Question: camera placement 



    Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this forum to keep us informed. I have a customer that is requesting two pan/tilt/zoom cameras to be installed on the outside of his home. Being P/T/Z cameras, we have no control over where he will aim them. I'm not sure what our liability would be if he uses them improperly, or if we can legally install them knowing the improper viewing possibilities. 

Terry Hemmer, pres.

GMS Security Services,LLC

New Vernon, NJ



It would be a building code issue if it were a smoke detector camera. Not allowed by code in ny






    The camera placement should be legal when you install it.  You shouldn't be reponsible if the subscriber misuses the system.


Question : length of contract


Hi Ken,

    All else being equal, how would the length of a contract effect multiples for a sale?  Either ORIGINAL length of contract being 1,2,3,4,5 years or REMAINING length of contract having 1,2,3,4,5 years left.  Is there a difference?

Also, is a monthly contract worth anything?






    More important than length of contract is the contract itself.  Using the Standard Form Contracts will ensure the maximum valuation.

    The length of the term is not going to affect the valuation significantly, especially if you are looking at 3 to 5 year terms.  Month to month terms would justify reduction in valuation, though they would still be marketable.

    Longer term contracts in original term have the highest valuation.  Contracts in expired original term have slightly less value when they go into renewal, either month to month or other extended renewal term.  

    Even month to month contracts have value.  The buyer would be looking at the history of the accounts.  Of course valuation is much less than longer term contracts, but also much more than no contracts at all.

    The curious part of your question, from my perspective, is why would an alarm company owner put himself in the position of having to ask about anything less than properly drafted, long term contracts?  I am trying to come up with an analogy, since repeated discussion limited to the alarm industry doesn't seem to get through to some.  Would you build up a great retail jewelry business, put the business up for sale, and then decide to start selling fake stones hoping that your potential buyer won't notice or won't care?  

    Why invest your time and money building up an alarm business with RMR that is going to have less value than it could have if you invested in a proper contract.  Seems like installing alarm panels that don't work because you can get them cheaper.  


Comment on ADT’s $3.7 million settlement with door-knockers


            Recently [see October 18, 2013 article] ADT reached a settlement agreement with three security companies who were interfering with their customer relationships.  These companies were showing up at the homes of ADT customers, pretending to be affiliated with ADT, and telling the customers that their systems were due for an upgrade.  ADT went to court over these deceptive sales practices.  A settlement was eventually reached, with the three companies agreeing to injunctions from such practices and paying damages of $3.7 million to ADT.

            This is not the end of the line when it comes to these types of battles.  ADT, as well as many other security companies, will be forced to pursue additional litigation to prevent these deceptive sales practices with their customers.  Losing the customer is not the only problem security companies face in these situations.  Misrepresentation to customers is a huge issue because of the gigantic impact it can have on a company’s reputation.  Consumers look for mutual trust when entering into relationships with home security companies.  Failure to protect consumers from door knockers who use deceptive sales tactics to steal away customers reflects negatively on the security company and could deter consumers from using that company to install their alarm system in the future.

             This settlement demonstrates the importance of using well-drafted contracts when entering into a sales or monitoring agreement for alarm systems.  Companies who neglect to use proper contracts will not be in ADT’s position when competitors attempt to steal away consumers.  Rather, a poor contract can place an alarm company in a helpless position in today’s competitive environment.  Contracts which have been protecting alarm companies across the country can be found at https://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/page/alarm-contracts.  Once a competitor begins approaching your customers, it may be too late to protect yourself.

Jesse Kirschenbaum

Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum




December 4, 2013   12 noon EST  Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4919260455763006721

     Title:  10 Things Residential Security Alarm Companies should consider BEFORE entering the world of Commercial Engineered System Fire Alarms

      Presented by:  Bob Williams, President of Briscoe Protective Systems and his Management Team. 

Briscoe Protective Systems has been in the industry for 35 Years and has made the transition from a Residential Alarm Company in the late 70’s to a Engineered System Fire and Security Company that is an SDM Top 100 Company. Find us on the web at www.BriscoeProtective.com or on LinkedIn under Companies, Facebook and Twitter@BriscoeProSys 

      Description:  There is a big difference between installing Residential Fire Systems and Commercial Engineered Fire Systems and there are “Key Factors” that Security Company’s should consider before attempting to go into this lucrative but challenging market.

      Who should attend:  Alarm company owners and fire techs.