Potential Drawbacks of DIY Security Systems

Potential Drawbacks of DIY Security Systems

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  • Here at Dynamark Security of Richmond, we often field questions from people about the do-it-yourself alarm systems available from home improvement stores, whether it’s SimpliSafe or Ring or Google Nest or other similar systems.

    The main questions they have are about what the difference is between using a system like that vs working with a professional custom alarm installation company such as Dynamark, which has been around for 35 years.

    If you think it through, there’s a lot of obvious differences. In fact, it’s really just a different business model entirely.

    Differences Between “DIY” and Professional Installation

    Here’s a quick breakdown of the main differences between a “DIY” solution and a professional custom alarm installation company:

    • With “DIY” systems, you pay for the product, whereas the alarm system itself often is free when you sign an alarm monitoring agreement with a professional company.
    • The quality of the equipment you get is usually higher with a custom installation company, because we are free to source the best equipment for the job at hand from various manufacturers.  For example, Dynamark uses equipment from 2Gig, Alarm.com, Honeywell, and several other manufacturers.
    • When working with “DIY” systems, if equipment malfunctions (a sensor stops working, for example), you usually must replace it by mailing it to the company and waiting for another part to be mailed back to you.  During that time, your alarm may not work.  Professional alarm companies, on the other hand, usually provide 24/7 service from local technicians (we certainly do at any rate).
    • When you use a “DIY” system, you are responsible for installing the equipment yourself based on whatever instructions the company provides (vs having it installed by trained and licensed technicians when you work with a company like us).

    Of all the points mentioned above, the last one is worth diving into a little deeper, because people often don’t fully think through the implications of it.

    Alarm systems are designed to protect your family and what is probably your most valuable asset–your home (or, in the case of commercial alarm systems, your business).

    So, the question that occurs to us is why would you not want to entrust your single biggest asset (your home or your business) and the safety of your family to a professional? Consider the following scenarios:

    • If someone filed a lawsuit against you for whatever reason for $1 million, would you represent yourself in court, or would you go to a professional?
    • If you came down with a potentially life-threatening illness, would you try to treat yourself or consult with a doctor?
    • If the brakes on your family’s car started failing, would you fix them yourself or take it to an auto repair shop to get fixed?

    For most people who aren’t attorneys, doctors, or certified auto repair technicians, the answer to all of the above questions is clear.  There is a reason companies don’t sell “DIY” kits for defending yourself in a lawsuit, treating serious medical problems, or repairing your car.  Nobody would buy them, because everybody recognizes the value of working with professionals when the consequences of failure are high.

    And yet…through aggressive marketing, the companies that sell DIY alarm equipment have managed to convince many people that they don’t need professional assistance installing and maintaining their home security system.  The facts simply don’t support this–recent studies have found that a staggering number of these DIY systems that are purchase are either never installed or, if they are installed, are never monitored (turning them into nothing more than expensive noisemakers).

    Is that really the approach you want to take to protect the most important things in your life?