KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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More comments on Does DYI mean doom and gloom for residential market
September 25, 2019
More comments on does DYI mean doom and gloom for residential market from article on September 14, 2019
Many of these DIY systems are like toys. While I must admit, any type of security is better than none, some of these systems really just give the homeowner a false sense of security. I have gone on their websites and they would advertise "and for even greater savings, check out our "open box" section. Where do you think all these open boxes came from? They came from people who purchased their toy alarm systems and returned them because they realized that they were crap.
There are many towns who now have very strict alarm ordinances. They only allow one false alarm per calendar year. For a Do It Yourself-er, how many attempts do you think it will take to possibly get it right? I think what they perceive as savings will go up in smoke by way of fines. And for towns who want to punish the alarm installation companies for customer caused false alarms, I could see them refusing to respond to a DIY installed system.
Next, these all in one systems don't give you more than one type of magnet for door or window contacts. I keep a variety of magnets on my trucks, just because there is no one magnet that will work on every opening.
Lastly, the Millennials are the target market for these DIY systems. My experience tells me that about 20% of them will try a DIY system. The other 80% are lazy and they would be glad to pay someone to come to their homes just to wipe their butts. So I don't see this DIY craze as a harbinger of doom for the alarm industry. The bigger companies that offer "Free Alarm Systems" are of much greater concern. I have had people ask "how can you compare your price to FREE?" I explain to them that they are comparing a bottom shelf system (both quality and features) to the equipment that I use which is vastly superior. In a good number of cases, people realize that with a free system, they are paying premium prices for monitoring, but getting no value for their money. Besides, people who shop security and base all of their decisions soley on price don't generally become customers anyway.
So NO, I'm not worried about the DIY craze. It may hurt our industry, but I don't think it will kill it.
John from New Jersey
Just a comment on the DIY issues everyone has. The Subscribers are not educated on the facts of the services they are receiving.
We are finding more and more DIY systems are being broken into and because there is no response they are slowly converting back to a professionally installed system. It is about educating your potential subscribers as to what they are actually receiving for that low monthly and the misleading promises the DIY market is perceiving. We have had our own guards responding to alarms since for over 69 years. The fact that the police stopped responding without verification in the mid 70’s is nothing new. Put out your own educational advertising out without putting yourself in a liable advertising campaign, build those relationships with the local police so they in turn will push the public to go with a professionally installed and monitored systems and you will see it start to turn, yes it will be slow but the battle is actually educating the public as to the misleading advertising and what reality is.
Using newer Technology allows us to provide better systems to the end user.
Be well and good luck
please post as
I think the DIY companies are selling a lot of misrepresentations which consumers may assign a false meaning to because it seems to appeal to inelegance. Lower monthly rates, No contract......well, you don't need to sign a contract to buy something from a shopping cart, so they miss that deception. What they also may not really understand is no one to come fix it when it does not work or when a cell tower drops, and so on. Consumers don't realize that the devices not supervised and easy to defeat, they don't realize they just took the job if self-monitored of a 24/7 central station operator. As a pro fisherman I can tell you that fish bite when you’re distracted and not able to react fast and disasters comes when you least expect it, at a party and phone in purse on silent while you’re having that extra glass of wine. Not to mention what if they are sleeping and overcome by carbon monoxide or worse a fire with the phone no-where in site and can’t respond. What if out of the county on vacation and have no wifi or cell service, what is the international number for 911 to the US.
Only fools cheapskates and uneducated would consider no monitoring if they realized the what if's they don't think about when they are getting suckered by what I call straight out deceptive marketing.
I am rather certain when a consumer want's to adopt monitoring there will be terms of service equivalent to a contract https://simplisafe.com/terms-of-service as who in their right mind would monitor without a proper contract and take on the liability. What about 350% faster response. Who verified that one? The police Love us ?????? because we verify? How... some po-dunk department no one ever heard of. And cost, well it’s just fuzzy math in the end when you factor all that is missing.
I think as professionals we could do a better job education the masses. We would all get lift from that if we started attacking back via our web page and social media with truths like the article in a trade publication where a forensic expert picket it apart or the Forbes article.
I find that this “doom and gloom” reaction has been about Par for the course in our industry. Every time a new issue comes up, a sizeable portion of the industry goes into panic mode and considers getting out. Unfortunately, if that is how a company is run, they might as well give up now because market conditions are going to change over and over again. To survive, they will have to adapt.
As far as DIY is concerned, I would ask your readers this. When Home Depot and Lowes started selling Lumber, Plumbing, electrical and lighting, did all the pro installers go out of business? Or How about, when Best Buy opened up, did all of the pro-audio and tech repair guys pack it up and get out of the market? The answers to both questions are obvious (there are more installers now than ever), even if the reasoning is not.
