One of the most important decisions a security company can make today is partnering with the right monitoring company. Looking at how fast technology is moving on the residential side of security, as well as on the commercial side, it is vitally important to work with a central station that is state-of-the-art and able to handle all of your current—as well as future—needs.
And working with a central station that can provide services beyond just security and fire alarm monitoring (more on this later), including options for smart home or smart building services, is a good strategy, as these services provide additional avenues for recurring revenue, creating stickier customers and, ultimately, getting you better monitoring rates as you grow your business (more on this later as well).
Before you can negotiate the best rates, though, there are several factors to consider in determining what central station you should partner with, which will help you create a short list of prospective companies.
First Things First
When making a short list of monitoring companies, start by looking at the level of competence of each company, starting with accreditation. Here is a list of important designations you will want to see:
Underwriters Laboratories provides a UL Listing to a company that it has determined meets its minimum requirements, which are based on UL’s published and nationally recognized standards for safety. UL has built a reputation as a reliable third party that certifies, validates, tests, verifies, inspects, audits, advises and educates.
TMA Five Diamond Designation
It is vitally important that the monitoring company that you work with has achieved this designation with The Monitoring Association (TMA), the leading association for all things related to monitoring. The TMA Five Diamond designation is granted annually to monitoring centers that satisfy all of the requirements of the five points of excellence, which include:
- Commitment to random inspections and quality criteria standards by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as FM Approvals, Intertek/ETL and UL.
- Commitment to the highest levels of customer service.
- Commitment to ongoing job-related education and testing by having 100% of its central station operators certified using the TMA online training series.
- Commitment to raising the industry standards through TMA membership and participation in its activities.
- Commitment to reducing false dispatches.
Take a Tour
This may seem like an obvious step in the overall process but a vitally important one that will help you learn some valuable information about the company you are going to be trusting with all of your customers’ monitoring needs. Some of the things that a tour will reveal include:
- Company Culture: One of the keys to good company culture is in the support, training and work environment provided to employees, as well as excellent customer service (more on this next).
- Customer Service: This goes hand in hand with good company culture, as any successful company is founded on providing stellar customer service and support. You want to make sure the company has excellent response times, low false alarm rates, minimal wait times for technical support calls, etc. Ask for any testimonials or referrals from current dealers the company is working with.
- Technology: You want to work with a monitoring company that supports a variety of equipment, such as Honeywell, AlarmNet, GE, DSC, DMP, Bosch, Alarm.com, as well as all formats of digital dialers and AES.
- Back-up, redundancy: Ask the company what type of back-up and redundancy plans they have in place in case of loss of power, bad weather or any catastrophic event. Do they have a redundant facility or backup generators? Has the facility dealt with any of these issues before and how did they deal with them?
In terms of the basic monitoring services that you should offer your customers—in addition to alarm monitoring for both residential commercial—you want to make sure the monitoring company you work with can handle Internet monitoring for clients with no landline or cellular monitoring through AlarmNet, Honeywell’s new backup or alternate transmission path system that is available in cellular and Internet versions. And moving beyond conventional alarm system monitoring, you can offer monitoring for temperature, power failures, water levels, sump pump operation, humidity and much more.
As noted earlier, you want to work with a modern central station that is able to support all of your monitoring needs, both residential and commercial. Moving beyond just basic alarm system monitoring, you also want to work with a central station that offers you additional services to offer your customers, which will make them active users of their systems and more likely to stay with you, add more monthly services, which adds to your recurring revenue and ROI.
Some additional services for dealers that can bring in additional revenue include:
- Periodic Test Monitoring
- Internet Monitoring
- Cellular Monitoring through AlarmNet
- Open/Close Monitoring
- Backup Communications Monitoring
- Fire Alarm and Sprinkler Supervision Monitoring
- Process Monitoring
- Daily Dialer Tests
- Account Status Reports
- Rotating Call Lists
- Technical Assistance
Getting the Best Rate
As you can see from the areas covered above, there are multiple factors involved in getting the best rate, so be sure to consider everything when you are visiting monitoring facilities, meeting leadership at each company, and getting rates for the different levels of service you want to offer your clients. By going through the areas discussed above you will begin to see the subtle, yet important differences between each of the companies on your short list, making the decision easier and more knowledge-based.
When it comes to negotiating rates with a monitoring company, keep in mind that some central stations offer better rates for alarm companies based on the number of customers they currently have, as well as lower rates or discounts when they reach certain quantity thresholds, so be sure to ask about what is offered by each company.
Learn More about Picking the Right Monitoring Company
Overall, rates are similar from company to company, so factoring in everything discussed above is key. Contact Security Alliance to learn more about the services and rates we can provide.