This is a good topic to address for folks exploring an expanded footprint (not just for DIY) - so thanks. Happily for DIY alarm companies, some states will exempt certain DIY business models from alarm licensing, but you have to do the research on a state-by-state basis. And the risk for not being licensed is high: if you break the rules and get caught in one state, it can have a domino effect on applications for licensure and/or renewals in other states. To those who do undertake this process – especially if you plan to be licensed and operate nationally -  you may want to bear in mind that the challenges do not end with obtaining the various licenses: these licenses also must be maintained. That maintenance may be more rigorous then your home state, and can include continuing education and ongoing testing for the qualifier (which may have to be done in-state), annual fingerprinting, and more. One of my personal favorites was having to fly to one state in the middle of the country, simply to have a picture taken: they would not accept a photo provided over the internet by any organization that could have easily verified my identity, such as a nationally recognized testing center (i.e. Prometric). Amazing… but true.
Peter M. Rogers
    In regards to the DYI monitoring discussion, I also have questions regarding security monitoring. I understand that central stations respond to reported triggers such as fire, intrusion, CO, etc., however when a central station responds to viewing cameras and engaging in 2 way audio communications, are they then providing security guard services? NYS requires a Watch Guard license if a person or company is engaged in patrolling and observing for the protection of people and property. Each employee under the Watch Guard license has to be a licensed security guard. When a central station is viewing cameras for security purposes, it would seem that it would be no different then a security guard viewing cameras at a customers site. I know the law states an exception for central stations however I interpret that to mean that central stations can monitor the response of the panel and not engage in security guard services monitoring. The DYI company's are also proving this type of security guard services. Do you have have an opinion or clarification on this issue?
Tim C
    Interesting observation because video monitoring services span a wide spectrum, including

  • viewing and responding to video cllps when alarm activated
  • viewing streaming video when alarm activated
  • viewing video when cameras activated
  • viewing video periodically or constantly
  • interactive video and audio service, such as doorman and video escort service

    Without question video services can compete with on site guard service, though the services are indeed quite different.  For the most part, companies that provide on site guard service are licensed and the guards are vetted,  licensed or certified.  I am not aware of any guard licenses that classify a remote video monitoring operator as a guard, or a video monitoring provider as a guard company.
    Guard response to alarm conditions is also distinguished from on site guard service, and central stations are typically exempt from guard license requirements.
    Before venturing into any business you need to know what licenses you need.  The DIY security market is of course an operation that lends itself to nationwide license requirements, particularly when the DIY comes with monitoring, which it frequently does.  For alarm license advice contact Nicoletta Lakatos, Esq at 516 747 6700 ext 311 or NLakatos@KirschenbaumEsq.com.