As a do-it-yourself’er I’ve taken on my fair share of projects. I’ve installed my own home security system, of course, wired up the whole house with CAT6, set-up home automation, overhauled surround sound for the living room; there’s always something to play with. I always end up learning a whole lot more that I thought I would. Every once in while I wish someone would have told me what I was getting into.
If you’re a technophile or gadget fanatic you will enjoy a DIY security project. But, the hard part is not the installation and programming, it’s the design. Every design decision has a ripple effect that can increase or decrease costs significantly.
Your DIY success will be directly related to the amount of time and attention you give to the design and product selection process. The whole project gets easier when you take the time to plan out the design.
It’s easy to get excited and put devices in every corner and closet. But, before products, technologies, and device locations I need be able to keep the end in mind. So, I start with one simple question, “what do you want to protect?”. The more specific the answer is, the better.
Once you have an idea of what you need to protect and how you need your burglar alarm system to operate you can go on the hunt for the product. You can buy everything online but do price comparisons to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Make telephone tech support a deal breaker; of they don’t have it don’t buy it.
Electronic Security Professional (ESP) keeps up to date on the latest technologies, industry trends, and best new products. If you need a high-end solution an ESP will have a list of dealer-only products available to solve complex problems. Real professionals can be difficult to find and they’re always busy so when you find one make them your friend.
It takes years to develop a familiarity with the different types of technologies and how to take full advantage of them in a physical environment. A professional design can get you the protection you need with a world class product all within a given budget. But, be careful not to get stuck with a sales person.
If you just met the guy and ten minutes in he’s got it all figured out for you and wants you to sign a three-year lease contract so they can get the install done the next day; you’re talking to a salesman. Run!
Stay away from the “big box” national companies that hire celebrity endorsers and run commercials during the evening news. They do have smart professionals on the payroll, but you’re not likely to get a meeting with them unless your spending big money.
Start with the local companies and ask to speak with the manager or owner. Have a candid conversation about the quality of service you need. When you find someone that knows what they’re doing stick with them and they’ll take good care of you.
Have you done a DIY home security project?