Best monitoring under 10 a month


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Old 08-03-15, 02:48 PM
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Best monitoring under 10 a month

Folks

I'm based in NYC and looking for a company that has been in business a few years and offers under 10 a month monitoring and also allows you to buy sensors etc by yourself in the future and compatible with common diy home automation systems. I guess the company doesn't have to have to be where I stay

Any recommendations?

Thx
 
  #2  
Old 08-03-15, 06:35 PM
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I have had good luck with Alarm Relay.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 07:13 PM
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Sorry ...... but "Best Monitoring" and "under $10.00" are not compatible.

You get what you pay for.
 
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Old 08-05-15, 05:05 AM
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Depends on what you want from an alarm system. Environment probably is the single most important item that will determine your level of security. SimpliSafe is another low cost system that gives you a choice of live monitoring or just local alarms. You also own the system and can take it with you if you move.
 
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Old 08-05-15, 06:39 PM
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I agree to a point that you usually get what you pay for. However, the large national companies have done a good job of projecting that $30-$40/month is what you should pay for monitoring. The fact is that the true cost of service is usually around $2 per month. The rest of your payment goes towards advertising and paying back the subsidized installations. Companies like Alarm Relay provide only the alarm monitoring and are not trying to reduce their cost of creation. Furthermore, alarm dealers that use wholesale central stations typically pay $2-$5 per account.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 06:52 AM
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I agree to a point that you usually get what you pay for. However, the large national companies have done a good job of projecting that $30-$40/month is what you should pay for monitoring. The fact is that the true cost of service is usually around $2 per month. The rest of your payment goes towards advertising and paying back the subsidized installations. Companies like Alarm Relay provide only the alarm monitoring and are not trying to reduce their cost of creation. Furthermore, alarm dealers that use wholesale central stations typically pay $2-$5 per account.
I'd like to clarify that this pricing would be for regular phone line service. Most people don't even have that as an option anymore as alarm systems don't work well with digital phone lines. Once you add an internet or cellular communicator to your system, there are other services costs involved for the dealer.

Also, when you say that the rest of the payment goes towards advertising and paying back a subsidized install, you are leaving out the cost of servicing/tech supporting the account (assuming the company isn't charging for that of course).
 
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Old 08-06-15, 05:27 PM
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With alarm relay, what's the cost when using internet or cellular?
 
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Old 08-06-15, 07:10 PM
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Alarm Relay never charged me extra for Network. Cell I get wholesale from the source.
 
  #9  
Old 08-07-15, 08:18 PM
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Just some comments on monitoring your alarm system.

I'll use this analogy. If you had to buy a protective helmet for your child to wear while riding their bike, would you buy the $5.00 helmet, the $35.00 helmet or the $50.00 helmet? Alarm central stations come in different calibers in the same way as alarm installation companies. I find that the National and/or "Free" alarm companies as well as the DIY companies usually have their monitoring done by out of area central stations. I, as an alarm installation company have central stations located in my area monitor my alarm installations. I too have the option of hiring less expensive central stations out of state to monitor all my accounts. However, I don't want someone located 1000 miles away with no local knowledge, no appreciation for the colloquialisms in my area, no geographical knowledge, no knowledge of local weather or emergency events ..... No rapport with the local police, fire or emergency responders ..... or someone who doesn't actually KNOW me ...... monitoring my clients. Do you want some one without that criteria looking out for your home and family? I want my central stations to be within a distance so that if there's a problem in the area of my clients .... they are aware of it. They talk the same talk as my clients and .... if " I've " got a problem with the central, I can go down there and talk face to face with the owner and straighten out any problem. Try and do that with some $10.00 an hour operator over the telephone, 4 states away who doesn't care if you're happy or not. Someone who doesn't have to care about keeping a good reputation in the area or keeping anyone but you happy. My central stations have to keep "ME" happy when they are communicating and dealing with all of my clients. Some monitoring company with a low price that you go direct to for monitoring, who only has you as an individual customer .... if you don't like what they do and you threaten to leave them ..... they only lose you as a customer. What do they care? If my central stations don't keep my clients happy they would lose ALL of my accounts. So you can be sure they're working hard for my clients.

