FAQ_ monitoring an alarm, the extra costs.

What are the extra costs I face when monitoring an alarm?

So you have decided that it is good idea to monitor your alarm system. And in doing so, you have made a good decision.

It is important to understand the full scope of costs you can face when entering into a monitoring agreement so that you are not shocked or mystified at receiving increased bills.

The costs of monitoring an alarm in a simple list;

  1. The annual monitoring fee.
  2. The telephony charges each time your alarm panel communicates to the monitoring bureau.
  3. Guard callout fees when a guard is asked to attend to a property.
  4. Emergency Services fees, as not all fire, ambulance, police, SES services are “free”.
  5. Overtime callout wages of staff being on the alarm keyholder list.
  6. Overuse charges on alarm responses, eg SMS text and Phone calls to advise of alarm events.
  7. Ongoing service maintenance of your alarm system or communication systems.

The annual monitoring fee provides you access to the basic monitoring service of choice. Your monitoring service offers alarm notifications via various methods, but you will have a limit to how many notifications you will receive in any one month before being subject to overuse charges. It is extremely rare to be confronted with an overuse charge, unless your alarm system is malfunctioning and inadvertently sending out a multitude of alarm notifications in error. Regular maintenance of your alarm system will help prevent this potential issue.

Guard call outs are inevitable if your alarm system notifications are not set up clearly for the monitoring bureau staff to act on. Monitoring bureau staff take their job seriously and will be left in a “damned if they do & a damned if they don’t” scenario when instructions are not explicit. Alarm system systems do not false alarm often, but there are many activations that are a false burglary alarm. It is in these cases where it is important that a contact is available to respond to an alarm event & ensure there are enough contacts to reduce the chances of having no one able to answer a call. Otherwise specific instructions need to be left in regards to when to send and when not to send a guard to inspect a property. This can include smoke detectors (ageing smoke detectors are more likely to false alarm than a PIR detector) when often a bureau operator has to make a call on action, even a single activation, as they are not to know whether the detector or communication system became damaged quickly by flames before a second notification could be sent.

Be aware of placing staff on a keyholder list that you may need to consider renumerating them for being on call and acting on your behalf after hours.

We will be happy to discuss any of the costs with you when considering alarm monitoring, and how to best control costs versus the desired monitoring benefit you will receive from the service.