Unfortunately, when we go into panic mode, we fail to consider the fact that DIY is a market that thrives entirely on simply being the low cost leader. In fact, we completely forget that DIY has been around as early as Radioshack, yet here we all still stand. The game is just different now. We also forget that for years we have been training our sales, service and retention teams to promote our companies based on the value that we bring to the table against our competitors. Yet we seem to have completely forgotten that in the case of DIY.
The reason that all of the other professions above still exist is, simply put, that we bring legitimate values to our customers. All of which cost labor of trained professionals, and YES, that does mean additional cost. But if sold correctly, does not need to mean a lost customer. In fact, when a customer understands the value of what they just paid for, it could be argued that they will be a more satisfied customer in the long run.
When we are faced with a new prospect who is a potential DIY customer, we have to be informed of the value we bring to the table and ask our customers just a few questions.
1. Is the customer 100% sure that they can install this system correctly?
2. If they are going to “Self Monitor”, are they sure that they can be the sole point of protection to their family and possessions, 24/7/365…even in the case of fire and carbon monoxide? Can they realistically know they will be awake or able to respond when an emergency happens?
3. Do they feel comfortable servicing the equipment if something doesn’t go right? Even on holidays, weekends and at 2am in the morning. Nothing every breaks at an opportune time.
4. Do they know how many trips up and down a ladder that it really takes to install a camera on the 2nd floor, Only to hope that the Wi-Fi signal to the camera is strong enough when they’re done?
5. If required in your area, are they legally able to register your own alarm system and are you going to remember to pay the registration fees?
6. If they end up not liking their installer…. Who are they going to fire?
We all need to understand the value we bring. If you are only here to be the cheapest, I would argue that your company is probably already dead.
This is in response to "Doom and gloom for residential market"
I obviously don’t know who "Anon" is but .......
Whoever it is, they obviously don’t have any insight into the alarm installation trade and by the way, what the hell is the "Alarms communication delivery business" I presume it’s a middle man between a potential customer and a monitoring company. (?). I would guess that is the reason why Anon doesn't know what the response should be to the alleged claims of the DIY guys. Anon is not actually in the alarm business.
If any alarm installer cannot come up with legitimate responses to these half-truths and what amounts to propaganda regarding central station monitoring, and traditional alarm installation companies, they’d better hang it up now. They’ll never survive the future evolution of this trade.
So …. they say that end users should make the call to the authorities themselves. ? A Central station is there 100 percent of the time. Your cell phone works what percentage of the time? What? You don’t know? You mean you NEVER shut it off for a meeting or in a doctors office and forget to turn it on again until you get home? ( to witness the burglary or fire that you missed? ) You say you have NEVER been in a dead zone and not received a call for an hour or more because you were in a building parking lot, an elevator, a commuter train, a business meeting, visiting someone in the hospital, meeting your mistress in a motel?
With regard to the DIY sellers alleged comment about the language in traditional alarm contracts, the response is:..... have your potential DIY customers read the EULA ( End User License Agreement) of these DIY companies to see how similar they sound to alarm contracts? They say that there is no contract but " Just check the box if you agree to the XYZ companies "Terms and Conditions" And if you’d like to read the Terms and conditions, (and you’ve got a law degree and a free hour or so) just click here!
Hey Ken, I just thought of a new product for you. You can just enclose a monitoring agreement, a sales contract, a disclaimer notice in a sealed envelope and on the outside you put an empty check box with the instructions to "check" if you accept the terms and conditions inside. ..... or you can open the envelope if you have a law degree and an hour to spare.
Anon then goes on to say we should "understand that this isn’t Anon’s point of view" and then embraces the unbelievable misconception that the " Residential Burglary Market is the biggest casualty of the technology explosion and doubts it will rebound anywhere close to the volume it experienced in the past". And then goes on and makes the outrageous claim that the Baby boomers are becoming a smaller segment of the population. Actually, if an alarm company cannot adapt to the changes that are taking place in the trade today, then they will fall by the wayside. Evolution dictates that if you don’t adapt, you die. The progress of man and industry says that more will choose not to die and will encompass the changes that are occurring in our industry.
Embrace the technology, educate and transform yourself to meet the newest challenges. Many of my contemporaries have fallen by the wayside by opting out or simply fading away as they refused to be drawn into the 21st century, heels first. I’m fortunate at my age to be able to adapt and keep up with the changes. I’m tackling technologies today that would have been totally unimaginable by this 12 year old kid building a crystal radio so many years ago. I know there are people out there with the imagination, knowledge and fortitude to evolve this trade to the next level.
Oh, and hey Anon, Get your facts straight. The estimated peak year of the baby boomers is 2035 and then they will gradually decline. And I’m guessing with the extended longevity we’re experiencing now, it’ll be longer than that. But more importantly, between now and then they are becoming the wealthiest portion of the population. Sell, Sell, Sell!
Hey Anon. I think it’s time you opted out.
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