And as far as monitoring your own system..... Well, I guess if you're putting in an alarm system just because it would be nice to have "something" rather then nothing .... then I guess self monitoring is ok. But .... if you are serious about wanting true security and can squeeze $20.00 out of your monthly pizza or ice cream budget, to get professional monitoring, I think the advantages are worth it. I don't know about you, but my cell phone sometimes has to be turned off and I forget to turn it back on. Sometimes, I lose service because my provider doesn't cover every inch of my area. Sometimes I'm in a building or parking garage where I can't get reception. Sometimes I leave my phone in the car. Sometimes I'm at a wedding or public event where I have to turn off my cell phone. Sometimes I don't get a text that someone sent me. Sometimes I don't get a voice mail someone left me. Sometimes I'm too busy to look at my text messages or listen to my voice mail and then will forget until hours later.
Is one of those "sometimes" going to be just the time that your house is on fire or one of your family members needs help, or all your expensive and keepsake jewelry, laptop, and video games are leaving your house in a pillow case? Or is it going to be the one time that your $10.00 an hour operator,1000 miles away, decided that it was time to take a coffee break. Obviously, your answer depends upon if you think "something is better than nothing" and your willing to take a chance on failure because you don't want to spend $20.00 instead of $10.00 or you're really concerned about the well being and security of your family, home and possessions.

Another aspect against self monitoring is ....... if you have the right homeowners insurance policy, you can save up to half your annual monitoring cost with the discount they give for a professionally monitored alarm system.

By the way, everyone knows that insurance companies make a lot of money. They do all the surveys, actuary tables and statistics. There's no way that any insurance company would lose money if they could help it.
Do you really think they would give any kind of discount for a professionally monitored alarm system if they didn't KNOW that it was going to save them money?

And then on top of all of this, if you have installed the system yourself, are you really SURE the system is going to do what you think it should do? Comparatively speaking, how does the equipment that these companies send you to install yourself compare to professionally installed equipment? Now there are various degrees of DIY hardware on the market today. Some of it is just variations of professional equipment. But there are some of these companies that are shipping out absolute garbage. Yet the average DIY're, who's only looking for a bargain has no means to compare or judge whether the equipment they are getting is going to hold up, be reliable and do the job at the critical moment when needed. Sure, you get feedback from the suppliers website but of course you have no way of know how much of it has been filtered. You can get some feedback from groups like this but percentage wise, the DIY market is minuscule compared to the professional market. So statistically you're not going to get the true feed back that would give anyone an accurate gage of how reliable these products or companies are. It's not likely you're going to hear back from a DIY'er who purchased crappy equipment and cheap monitoring to tell us all how stupid he was.

This is not to say that there are not ANY good sources of DIY service and equipment, it's just that if ( as many DIY'ers don't do) you don't do your due diligence and investigate both a DIY and a professional installation ..... and compare the pros and cons ..... weighing services, reliability, and expected results against the difference is cost ..... you can very likely be misled into thinking that something is good and without the knowledge and experience to judge ..... THINK you have a good system and wont find out otherwise until a bad situation occurs.

It all comes down to how important the security of your personal and material possessions are to you.

Five dollar helmet, $35.00 helmet or $50.00 helmet.
 
  #10  
Old 08-07-15, 10:51 PM
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Jimmiee...... I couldn't have said it better myself.

I'm an independent alarm installer specializing in commercial fire systems although I also do many residential installations. My central station is in central NJ. I know the owner, the managers and the staff and they know me. They are second to none in customer satisfaction. They treat my customers they way I would want to be treated.
 
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Old 08-08-15, 04:13 AM
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I don't know about you, but my cell phone sometimes has to be turned off and I forget to turn it back on. Sometimes, I lose service because my provider doesn't cover every inch of my area. Sometimes I'm in a building or parking garage where I can't get reception.
The self monitoring system I have allows up to 5 cell phones to be registered. Now I suppose all 5 cell phones could be out of range or in a parking garage at the same time, but the likelihood of it....

Now there are various degrees of DIY hardware on the market today.
You can purchase/install the EXACT same equipment used in professional installs. How well it is install is up to the diy'er. I had no issues whatsoever installing my own and have had zero issues with it for 2 years now.

