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The number of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) security systems and products are growing and the options are tempting.

But, DIY security isn’t for everyone. If your DIY security system doesn’t work right or isn’t installed right, it could be more of a pain than it is worth.

There are three basic options for security:

  • professionally installed and monitored (like QEI Security & Technology)
  • DIY professionally-monitored security
  • DIY self-monitored security

Self-monitored security is really in a completely separate category because you will not be paying a monthly monitoring fee. These are products like Canary, Piper and iSmartAlarm. All charge around $200 for the equipment and the system is self-monitored (which means a monitoring center and the police are not automatically notified).

If you’re deciding between DIY monitored security and professionally-installed security, here are six things to consider before making a decision:

1. Installation

How comfortable are you that you can properly install and service the system yourself? If you think you can do it, then a DIY system is a great option. Typically, the DIY equipment is shipped directly to you with instructions. If you’re having trouble, there is a toll-free number to call for assistance.

Most professional security companies, including QEI Security & Technology, offer free installation because we know how important it is for the system to be installed correctly. Security technicians know the best practices for placing security cameras, door/window sensors, motion detectors and more. This placement can make a huge difference in the effectiveness and operation of the security device.

2. Service

If your DIY equipment breaks, you may have to ship the equipment back to the company and wait for replacement parts – this could take weeks! If you need service or have a question, there is a toll-free number to call for assistance.

Professional security companies are generally based in the communities they serve. QEI Security & Technology has five offices in South Carolina with local technicians on-call and office staff answering all calls. Plus, QEI Security offers a free service warranty with all systems, so you only pay if new parts are needed (all parts have a one-year warranty).

3. Cost

With a DIY system, you will generally pay for the equipment upfront, with lower monthly rates. A professionally-installed security system, like one from QEI Security & Technology will cost more per month, but all of the equipment is free. Basically, you are financing your equipment over time vs. paying for it upfront.

If you pay $350 for DIY equipment and $14.99/mo., your total cost at the end of one year would be $529. With a QEI Security system, you would get the same equipment free and pay $39.99/mo., your total cost for one year would be $479.

4. Equipment

Many DIY providers use encrypted and proprietary equipment, which means the equipment will ONLY work with their programming so you cannot change companies and still use the equipment you paid for. Plus, DIY equipment is often not as reliable or as well-made as the equipment offered through professional security companies.

If the security equipment is manufactured by a reputable company like 2GIG, Honeywell, DSC, Qlosys, etc. then the equipment can be reprogrammed and reused by another security company. Plus, this is the most reliable equipment in the industry – make sure you read equipment reviews before you commit to a brand!

5. Smartphone app

If your DIY security system comes with a smartphone app, make sure you try out the app before you purchase! As you know, not all apps are created equal – some are clunky and difficult to use.

QEI Security & Technology partners with Alarm.com to provide the top-rated smartphone app in the industry. Alarm.com is constantly improving the features and functionality – with no additional cost to users.

6. Monitoring

Make sure to ask every security company about their monitoring station. Find out where the station is located geographically and ask if it has achieved TMA Five Diamond status.

QEI Security & Technology uses a TMA Five Diamond rated monitoring center that is UL and FM approved. The average response time is 45 seconds.