Security systems are a basic necessity if you own a business. Whether you are trying to manage access to your building, keep an eye on expensive inventory, or lock down the business after hours, a proper security system will help protect your business and it’s assets. But how much does a business security system cost? And what cost factors should be considered before buying?
Here’s what you need to know about business security system pricing.
Basic Pricing for Business Security Systems
An adequate security system can be as diverse as each small business themselves and what is considered a “security system” is actually several systems that are becoming increasingly integrated. Any price guide is necessarily general with a few disclaimers which is why we recommend getting specific information on any system or application by contacting a professional that can look at all the options and customize a solution. Prowire, like most professional security companies, give estimates at no charge which makes getting additional pricing information easy.
To provide a general ballpark for upfront pricing, a standard security system will cost around $3,000. However, it is common to see systems as low as $1,000 and as high as $10,000 depending on the size and features of the application.
Fixed vs Reoccurring Pricing
It is important to understand that pricing on a security system is often a mix of fixed upfront pricing and reoccurring pricing. Both need to be considered when purchasing a system. Some companies will discount the fixed price and roll it into the reoccurring price, so that a system that might cost $1500 with one company will be sold for $1,000 by another but the monthly reoccurring charge might be $15 or $20 more with the second company. Also, the general move to Internet cloud-based systems usually decreases the upfront fixed price and increases the reoccurring price. It will be important to get a clear understanding of both the fixed price and the reoccurring price of any security system before you move forward with installation.
Core Systems and Cost
As we mentioned before, security systems have evolved to become more versatile and are actually several systems integrated into one general “security system”. While this can make product selection a little more complicated, it is best for the long run when you have a custom solution that can grow with your business. Here’s the core systems to choose from that will integrate together to create your full security solution.
Traditional Security System
Traditional security systems are designed to protect small business property from unauthorized break ins or environmental troubles. This usually includes an arming keypad, door and window sensors, motion sensors, glass break sensors and a siren. It could also include things like a water sensor, high/low temp sensor, or panic button. For more information on traditional systems see our blog post on office security systems.
A basic security system that includes an arming station, the perimeter doors, a couple of motion sensors, and a siren can cost as little as $1000 with installation and about $396 per year for monitoring and remote access using cellular/internet communicator. Monitoring is a live 24-hour service that makes calls to an owner or manager and dispatches authorities when an alarm goes off at the business. Remote access gives an owner or manager the ability to connect to the security system using an App or a computer via the Internet from a remote location to arm, disarm, and check the status of the system.
The $1,000 system is a basic starting point to consider, larger buildings and additional sensors will add to the upfront cost but usually does not add to the reoccurring charge. While larger systems can cost as much as $10,000, most systems are under $3,000.
Surveillance and Camera Systems
Often surveillance or camera systems are considered part of a security system and many cameras are capable of being integrated with a traditional security system using the remote App of the security system. These cameras typically connect to the internet cloud using WiFi or network connection and send video clips when the camera sees motion. Adding a camera to your security system is about $400 per camera and includes installation. Video cloud storage will cost you between $120 to $300 a year depending on the number of cameras, number of clips, and how long the clips are stored.
Camera systems that are separate from the security system and record to a box on site with a hard drive are usually required to be hardwired to the box and will cost more up front but do not require any reoccurring fees unless there is a maintenance included. These camera systems can be accessed remotely with an App that connects directly to the box via the internet. On these camera systems you should budget about $800 per camera for the camera, box, and installation.
Access Control Security System
Also, access control systems are often considered part of the security system and this system can be integrated with both a security system and a camera system. Access control systems secure and unlock doors via cards, key tags, phones, or biometrics allowing access to those that are authorized to enter and secure doors when the business is closed or in areas where there is limited access.
The hardware on the door and safety precautions often requires the involvement of a lock smith and so this is a variant that can raise the cost but generally an access control system costs about $3,000/door. This would include a standard electronic latch, reader, door sensor, cabling, and installation. The use of a maglock and electronic request to exit device would add to this price. Cards or key tags cost $7 to $20 each and using a mobile phone for access will cost you a little more up front on your system for the right reader (about $200 per door) and there is an additional reoccurring charge.
Access control system can be Internet cloud based where the electronics and hardware on the site can be managed and controlled remotely via computer or mobile App. In such cases, the reoccurring cost is about $150 /door/year. Blue tooth credentials for using phones for access is about $12/credential/year. On-site systems and management usually come with no reoccurring cost but do not allow for remote management and control.
Additional Business Security System Cost Factors
From equipment installation to monitoring, there are plenty of costs to consider before moving forward on your business security system. Depending on the system and the company you decide to work with, there are a few other cost factors you may want to consider before making your choice.
Security System Contracts
Be aware that any of the above security systems may come with a contract meaning that you are committed to using the services and paying the fees for a certain amount of time, usually 1-5 years. These contracts have the advantage of maintaining a consistent price over the period of the contract but have the disadvantage of not being able to shop for better and less expensive services while under contract.
Service contracts are often offered by companies offering to cover the cost of replacing defective or worn out equipment and updating software at a monthly or yearly rate after the warrantee for the system is expired. Without a service contract such expenses would be chargeable. Make sure to read the fine print so it is clear what is covered by the service contract and make sure you are not paying for a contract for something that is covered under the warranty.
DIY (Do It Yourself) systems are available in varying degrees in all these security system categories but are usually limited to easily installed wireless systems that require batteries at the devices. These systems can end up costing more in the long run since they cannot utilize existing wiring that might be in place and are not easily integrated with other systems. In some cases, there is good reason to investigate DIY systems since there are often some upfront savings, but the lower cost comes at the price of a business person’s time and limited expertise. While these might be good in some situations (typically residential), we generally recommend business owners consider more long term solutions that will grow with their business.
Getting the Most Out of Your Security System
If you want to get the most out of your business security system, we highly recommend working with a professional to get your set up with the right equipment and a proper installation. Not only with this ensure your system is set up properly, but it will also allow you the chance to learn the full potential and capabilities your new systems have to offer.
There are many ways to choose a professional to get specific pricing for a small business security system and explore all the options. Drawing on past experiences or from other businesspeople that you know who have implemented some security is a good starting point. Authorized dealers for proven manufacturers are a good source, as well, and it is always a good idea to get a second opinion from another dealer. Of course, we at Prowire believe that that we offer a very good option for Minnesota small business with competitive pricing, over 30 years of industry expertise, and proven product that we are authorized to sell and install.
Contact us for a second opinion or to set a course on a new security system.