Five dollar helmet, $35.00 helmet or $50.00 helmet.
The mistake here is believing that the $50 helmet will always be the better one.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with DIY'ing/self monitoring an alarm systems. In fact you can do some pretty wild things. I have my door bell connected to a zone and a mic/camera at the front door. When some one rings my door bell I get a text and I can tune in and talk to them. I could be 1/2 way around the world and can be talking in real time to someone standing at my door.

Self monitoring also allows you to be in full control. There are no worries of a company changing your installer code and not sharing it with you. I get detailed texts as to what zone went off and why. No monthly fees involved. A complete log of all zones opening/closing at any time. A complete log of anytime communication is lost and for how long. Last week the wife and I were at the cabin and I got a text telling me the system had bee disarmed (via disarm code) and that some one was in the house. It gave me the code used so I knew exactly who it was (each of my family has been issued their own unique code). I have an exact log of when they went in, what zones were tripped while they were in... it was my older son and I know he went up to the second floor because the motion sensor picked it up which shows up on the log.... yes, the log is active even if the alarm is not. This kind of detail you don't normally get on a direct basis on pro monitored systems. Not that they don't have access to it. They just simply don't pass it on to you... and if you ask there is normally some kind of additional cost to accessing the logs.

There is a wide variety of equipment which can be purchased/installed ranging from pro grade all the way over to garbage. If however you decide on the cheap stuff, that's on you and has little to with how good a self installed/monitored system can be.

I would highly recommend self monitoring. In this day and age everybody and their grandmother carries a cell phone. There is no sense in paying someone to simply relay a message to you when you could get it first hand.
 

Last edited by Bob Sanders; 08-08-15 at 04:34 AM.
  #12  
Old 08-08-15, 05:04 AM
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Jimmie and PJ, I have to agree more with Bob than you! Not that you're wrong or anything. But to go back to Jimmie's analogy, the same could be said for almost anything, be it, car, helmets, appliances, food, dentist care, general health care, bicycle, computers or anything you can think of. It all comes down to two things...What you can afford ($$$) and the degree necessary for the end result. If I could, as most people would I would buy the best and most expensive of everything.
But lets take minor bodily injury just as an example. Most people will be willing to risk minor injuries when working with tools or objects because its easier and less expensive rather than buy the proper item for the job. AND, the body tends to heal where as an object if damaged won't. So we may go cheap on certain injury saving devices because we know we will survive if it does not work. It sounds like backasswards reasoning but it's true. This example is not a good one but I hope I make my point.

To get back on topic, I was given Simplisafe alarm system with 1 year monitoring as a gift. In the 30 plus years that I've lived in my neighborhood not once have we had a home theft or invasion in the area. I don't need an alarm system. But I'm glad I have it and feel more comfortable with it. Will I keep the monitoring system? I'm not yet sure. But one thing is clear, my circumstances do not meet criteria for an expensive system or one that involves greater security. Again that cost $. The money I save on this cheap system can go towards more monitoring if need be or changes as I see fit without the incurred cost of the pro coming to my house. Again you boys are not wrong, but the emphasis on a expensive pro system vs DIY system is not what the OP is asking for. He wants or needs an inexpensive system with some type of monitoring.
 
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Old 08-08-15, 05:12 AM
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and your willing to take a chance on failure because you don't want to spend $20.00 instead of $10.00 or you're really concerned about the well being and security of your family, home and possessions.
I should also point out that you have made it sound like pro systems don't fail.... and that's untrue. Pro systems DO fail, and when they do you're at the mercy of the alarm company who installed it. Maybe they get there in a timely fashion... maybe they don't. Maybe their service/repair charge is reasonable.... maybe it isn't. More often than not however it isn't... because they have the installer code which renders you helpless in your choices.
 
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Old 08-08-15, 10:21 AM
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Like Norm, I am also going to lean towards Bob Sander's position.

A few years ago I was volunteering at a local historical museum. The building owner was essentially an absentee landlord and did nothing with regard to the building or its contents. We had an independent museum corporation actively managing all aspects of the operation from maintenance and repairs to building security as well as the museum experience itself. AS part of the security aspect we were in the process of installing CC television cameras and recording equipment with motion sensing, remote access and pager alarms. I used professional equipment and paging services and it worked very well. The remote video access was not quite as robust but this was due entirely to the director often disconnecting the video system from the wireless Internet link and not re-connecting it properly. The alarm-to-pager always worked well.

