Danger signs to watch for
Once you’ve settled on a company and a security plan, you’ll set an installation date. When it arrives, you have a few more red flags to watch for. The company you choose should give you a date of installation and a time at which your contractor will show up. In most cases, you’ll need to be there to meet and greet the people who will work on your home.
If someone arrives before the appointed time, you’re not obligated to let that person into your home. And if anything about the person who comes to meet you makes you uncomfortable, call the main office of your security provider and tell them about your concerns. A new technician could be sent to you, or the company could inform you that the person who has arrived isn’t affiliated with the company at all.
Proper contractors will arrive with signals that show you they are trustworthy, such as:
- A uniform. Clothing is a signal of trust. Your technician should be neat, clean and wearing clothing stamped with the logo of the company you’re working with.
- Company identification. Your technician should have some sort of business card or company paperwork that identifies their employment.
- Your contract. You should have a written agreement about what will be installed and how much it will cost. Your contractor should provide that to you on arrival and have you sign it.
- Personal identification. You should know your technician’s full name, and you should have a badge number or employee number to reference if you need it.
There’s no shame in asking for this information when someone arrives on your doorstep and wants to come inside your home. If the person you’re speaking with balks at this request, don’t allow access.
While your contractor needs to show you identification, you don’t need to reciprocate. You aren’t required to provide proof of your name, address, Social Security Number or other personal ID. Beware of contractors that ask for information like this, as they might be hoping to steal your identity.
Supervise your installation
If you’ve worked with contractors before, you might be accustomed to letting workers in and then leaving to go about your everyday business. A security system is a little different. Typically, you’re required to stay home all day long. Your installation will progress in a series of predictable, smooth steps. The contractor will:
- Go over your contract. You’ll discuss any plans you made when you ordered, and you’ll talk about any enhancements you might like to make to the original agreement. You should have a complete understanding of the costs of the system after this conversation.
- Walk through your home. Your technician may have questions about how specific rooms are used or the flow through your house. Those questions help your team to optimize the placement of your equipment. Don’t be surprised if you go through every room together. Your contractor needs to know about everything to do the job well.
- Install the equipment. The type of system you have will help to determine how long the work takes. If you have a wireless system, for example, it might move into your home quicker than a hard-wired one. The number of monitors and cameras can also add time. In general, expect the team to be in your house for a few hours.
- Clean up the work. Drilling holes, snaking wires and other tasks can be messy. Your contractor should clean up any disruption when the system is installed, so you don’t have to do it.
- Demonstrate the system. You may understand the theory behind the equipment you purchased, but it’s different to see all of those tools in your house. Your contractor should go over every feature and function with you.
- Answer your questions. Queries about your bill, your equipment and your security should be asked and answered professionally.
Reputable companies offer customer service departments that can answer any lingering concerns you have after installation day. But during the work, you will have the opportunity to connect with a security professional in person. Take advantage of that time, and make sure you understand how to make the most of your investment.
What to do if something goes wrong
We’ve all been duped from time to time. Thieves can be professional liars, and it’s sometimes difficult to separate those with honest intentions from those who hope to scam you. If you notice something amiss after the installation, get the authorities involved.
If the system doesn’t work as expected, call your company and ask for them to make it right. Perhaps a small fuse or a tiny wire is askew, and with an adjustment, everything will work as expected.
It’s important to note that most installations run smoothly, particularly when consumers work with known companies with a long track record of success. But when it comes to security, it pays to be vigilant. By taking a few extra steps, you’ll ensure that your investment in your home doesn’t result in more hassles for you.