What are the options for a Business Security System?
Today’s business security industry consists of three separate sub-businesses:
- card access system,
- surveillance system
- intrusion system (burglar alarm)
Each of these sub-businesses developed more or less independently and are just learning to work together in the age of IT convergence. That said, pricing for these systems is still a complex question, which is why it’s best to first look at each sub-business independently to determine a “ball-park” for pricing estimates.
It’s always advisable to have a security expert, such as those at TSAChoice, prepare a customized quote for your business!
Pricing for these systems can be separated pretty easily into hardware and software components. As anyone knows, there are lots of different kinds of doors out there. Card access installers need to be able to access door frames, add door strikes, maglocks, and card readers, and then run cable from door locations to network closets.
It’s easy to see where price discrepancies can arise in labor costs when you look at the difference between a brand-new storefront door in an office with a suspended tile ceiling, vs. a 75-year-old brick manufacturing plant with 40′ ceilings and impenetrable walls.
System hardware units are priced based on economies of scale, so a 1-door until may cost almost as much a 4-door unit, with steeper discounts for more than 16 doors. Using these metrics, TSAChoice sees card access system pricing running at a capital expenditure anywhere from $2,000 – $3,000 PER DOOR, based on the labor discrepancies and economies of scale mentioned above. Most card access systems are still premise-based, with very few recurring costs, but subscription-based cloud services are on the way.
The world of surveillance suffers from nostalgia for the past that won’t seem to go away. Many users still purchase analog surveillance systems, with coaxial cabling as their medium, because they either already have a coaxial infrastructure in place or are lured by the low cost.
This industry often suffers from a “race to the bottom” mentality, with manufacturers touting high resolutions and superb clarity for as little as $100 per camera. Conversely, better quality IP cameras can run from $300-$2000 per camera based on their features. It’s a mistake, though, to budget for a system strictly on market prices of cameras.
Like card access systems, camera systems still require an awful lot of labor to run cable for, install and aim, and then configure the software.
Restrictions on copper cable distance limitations for IP Camera systems may require an adjustment to Fiber-optic Cable, adding to the costs. Most modern video server software systems require end-users to pay for a physical server, as well as per camera licensing fees of anywhere from $100-$150 per camera. There are also yearly recurring software update fees (app. $25/camera) to keep cameras and their associated servers fresh. Coupled with the same economies of scale as card access systems (cheaper per camera to buy 16 than 4), we see a good budget number running from $1,000 – $1,500 per camera in most quality systems.
The consumer/residential market strongly influences the intrusion (burglar alarm) system vertical. TV Ads for companies like ADT or CPI that are always so prevalent during football games generally reflect the basic strategy of the entire industry; install the systems at a very low cost (or so to cover the upfront costs.
Equipment costs for these systems (motion and door sensors, sirens, keypads, and telephone interfaces) are inexpensive, so this pricing model has been successful over the years. Business customers need to know, however, that monitoring pricing is very flexible, and a willingness to pay more upfront and less on the monitoring may save money in the long run.
A small business with a few doors and windows may see an upfront cost of $2500, $50/month monitoring as a reasonable expectation for a system like this. Additional upgrades, like Alarm.com, which allows business owners to monitor, arm, and disarm the systems from mobile devices, are also worth considering, at an extra $25/month or so.
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