Then the building owner decided to become more active in the museum operation. The owner contracted with a large (nationally known) alarm company to install and monitor the premises. They installed wireless motion sensors throughout the building and after than had numerous false alarms from using less-than-adequate equipment. Since the museum corporation director had (by mistake it later turns out) been given the master code she had the ability to lock out certain zones and she tried this with several different scenarios to try to determine what was causing the false alarms. While doing this testing she was accused by the building owner of purposely causing false alarms and they wanted to charge her (and the museum corporation) for the fines being assessed by the police department for the false alarms. Eventually the master code was changed and she was issued only a user code. At this point the false alarms, still continuing, caused the owner to come back on the installer.

Now here is the part that really burns. At the time the owner first proposed the alarm system we tried to tell them that because of the age and condition of the building that lower-cost (infrared) motion sensors would NOT be appropriate and while we not at all against the owner having an alarm system we wanted to integrate the video with a proper WIRED perimeter system, to be jointly monitored. The owner was adamantly against that proposal and in the end had to revamp the system several times before getting an adequate level of security.

Bottom line, the pros don't ALWAYS do it better.
 
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Old 08-18-15, 09:32 PM
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Mr Saunders .... I was going to let this matter drop however I do believe that for the rest of the people who may read this thread in the future, that it does require a response to put it into prospective.

I have been helping DIY'ers going back as far as 1995 in newsgroups under various names and pseudonyms. I have been in the security, home entertainment, CCTV, alarm monitoring, home automation, whole house audio and computer network wiring business since 1969. I have seen the best and the worst of both professional and DIY installers.

In recent years, with the influx of equipment that is designed for the DIY market it has certainly become more available to the end user and due to the advertising of national corporations the notion that anyone can install security systems is being propagated. That someone can install their own security system is really a good thing as far as I am concerned. What concerns me more however is that there are too many people that are being convinced that "anyone" can do it. You are the exception in attaining the level of technical operation of your system. I don't know what your background is but it really doesn't make any difference. Regardless, the level you have attained is not the level that the average uninformed DIY'er can usually reach without a lot more research then they are willing to give. My concern with your response is that there are more people than not who are going to read your what you said and really believe that they will be able to accomplish what you have.

The very fact that there is such a forum as this and the nature of the bulk of the questions that are asked and answered here should give you some indication of the level of expertise that most DIY'ers have. There have been and always will be people who will want to try to do things them selves. I'm one of them. I haven't had a repairman of any sort in my home for over 40 years. I repair my own heating, air conditioning and all my appliances. I'm just one of those gadget guys who knows a lot about a lot of things and what I don't know, I learn. And I do it because I enjoy it. I can well afford to have other people do things for me. (Like .... cut the grass ... and fix my vehicles... I hate that! ) So, I can appreciate the DIY'er who is successful in attaining a high standard of competence. However, please believe me when I say, you are rarer than you think. Evidence the simple questions that predominate here.

As you can see by some of the replies to this topic, there are people who will agree with the points that you have raised. However, through the years, I have seen the best intentions fail miserably and a few times with tragic results. There was the DIY who didn't know why it was necessary to have an end of line relay on his smoke detector wire run. Unknown to him, (likely) the air conditioning repair man pulled the power wire from a smoke detector in the attic and when an actual fire occurred while he wasn't home, his house burned to the ground. There was another where a home invasion wasn't reported because the DIY'er didn't know how or forgot to program the panic code in his system. And so on and on. Sure professionals make mistakes but DIY'ers are more likely to "not know .... what they don't know and viable installers bear a litigious liability if they don't . Like any service a homeowner might require, it is part of the process to vet the people who profess to be experts. By the way, 100 percent of my work comes from referrals. Otherwise, if you do it yourself, you must be willing to take the chance that you will miss a vital step and because we're talking about life safety, you must be willing to make that choice between trusting a vetted professional to do their job and you thinking you've thought of everything but didn't ....... either way it's a chance and a choice. Angies List makes a good profit by doing this for homeowners.

