February 4, 2014

Know how to hire a trustworthy security contractor

electricianYou have decided to have a security system installed in your home or business. Now you are tasked with the confusing task of which company to choose. The competition is brisk out there with so many security contractors to choose from. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when you are interviewing contractors to secure your home or business.

Look for Experience: Each home or business is different and experience can matter. Experience applies to everyone in every industry. This includes security installers. Pricing can vary widely based of the scope and your security system, which takes into account the layout of the property. When you are meeting with the sales person or the contractor make certain that have been around for a while. If they are new at this or a little ‘green’ then it may be time to look at another candidate.

Ask how the contractor schedules jobs. Some contractors are part-time and this may affect their availability to service or install your security systems when needed. Make sure they are available for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ask what happens when they decide to go on vacation and if they have the staff to cover these times.

Get more than one estimate: There can be a lot of variables that go into consideration with security systems and BBB recommends that you find at least three estimates before you hire. Make sure you know what you’ll be paying upfront to avoid surprises. Keep in mind the lowest price is not always the best indicator for the best service.

Make sure they carry Insurance: Who’s responsible should your home or business suffer damage during the installation? Find out what type of coverage the contractor provides as well as your business or homeowners insurance.

Review your Contract: Don’t settle for a phone conversation agreement; the contractor should provide a written contract. A company representative should come out to examine your property. Get everything in writing with a scope of work, equipment and part numbers. Some companies will use vague descriptions for equipment. Also check about warranty for the installation and equipment. A fly-by-night installer could be purchasing equipment on the internet or Ebay which means NO WARRANTY. and make notes about services requested and potential obstacles. Find out how you can terminate the agreement if necessary. A homeowner has a 3-day cooling off period which means you can cancel the contract without penalty – and this is a LAW. Get all of these details in writing and always read before you sign. Know all the terms and conditions of the contract. Understand cancellation fees and any extra charges that may apply.

Ask if they are licensed: Selecting a company that has valid, current state license is essential. Ask to see the license or make some calls to find out to make sure your contractor has one.  Licensing means that they have passed state exams, have experience and have undergone criminal background checks. You can check the NYS Department of State Division of Licensing Services to find out.

Research the company’s reputation: Check references and online. Google the company’s name and even the sales person. Check to see if they have a LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook account to get some inside intelligence on the organization and the sales person. Also check the BBB.

Ask for proper identification: In some states not only does the company have to be licensed but all employees need to have photo id. Also check the photo id is issued by the organization and has the company’s license number on it.

Are they local? By selecting a local security contractor for your project, you will be assured to get better service than choosing a national or international company. Many local companies use local talent that live in the same community you live and work in. Many national companies will subcontract the work to independent contractors.

Get the following information:

  • Contractor’s name
  • Street address (no P.O. Box – this screams fly-by-night)
  • Telephone number – is it a cellphone?
  • Contractor’s license number
  • State that issued the license
  • Name under which the license is filed

As previously mentioned in this post, there are some criteria when selecting a security contractor. Keep this handy checklist handy to help you along in the selection process.