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Common fire alarm contract Q&A
February 28, 2019
Common fire alarm contract Q&A
    The following exchange is fairly common Q&A so I decided to share it.
    Recently we have been getting some push back with our all-in-one fire alarm agreement.  Here is our situation:
Q.    A builder pays us for the fire alarm installation, then we have to get the new owner to sign the agreement.

A.    The builder should be signing the All in One too, but often won't and you can do the job on the builders form, provided you comply with the insurance requirement and name builder as additional insured.  But you must get the owner to sign the All in One for the RMR services, and that should be done when signing builder's form.  Otherwise job may not pay to do.

Q.    There seems to be a lot of sections of the agreement that are “more” applicable if this included sale of equipment. We just want them to sign up for monitoring, inspections.

A.    Most of the All in One deals with the RMR items.  Use this form for those items.  In the installation area just write - system already installed; or existing system

 Q.    What are the circumstances you would recommend the “Fire Alarm Monitoring Contract”?

A.    If you are doing only monitoring.  The form does not cover inspection or repair service.  Since you do that work, use the All in One 

Q.    There is more details to put this in perspective that I will share between you and I. We install commercial fire system in residential homes. So we install about 10 – 15 per month. We don’t have time to chase customers that have a hard time agreeing to our terms or making sense out of what they are signing.

A.    You don't use the Fire All in One for residential.  Use the Residential All in One, it covers fire.

 Q.    It was my thought to have a “more simple” agreement for them with the right amount of agreement legal reference.

A.    You can't.  We don't include provisions that aren't necessary.  Anything you take out will diminish your protection

Q.    Please let me know your thoughts, trying to determine if we should purchase the Fire Alarm Monitoring Contract.

A.    If you will be doing ONLY MONITORING

Q.    We own all new fire all-in-one contracts already FYI

 A.    great.  Use it for commercial work
    Unless your business model is mass marketing and on-line contract execution it’s not uncommon to get some push-back on the alarm contract terms.  Let’s face it, the terms seem rather onerous to a subscriber; one-sided.  But that’s because they haven’t taken the time to consider the relationship and the nature of your services.  That may be partially your fault for not introducing the concepts expressed in the contract.
    Naturally there are sharp contrasts between your sales hype, your website pitch and your promotional material used in the sales presentation.  All those things promote the need for the systems and the efficacy of your system and services.  The contract on the other hand expressed the limitations of the system and services, and more particularly, the limits of your liability.  Of course no sales person focuses on the contract provisions, and you don’t have to.  You do have to present the contract and give the customer the opportunity to read it.  You shouldn’t be explaining it, and other than the strictly business terms, you shouldn’t be changing it unless you have advice of counsel.  
    So what might you say in response to “what the hell is this [referencing the contract]?  
    We are not becoming your insurance company
    Our services are designed to assist in detecting certain conditions, but the systems are not infallible and that’s why we suggest you carry sufficient insurance. 
    We do offer more equipment and services to further reduce your risk of loss, but even then we cannot guarantee that no loss will occur.  
    Our services are the “gold standard” in the industry, but no reputable alarm company will offer any different contract provisions. 
    For the best and most up to date contractual protection be sure to use the Standard Form Agreements at    They are the “gold standard” in the industry.  For assistance with your contract needs please contact our Contract Administrator Eileen Wagda at 516 747 6700 x 312


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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
516 747 6700