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Old 06-15-10, 11:46 AM   #1
SonataInFSharp
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How can these Systems be so Cheap?

I am having a home security installed since an affiliate of the company I work for extends their services and discounts to my company, even though we don’t do the same work as them. So, since I can’t really argue with “basically free,” I decided to do it.

I checked the price for non-affiliate employees and it’s over $1,000 for what I am having installed (but I am a tiny % of that after my discounts). Then I checked other companies, and the prices were comparable. Heck, when I was a kid, we had a system installed in the 80s and it was over $2400 for even less hardware than I am getting now.

Then I run across big name companies like ADT or Brinks and their install prices range from free-after-rebate to barely $300 or so. (My install is being done by a big name company, too, but not ADT, et al.)

So, how in the world can ADT and others be so cheap compared to other companies? How can ADT charge $99 while the company I am with normally charges over $1000 for what looks like the same thing? Is ADT like the "Wal-Mart" of home security systems, “everybody has one,” and people know their name?

Granted, the panel I am getting can be operated from where I work, we can have cameras installed online, etc, but I assume ADT and others do, too. The only thing I can think of is that ADT and others get you by making you sign 2-3+ year monitoring contracts at $25-46 a month, whereas the companies like the one I am using has no contract and their monthly monitoring rates are actually considerably lower, even without discounts (and they all seem to use the same monitoring companies, anyway).

Does anyone know about any of this stuff that can clear it up for me? The only stuff I run into when I try to search out on Google are sponsored links or corporate links going back to a company’s own site, of course.

It’s just a curiosity since I already know what I am getting and who I am going with.
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Old 06-15-10, 12:03 PM   #2
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Would be interesting to read the boilerplate of both contracts. I bet there is a substantial penalty for early termination of the monitoring portion of the ADT system. TANSTAAFL. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
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Old 06-15-10, 12:07 PM   #3
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Same as a cell phone contract. the phone is almost free until you figure out how much the thing costs you per month.
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Old 06-15-10, 01:57 PM   #4
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TANSTAAFL.
Also the name of a great bicycle friendly dive bar in Arlington.
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Old 06-15-10, 08:15 PM   #5
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The most important part of a security system is the signage and security light that the companies put on the outside of your house.The "smart"bad guys see them and rather than taking a chance move on to the next house.
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Old 06-16-10, 11:16 AM   #6
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Some companies will have their own monitoring site, with neighborhoods and areas associated in a grid around that site. The reason for that is due to astringent training and requirements according to contract and a better rapport with customers. Not only will you get the same employees monitoring your business, but since the site is located in your area, you will get quick response time by a tech from that site if anything should go wrong with your system, usually within half hour after your call for service. You will always get a human on line.

This same company has a drawn map of your home, where door and window switches are on that map. Each door or window has a distinctive beep or ring, telling the monitor which switch has been violated. This helps with dispatching the police, as well as the dispatcher staying on the line with the monitor as each switch is activated.

Some systems have the ability to hear inside the building also, which is sound activated. Being able to hear inside of a building will help the person monitoring it to be able to hear if a window breaks, should a vandal get in without the circuit to the switch being broken. This shows location within the building, so that too can be relayed to the police. Sure, it may alert the monitor if someone taps on the window, but a tap is different from the sound of shattering glass. Sometimes wind blowing will set off an alarm if a door moves from the pressure. But being able to hear inside will verify if it is an actual break in. The monitor can request the police to do a perimeter check on your house (go around making sure doors and windows are secure) without being called as if the alarm actually went off. This helps reduce false alarm calls.

They can hear and identify voices (vs say, a dog barking) as well as record them. This recording has been used as evidence in court.

A good way to tell is by the false alarm reports vs alarms/apprehensions. Don't forget some counties and/or cities will charge the homeowner for each false alarm after the first two for that address.

There are many differences as to why some can get away with lower prices.
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Old 06-16-10, 12:41 PM   #7
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Same as a cell phone contract. the phone is almost free until you figure out how much the thing costs you per month.
^^ This ^^

And if you decide you can't afford it any more on a monthly basis, the early termination fees will bankrupt you instead.
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Old 06-16-10, 01:49 PM   #8
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I'm with a "big" name company and never paid a penny besides the $35.00 monthly monitoring fee, service is included in the price but they were kinda ****ty at the start, they have gotten consistantly better throughout the years and I've been extremely satisfied with them as of late, seems after they changed names they became more dependable. My orig contract was up after 2 years and I never renewed or was put under pressure to do so. I haven't been under any contract with them since! Just going with the flow! ;0)
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Old 06-16-10, 11:49 PM   #9
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I'm with a "big" name company and never paid a penny besides the $35.00 monthly monitoring fee, service is included in the price but they were kinda ****ty at the start, they have gotten consistantly better throughout the years and I've been extremely satisfied with them as of late, seems after they changed names they became more dependable. My orig contract was up after 2 years and I never renewed or was put under pressure to do so. I haven't been under any contract with them since! Just going with the flow! ;0)
You're getting the short end of the deal if what the OP said is true, especially if you're still paying the same price after the contract is up.

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Granted, the panel I am getting can be operated from where I work, we can have cameras installed online, etc, but I assume ADT and others do, too. The only thing I can think of is that ADT and others get you by making you sign 2-3+ year monitoring contracts at $25-46 a month, whereas the companies like the one I am using has no contract and their monthly monitoring rates are actually considerably lower, even without discounts (and they all seem to use the same monitoring companies, anyway).
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Old 06-17-10, 07:50 AM   #10
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You're getting the short end of the deal if what the OP said is true, especially if you're still paying the same price after the contract is up.
Correct. The company I am going with (I am keeping it nameless only because they are sort of/part of my company which I don't want to name) charges only $15-ish per month for monitoring. My discount means I am not paying even that, but that is what the non-discount rate is. You do have to add $12 if you want cellular monitoring or something like that; but again, doesn't apply to me.
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Old 06-17-10, 09:48 AM   #11
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It just a razor razor blade model. Most companies prefer a business model that has recurring dependable revenue over a one time sale. You see this with razors, cell phones, coffee makers all kinds of products. I also assume they separate their business security business from their residential security model. They know businesses have deeper pockets and can write off the expense so they charge more for a business than a residential customer, simple as that. The pricing is setup to be competive in each specific market. Also recognize that Broadview and ADT do thousands of installs and the smaller guys have less customers, higher volume means they can operate at lower margins.
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