Alarm System Buyer’s Guide
Choosing an alarm company can sometimes be difficult.
If you are shopping for an alarm system or upgrade, we have prepared the following list of questions you should ask any potential alarm company.
Compare our answers against theirs – we believe that we are the best choice for alarm systems in Midland and Odessa, Texas.
How much does equipment cost?
Equipment costs can range from free to hundreds of dollars. Remember that lower equipment costs usually mean longer contracts and highly monthly fees.
Westechs is partnered with several major alarm manufacturers in over to give our customers a choice in equipment and costs.
How much does installation and activation cost?
Installation and activation costs are usually bundled into a single, one-time fee.
How much will I pay each month?
Monthly fees may be the most important factor as it can represent the overall cost of the alarm. For example – free equipment with a higher monthly fee could be more expensive than purchasing equipment in with a lower monthly fee.
Contract and Credit
How long is my contract?
Many alarm companies will want you sign a three to five year agreement.
Westechs offers flexible contract lengths starting at just 12 months.
Is a credit check or deposit required?
Some alarm companies require credit checks or deposits in order to qualify you as a customer.
Generally, Westechs does not require a deposit or perform a credit check.
What happens if I cancel my contract early?
Almost all alarm contracts will include a substantial early cancellation fee.
How long after signing a contract do I have to cancel without any penalties?
By law, residential customers are allowed to cancel an alarm agreement within three (3) days of execution. Most alarm companies do not allow cancellations at commercial facilities without penalties.
What equipment is included?
Be sure to have a complete understanding of what equipment is included, such as the number of keypads, which doors and windows are protected, if any motion detectors are included and so on.
Alarms from Westechs can not only protect property but add convenience with automation and alerting.
Is the equipment wired or wireless?
Wireless alarm sensors mounted on doors and windows are a popular choice due to low cost and ease of installation. Some people, however, do not like the exposed boxes that are visible on the doors and prefer the traditional alarm equipment which is hidden inside the door and window frame.
Westechs offers wired and wireless alarm systems and can install both visible and hidden sensors.
What brand is the equipment and can other alarm companies service and monitor the system?
Some dealers are “exclusive” dealers of equipment in areas. Beware that this is a benefit for the alarm company, not you. If the alarm company increases their prices or has poor service, you may not be able to switch to another company.
Once you determine the brand of the alarm being sold, call a few other companies and ask if they can service that brand. This means that you won’t have to replace the entire system in the future if you want to change alarm companies.
Westechs uses non-proprietary equipment from leading manufacturers.
Service and Repair
Are service technicians local?
Some alarm companies have local or seasonal sales people but no local service or repair technicians.
Alarm technicians from Westechs are local to Midland/Odessa, have passed a federal background check and are licensed by the State of Texas.
What is the average response time for a repair call? Is after hour and weekend repair available?
Local technicians means that an alarm company can respond quickly to service.
Westechs offers 24×7 emergency service. Customers with a Managed Services agreement are guaranteed service within 4 hours for critical issues.
What is the warranty period of the equipment?
You should determine if the warranty of the alarm is one year, two years or covers you during the entire contract term.
What is the labor and part charge once the warranty has expired?
It is important know how much service on your alarm would be in the event of post-warranty repairs.
Westechs customers with a Managed Services agreement automatically get a complete warranty with no additional parts or labor charges for repairs or maintenance.
Monitoring and Account Ownership
Who bills me for monitoring?
Some alarm companies will “sell” your account to a third party once your alarm is installed. You will then be billed every month by the third party. This means your monitoring contract may no longer be with a local, friendly alarm company.
Westechs does not sell your account to any third parties. You will always work with our local, friendly representatives for all of your service, support and billing needs.
Is the alarm monitored via telephone, cellular or the internet?
Telephone is the traditional choice for monitoring, but many alarm companies are now using cellular due its low cost and resistance to sabotage. You can combine telephone and cellular for redundancy and even add the internet as an option to deliver signals to the monitoring company.
Does the central station performing monitoring have any nationally recognized ratings?
Organizations like the CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association) help verify that monitoring companies are meeting or exceeding standards in performance and reliability.
Westechs’ monitoring station has a five diamond rating by the CSAA.
Automation and Smart Features
Do I need to contact the alarm company to change user codes?
Modern alarm systems will give you, the owner, the ability to change user codes quickly and easily without any programming knowledge.
You can change user codes on a Westechs alarm system on your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Can I get an automatic report of who armed and disarmed my alarm? If so, what is the cost?
Often called “Openings and closings”, commercial customers like to see an automated report of who opened and closed their business.
Westechs can offer these reports with our smartphone app or send them directly to your email.
Can I remotely control and see the status of my equipment using a website and smartphone?
A security system with interactive features will allow you to use your phone, PC or tablet to see a real-time status and provide control of you alarm system, even if you have multiple locations.
Am I able to remotely control and see the status of other devices such as a thermostat, garage door, lights or locks? What is the cost?
Often called automation, modern alarm panels will allow you to control a wide variety of smart devices with a single touch. Some alarm companies charge you per category of these devices.
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