There is a new house being built in my neighborhood that I am
interested in. Surprisingly the contractor told me there is no alarm
system being installed. He told me that I could hire someone who is
licensed to come in and install the wiring while the walls are open.
I don't know why a contractor would build such a nice house, and not
bother to install even a bare bones alarm system, but anyway, how much
does an alarm guy charge to wire up a 2 story colonial with the walls
open? I live in Long Island, NY.
Maybe if it was Ranger America, they always do it at a loss in hopes
of getting monitoring. I wouldn't touch it for less than a grand
unless I was getting a monitoring contract signed up front.
Think about it...at minimum:
20 openings= $40 in contacts,
2000' 22/2 = $50,
1000' 22/4= $40,
boxes for keypads/panel =$10,
1 man 8 hours @ $40/hr (wage plus overhead)= $320.
That's a total cost of $450 to the dealer for the first trip. Plus
you have to figure at least one more trip to trim/ohm out + fix any
fubars made by other tradesman, there is another $160 in labor.
That price was for a modest ~2000 sq ft. size house, not including
extras such as smoke detectors, motion detectors, glass break
detectors, CO detectors, double hung windows, cameras, etc..
What constantly amazes me is that security always seems to be an
afterthought - and then some people think it should be *free*.
Companies like ADT and Brinks have trained the consumer into believing
a "security system" consists of a couple of door contacts and one
motion detector - installed for next to nothing. The problem is
these companies are selling 'paper', not security. All they want is
the monthly monitoring.
Brinks, at least, will put in a fairly decent system if you're willing
to pay for the installation. We have a Brinks system with
- 4 monitored doors
- 8 monitored windows
- 2 hybrid (PIR/microwave) motion detectors
- smoke detector
- something else I've forgotten, making 16 total inputs
- 2 LCD control panels
Some of the switches and wiring was already installed and connected to
an unmonitored alarm system that was present but not working when we
bought the house, so we didn't have to pay for those. We did pay to
add a couple of sensors to the garage, which is actually a workshop.
There are no wireless sensors - everything is hardwired.
So will ADT..
You obviously value your families safety and decided that 3-doors and
a motion was not going to cut it. Congratulations. Especially for
adding the monitored smokes.
The problem lies in the ZERO down and $99 systems they take a loss on.
It has reduced the perceived value vs. actual security costs. It
takes almost 3 years to recover the cost of a "free" install, so the
big companies are making customers sign a 5 year monitoring contract.
It's a marketing ploy, and works very well. A 60 month contract @ $30
comes out to $1800. Now, ask them to install the same system (3 doors
+ motion) - but as a "local system" (no monitoring) and see what price
they come back with.
Now, because of $99 installs - most folks seem to think that adding
components should be just as cheap. When I tell some customers it
will be $130 to get a dual tech motion installed they balk. "What!
You want $130 to install a motion - but my whole alarm only costs
$99!". Hell - the Internet has made it worse... "What!, $80 to
install a window contact! - I can buy a window contact for $3.00
online.." They don't think I deserve to get paid for trucks, tools,
equipment, insurance, wiring & programming expertise, etc....
It's just like the cell phones - sure, you get a 'free' Motorola Razor
- when you sign up for a 2 year contract - but lose it or break it
without the insurance and you'll quickly see they ain't free.
A famous salesman's close in the industry is the "refrigerator close",
I've never used it... But it goes like this:
Salesman: "Nice refrigerator Mr. Smith, how much does one of those
suckers go for?"
Mr. Smith: "Ahh thanks! That baby cost me 2 grand."
Salesman: "Wow, it sure is sweet... So how much money worth of food
would you say is in there?"
Mr. Smith: "Oh I don't know - maybe $300 worth?"
Salesman: "So let me get this right Mr. Smith, you paid $2000 to
protect $300 worth of food - yet you think $xxx.xx is too much to
protect your entire home, it's contents, and the people living in it?"
Now I remember the forgotten zones: two windows in the kitchen. All of
the ground-level windows have reed switches, while most upper-floor
windows don't (because you'd need a ladder to get to them). But there's
a small rear deck with stairs down to ground level, putting the kitchen
windows within reach, so they have reed switches too.
So: 4 doors, 9 windows, 2 PIR, and a smoke detector.
By the way, the Brinks installer seemed pretty good. He installed an
8-zone input expander at no charge, probably because it made his job
easier (provides 16 separate inputs for 16 circuits so he doesn't have
to wire any switches in series) but it also gives switch-level
reporting of which switch is open. (The old system had only 6 zones,
so most zones contained multiple switches, though fortunately they all
had individual wires back to the alarm panel.
That's a great opportunity. I imagine a few hundred bucks for
a job like that. In my experience, the alarm guys are really
good with cable. Have 'em pre-install anything else you might
need at the same time -- some speaker wires, CAT-5 which you
could use for Ethernet and/or 'phone?
You can never have too many pre-installed cables behind the
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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