It’s a standard norm to get 3 quotes/bids for any kind of project, especially security. We totally understand and respect that, but you should understand why you should go for the best value, and NOT the lowest price!
Recently, there’s one situation where a prospective client kept asking for updates on our quotes because of changes recommended by other vendors. We held a meeting about this situation as we had spent quite an amount of time for some unreasonable changes and found out that this prospective client actually didn’t know what they needed. As a security professional, it’s our responsibility to educate our clients about what their security needs may encompass, what their challenges are and how our solutions can help them.
Communication is very critical for making the right decision. However, we didn’t see a mutual communication here. What they said is either, “I don’t know”, and “Submit whatever we ask for and we will compare with other bids”. The fact is, what they had asked for was not what they really needed (why would you need fiber optic if wireless is so feasible with less cost?!). The other vendor (who is their previous contractor) used tactics to upsell them with more and more products which were not really necessary for the situation of this client, especially with their price restraints. There are just so many products and solutions out there and as a professional, it is our responsibility to educate our clients and tell the truth what is the best for them. We understood that the client wanted to compare apples to apples and decide on the lowest price bid only. However, it doesn’t work this way.
Please understand that security is not a low bid game. Security is so important, and each client’s situation is so unique that there’s no cookie cutter solution.
We never believe “the cheapest price gets the job!” If the vendor/contractor asks you, “Just let me know what the number is that I have to beat,” you gotta be careful. This may work for your carpet, flooring, landscape services, etc. It doesn’t work for SECURITY! It doesn’t mean that we charge higher than others, but instead we focus on the quality and value of the work.
When making your decision, be sure to keep the following 5 tips in mind (experience I learned from being a property owner myself):
1. Make sure you find a licensed vendor. Troubles, such as poor quality work, unethical business practices and unfinished projects, may arise if an unlicensed contractor is hired.
2. Have you been educated? Don’t be afraid of being upsold/hardsold during the presentation. A valuable security provider only tailors the presentation for your particular needs and situation. A quality provider will not upsell you anything that you don’t actually need (unless for future expansion). He/she should understand your budget and try to make everything the best within your mean.
3. Ask for references. Check their past records and experience with similar projects. Talk to their clients, are they still in good hands? Security is special. For most retail business, you can check their review on yelp. For security projects (unless it’s small and easy job) can hardly be yelped, people don’t want to talk about their security openly. I would also suggest to check bbb.org for their rating which is reliable because BBB verify complaints for consumers.
4. Personally, I’d also consider the response rate of the company. I would try to call the office and see if any real person is picking up the phone, and if the technical support/customer service can answer my question. And, how long does it take them to reply my email.
5. Maintenance Service – which is so important for security. “Trunk slammers” will guarantee this and that without actually being able to fulfill them. (That’s why I check their response rate with phone call and email above). For security, you better look for vendors that can provide proactive services rather than only good customer service. That’s how we nurture our clients. In our office, we provide 128% quality service to our clients, and proactively work with our clients to avoid having systems down when incidents happen.
The most common thing that we heard is they don’t come to perform maintenance service after they had paid – trunk slammers! The other sad thing we heard was a burglary had happened to a business RIGHT BEFORE they had their alarm service scheduled. They were paying for monitoring and were going without the monitoring service?!
Another situation we heard was a business has an alarm system, but they don’t use it because it keeps having false alarms. Why didn’t they call their service provider? They wouldn’t come or they charged so much for this and that. Again, people pay for their service, but without the monitoring service they need?!
I am almost angry to hear people care about cost only. However, I ought to understand that’s what the economy caused? As a professional security provider, we have the obligation to adjust our mindset and educate our clients that security is costly. Valuables should be a top priority to protect. Don’t go for the lowest cost option! Go for the best value which can sustain your peace of mind in the long term for sure!