Do you wish your system had more smart home features — like controlling the thermostat from an app, turning on lights, or seeing live video inside your home?
Do you wonder why you’re paying high monthly fees and getting terrible customer service?
You deserve better. And it’s out there. Depending on the manufacturer of your security equipment, other companies may be able to monitor your alarm system even if they weren’t the original installers. We’ll help you through the process.
Can I reuse my current security equipment?
Yes, in most cases. It’s fairly straightforward to make that switch, provided the system is not proprietary.
Should I switch my existing monitoring company or buy a completely new system?
Switching to a better home security monitoring is called a system takeover. The benefit is that — if it’s relatively modern and compatible — you can keep the equipment you already own.
How does the process work?
First, schedule a time to speak with us over the phone so that we better understand how we can help. The main details we’ll go over are the layout of the property, the type of equipment currently in place, and if you want to add anything onto the system. Once we get a good sense of the situation, we’ll send one of our trained technicians to your home to assess your equipment.
With over 23 years serving San Antonio residents and businesses, it’s in our interest to have long-term customers. Our goal is not to sell you equipment you don’t really need, but to make sure you are properly protected and that your system can communicate with our central station in an emergency.
If we exhaust all other avenues to get your current system to communicate reliably with our central monitoring station, we’ll suggest equipment options tailored to your home and lifestyle and give you time to consider them. If we can’t takeover your system for whatever reason and you don’t want to replace the equipment, we’ll shake hands and be on our way; you don’t need to pay a dime.
When is it necessary to replace your equipment?
a) Your alarm system is proprietary. This means that your system is programmed to function correctly ONLY as long as you continue paying the original company that sold it to you.
For example, no other company can monitor a SimpliSafe or Xfinity system. They design the equipment this way to make customers stay with them longer, because leaving means hundreds of dollars down the drain and a huge headache for you. While this might be great for their bottom line, we don’t share the same values.
We know how expensive replacing proprietary technology can be. That’s why we only sell equipment that ALL alarm companies can monitor, so that you’ll never have to buy an entirely new system again. If you ever want more features, you can just add on individual pieces of equipment for a relatively low price.
b) Your alarm system is too old to provide adequate protection. Many houses and apartments still use systems that were manufactured decades ago, severely limiting your options for sensors, security cameras, and smart home upgrades down the line.
An outdated system also presents a security risk to you. Older equipment relies on landlines to communicate with the central station, which smart burglars will cut before going in.
c) Your alarm company changed the installer code.
When our technicians reprogram the equipment, we need to punch in an installer code to access the back-end of the alarm’s programming. We know the default codes, but if your alarm company has changed this, it becomes much more difficult for us to reprogram your system.
It’s possible that even if your equipment is compatible, your alarm company has effectively “locked out” other companies from doing a takeover job. Try asking your alarm company for the installer code first to see if they’ll provide it to you.
How do I make the switch?
Step 1: Read your Monitoring Contract
If you currently have a monitored system, you probably signed an agreement with the company stating that you’ll stay with them for a certain amount of time. You want to be sure you’re not on a contract when you make the switch, otherwise you’ll have to pay more.
How much should you be paying for alarm monitoring? Click the link below where we compare the costs.
This contract is what enables many alarm companies to reduce the upfront cost of your equipment and let you pay off the difference over X number of months as part of the alarm monitoring agreement. If you can’t find that document, request it from your alarm company and they’ll send over a digital copy via email or a physical copy to your mailbox.
Take note of the following:
- Expiration date
- Renewal (is it automatic?)
- Early contract cancellation fees or penalties
Step 2: Find a Local Alarm Monitoring Company
Local monitoring matters.
With over 23 years working with families and businesses here in San Antonio, we have built a strong reputation with first responders and law enforcement.
Bottom line — they trust us to follow proper protocol and confirm our customers alarms.
Ask anyone who’s shopped around at multiple alarm companies and tested them out. They’ll say the same thing: go local.
Whenever you buy professional-grade technology like this, you want the reassurance that customer service will be able to help you if things don’t work as they should. People who treat you as valued individual, not a number.
Three Things To Look For In A Local Alarm Company
- Where are they based? Do they handle their own monitoring our outsource it? Is it locally-based?
- Call them. Do they answer the phone or are you pushed into an automated system without an option to speak to someone?
- Read the reviews. These are a valid way to evaluate what people are saying about the company.
Questions you should ask any potential alarm monitoring company:
- How much will you have to pay per month?
- How long does the monitoring contract last?
- Can they walk you through any additional fees in addition to any upfront equipment cost and monitoring subscription?
- What certifications does the central station have? Will you ever need to contact them for any reason?
- Can you reuse your equipment with another alarm company?
Step 3: Contact the New Alarm Company
Once you’ve found the right security monitoring provider, get in contact with them either by phone or by submitting a form on their website.
Schedule an appointment with your new provider. If you know what system you have installed, it’s easy for us to know whether we can simply reprogram it or if it will need a new panel.
Check for an Insurance Discount
Many insurance companies understand the value of having a home security system.
Call them to find out how much they offer — your savings could be as high as 20 percent when you have a monitored intrusion and fire alarm system.
What’s the hardest part about choosing a local alarm company?
Finding a local alarm company may take a bit more work on your part. And many people settle for using a larger national brand. But the effort can be well worth your time. Rather than pay inflated prices to support national advertising and marketing costs, you may find that you can get superior service, top-of-the-line equipment, and local monitoring.
If you want the best security company in your area, we encourage you to shop around and ask the right questions of your sales rep. Spending those few extra minutes to understand your security company will save you a lot of headache and disappointment down the line.
Want to learn more about security systems before you make a decision? Contact a BSG expert today at 855-MYSMARTHOME and we’ll answer any questions you have.