Due Diligence: Choosing a Licensed Home Security Provider
When it comes to choosing an outside company to install monitored burglar and fire alarm systems, knowing who you’re working with is very important. You will find it beneficial to do a bit of research to ensure that you’re working with an accredited and duly licensed company. After all, this company — and the people who work there — are accepting a key role in the responsibility of your family’s safety and security.
What does it mean to have a license?
A license proves that the individual who comes to your home has been trained, has had their skills and knowledge verified, and has undergone (and passed) a criminal background check. Licenses must be renewed every three years and ongoing continuing education credits are required for renewal.
How can you check if a company or individual is licensed?
Although each state regulates the industry differently, in New Jersey the state Division of Consumer Affairs handles the licensing of fire and burglar alarm installers and businesses. Sales personnel from any security company (or any category of home contractor, for that matter) should proactively confirm that they are licensed, verbally state that the license is current, and be able to provide a license number if asked. (Supreme Security Systems’ Burglar Alarm (1) and Fire Alarm (2) Business License # is BF00010300.)
What can happen when you work with an unlicensed professional?
When you work with a contractor or handyman who is not licensed, you run the risk of having your system improperly installed, which can be worse than not having a system at all. You may think that your home is protected when in reality it isn’t detecting any unwanted entries. Even worse than this can be working with an installer who hasn’t been through the proper background checks. Take a look at this story from January.
Using an application called Thumbtack, a River Vale, New Jersey couple hired a “security expert” to install a new surveillance system for them. What should have ended with a quick and easy installation turned into a nightmare when months after the initial installation the couple discovered their installer was actually an alleged criminal awaiting charges for child pornography.
While a mismanaged installation is more common than a horrific event like this, these things do happen. The good news is that they can be easily avoided if you do a little research and work with a trustworthy, licensed installer from a respected company.
- The safety of your home and your family is incredibly important; don’t trust it to just anybody.
- Always check the licensing status of the individual or company with whom you are working. (If in New Jersey, you can use this link: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Pages/verification.aspx)
- Avoid using applications such as Thumbtack, Talklocal, and Redbeacon for security.
- No matter what company you are working with, make sure they run appropriate background checks on employees.
- For the best results, work with a trusted company that thoroughly vets, trains, and tests its employees.