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How do you know that your products are not cheap stuff from ebay?

Anyone can easily order cheap products online from places like ebay, often coming direct from small factories, that are toy-like in their appearance, durability and features. Be wary of the cheapest price, as that is often a good indication of cost cutting measures and supply of cheap, often untested, equipment.

It can be a difficult pill to swallow if you spend money on a product, (especially if it seemed like a cheap deal at the time), only to find that the manual makes no sense, the product feels cheap and plasticky, and the software is a nightmare to use.

Find out where the product is made, see who else they supply their products and services to. Looking to key points like warranty, real-world installation photos, and even a demonstration of the software in person can all give you indications that it’s a quality product and that the software has been tried and tested. Software usability is so important – as it can be the difference between a system that works for you, or one that’s unusable.

Do you have all the required insurances and qualifications?

The Electronic Security Industry has become part of the tech boom, and with it, the skill set required to properly install systems has now become a varied mix of IT skills, trade qualifications, and electronics know-how.

And like most industries, the size and scope of different businesses can range from the ‘corner store’ sized business, all the way to the large multinationals.

Here are the BARE MINIMUM requirements you should look out for.

Companies should have:

  • Master Licence
  • ASIAL Membership
  • Workers Comp Insurance
  • Public Liability Insurance (for $20 million)

Lead Technicians should have:

  • Security Licence
  • Police Background Check
  • Caber’s License (ACMA Approved)
  • White Card (WH&S Card)

This will ensure that, at the very least, the company you choose is reputable, and working within the legal parameters required by Australian Law.

What are your warranty terms?

At the very bare minimum, everyone should be giving you a 1 year, fully inclusive warranty. This is a legal requirement by Australian law. So, if you’re being offered a long warranty, it probably means that the provider has supplied a high-end product, and they have confidence in their offering. We would be very wary of a 1 year only warranty, as this means that they are reliant only on the legal minimum, and the flimsy factory warranty provided by the manufacturer. Conversely, an extremely long warranty period, (for example 20+ years) are generally unrealistic. Often there are hidden fees associated with these type of warranties. A security system is a long term investment, and we feel that consumers deserve a realistic warranty period of around 4-5 Years.

How do I know you are going to be around in (x) years?

80% of small businesses fail within their first year. Make sure the company you choose has a solid base. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Does the company have proper administration? and are they compliant?
  • Are they more than a ‘one-man’ show?
  • Do they have dedicated accounts, R&D, and Technical Support?

Checking these things will make sure you choose an organisation that has built a solid base, and that will be around to service you in years ahead. Can you provide Photos of similar projects you have completed? You should always be able to request real-world images of similarly installed systems in the field. Be weary of stock images of websites which do not reflect the actual products, services or workmanship of the organisation.

Is your sales consultant, actually technical?

80% of sales people are great, but if they do not have a technical background, it can severely impact the effectiveness of your system. Make sure you do some research, and ensure that you ask your consultant various questions about their proposal. Take note of any rehearsed ‘script-like’ behaviour, or vague answers to technical questions. In an ideal world, you want someone that understands how the products work, and can apply them to your unique situation.

Workmanship and actual quality is a very important measure. You could have a great system, but the quality of the cabling and installation can often cause untold havoc on even the best system. This is insider knowledge – we see everyday, poor cabling practices, disgusting installations and shonky duct work. Take the time to look at installations as you go about your day – surely you will find examples of poor workmanship.

We suggest you familiarise yourself with what good installation and cabling practices look like. A good tradesperson will provide a clean, neat installation, and anything mounted on a building will be level and straight. Match these expectations with lots of real life example photos that you can request from your potential provider.

How do I know you have all the technical know-how?

Electronics, and Information Technology is a fast moving market, and Security Installers, often resist the changes the markets bring. It’s important that your provider have a good IT base, as the best products out there are the latest digital systems, and these require an updated host of skills, not found in some of the more aged installers in the field.

The last thing you want is to install your system, and then you find it was the same old stuff that has been slapped in by this guy for the last 40 years without change. Make sure the guys you choose, have their finger on the pulse, and they have kept abreast of the latest innovations within the industry.

What about after-sales technical support?

As much as it’s important to install the right system, the right way, another key consideration is what happens AFTER the system is in.

Does the security provider you are choosing have a dedicated support team?

A security provider’s responsibility doesn’t end the moment a system is installed and they’ve taken your money. Look for a company that is committed to providing customers with ongoing support to ensure equipment is well maintained and you have peace of mind.