security system.

You can prevent burglars from incapacitating your alarm system by going wireless.

If a burglar’s smart, they know to cut the phone lines leading into your building to keep the police from getting the memo that your premises is being looted. To combat this problem, security systems can be monitored wirelessly. You can’t cut what isn’t there. This is also handy if a storm knocks out the phone lines in your neighborhood. Since you’re not using physical phone lines, you’ll still be monitored.

But that’s not all. Ty pointed out that, “Another benefit is that a wireless communicator will allow you to receive warning alerts on your phone. They will also enable you to arm or disarm your system remotely. There’s no reason to give out your alarm code to a service person. You can remotely turn on your system and turn it off.”

Hmm, but what can you expect to pay for this convenience? “About $200 for the communicator and an additional $10 per month for monitoring,” Ty replied. “This is about half of what many Atlanta alarm companies are charging monthly.”

Ty also explained that his company’s wireless communicators allow you to watch the security feed on your phone. Neat!

Say cheese!

Covert cameras can also be placed around your building to catch burglars in the act. If they skirt the visible cameras, chances are one of the hidden cameras will still catch them. Ty told us about a burglar who broke into a leasing center in Lawrenceville not too long ago. The thief ripped the security system off the wall, but they smiled at their reflection in the glass of a clock. Little did they know that there was a camera inside the clock’s face, so their face was captured for the business owner to see. The police were able to catch the guy.

Let’s recap.

Why are security cameras so important for your business?

  • They allow you to monitor your business.
  • They allow you to monitor your parking lot.
  • They deter shoplifting.
  • They deter employee theft.
  • They allow you to observe accidents and injuries. (Ty has been instrumental in resolving several fraudulent workers’ compensation cases because of the camera system that he installed.)

The best part of this is that the footage can be viewed on your cell phone, tablet, or home computer if you have Internet access, though Ty suggested that you have a minimum of 15 to 20 MG Internet speed to take advantage of this service. This means you can check on the office while at home, on vacation, or on the golf course!

One final bonus to having a commercial security system that we’ll mention before we sign off is that you might just qualify for a discount on your insurance. Talk to one of our agents to see if you’re eligible. You can also feel free to ask Ty any questions about commercial security systems by visiting https://adsintegration.com.

If you need insurance for your business, give us a shout! You can either call us or fill out our quote form and we’ll get you a free quote. Our agents will make sure you have the customized insurance you need.