There are some DIY'ers that are motivated simply by the saving of money. They will always cite how much money they've saved by doing things themselves instead of having it done professionally. These are the scary ones. Only motivated by what they think they can save and take on challenges beyond their capability. And sure, there are bad "professionals" out there and scam artists too that we all have to watch out for, regardless of the trade your dealing with ..... but the one thing that kind of DIY're never considers, is the amount of time that it takes to climb the learning curve and never compares that time to an hourly wage ..... were it being paid to someone who was doing the job professionally. So, saving money is not really a benefit of doing it your self if you look at it "by the hour". The other factor that comes into play for the unknowingly inept DIY'er is that after they have done all the research, have worked out all the problems, and technicalities and the system is working for months or a year or so .... when something goes wrong, very little of what was learned it going to be remembered and troubleshooting becomes an hours long research, trying to recall and recreate the information that was learned during the installation. I'm going on a service call the end of this week to help one of these who put in his system a few years ago and doesn't remember a thing about how he did it. He'll likely pay me a pretty penny to get his system going. Some people can do it, you may be one of them ...... but most cannot. As a matter of fact, I've experienced this myself with some of the projects I've done, especially my home automation system. It has grown and evolved over many years and there are some aspects of it that would take me hours to figure out how I did it. But I'm different than the one time DIY'er who will never do another project like that again and I've got the technical expertise to do it.

It's obvious that you've accomplished what 95 percent of most other DIY'er have not and cannot. Not everyone has the time, money, resources, background or intelligence to do that. I am concerned for those that would read this thread/topic and "think" they can because of your unique experience.

At one time, I too was under the impression that anyone could do what I do. ... I've learned that there are many many of them that can't and many who think they can ..... but can't and obviously, I've made money helping those who thought they could. And even more obvious, there are enough prospects left who know better than to try or have no desire to waste their time on something the right professional can do better and easier. Since I feel this way about DIY'ers, you might wonder why I participate in these forums. I help because either A: I enjoy teaching. B: An avid competent DIYer will never be my customer and C: an inept DIY'er will soon learn his lesson and call a professional. The DIY'er is similar to a large percentage of the people who fall for the "Free" alarm scam perpetrated by the National alarm companies. Once they learn what they didn't know about alarm systems, how much they paid for the "Free" alarm system and what a paltry system they got for the money.... once their obligatory inextricable high cost long term contract is up, it's easy to educate and switch them to a real alarm system. I get two or three "conversions" a month and an occasional DIY'er. They tend to be very loyal and grateful clients after their experience.

Unfortunately, as I previously mentioned, the advertising and marketing that is prevalent now days is very misleading. Someone in this thread mentioned SimpleSafe. I think every alarm installer who has seen that TV commercial actually cringes when they see the motion detector placed loosely on the fireplace mantle. The equipment is cheaply made, and their marketing is notably misleading. The same goes for the largest National alarm company when they show the police arriving minutes after an alarm condition with lights flashing and sirens. That's just plain wrong. So, I can understand that someone such as yourself, with the resources to do your own monitoring and system design feels the way that you do. What you haven't experienced is an alarm installation company that can do all the things that you've done and more. People ask me if they can have ..... this feature or ...... that feature nowdays. My response is ..... today, you can have just about any feature you can think of, and I have to say, I'm one of the few people in my group of peers that can provide it. We're out here and some of them are right here in this and in other online automation, alarm, CCTV, Computer networking etc DIY forums.

So ...... we're with you, and we take from our valuable time to help people. You will notice however that most pro's here will mostly just answer direct questions, but not encourage people to do things that could ultimately prove to be dangerous or misleading.

This reply is mainly to voice my opinion that you should be aware that not everyone can do what you do ...... and because we're dealing with life safety, you might want to be cautious about encouraging people to go beyond their capabilities. Again, it's just my opinion and I will say no more.
 
  #16  
Old 08-19-15, 01:14 AM
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Jimmiee, you wrote a real book there, more than I usually write and that's saying something. I read every word of it and I completely agree with you.
 
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Old 08-19-15, 07:46 PM
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So ...... we're with you, and we take from our valuable time to help people. You will notice however that most pro's here will mostly just answer direct questions, but not encourage people to do things that could ultimately prove to be dangerous or misleading.
What is dangerous and misleading is only telling one side of the story, which is basically what you did in your first post above. I merely told the other side so that readers can now make an informed decision for themselves.
 
 

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