For many years it has gone without question that when you buy a CCTV system then you also buy a maintenance package to go with it. The packages you can buy are diverse, however and you can go from 1 visit per annum to clean and test the system to an agreement that will cover comprehensive labour and parts. The choice at the end of the day is of course in the hands of the customer but ultimately to the installer the maintenance is sometimes crucial to ensure that after year 1 a profit can actually be achieved on the installation itself.
This for the installer is a dangerous game to play in the current market place. Cut throat pricing means margins are small to non existent, if the client decides against a service agreement this can cripple small to medium sized installers and many businesses have failed in the last 18 months trying to get jobs on the back of a maintenance package.
This then of course begs the question how profitable is a CCTV maintenance agreement? Well it tends to go back to the kit that is installed in the first place. Cheap kit is inherently unreliable and we would never recommend its installation. The other trick of course is to install closed protocol equipment meaning due to software restrictions only the installer will ever be look after the kit and will sting you forever and a day every time you call them out.
Cheap kit…dont take that route!
Customers tempted by cheap prices often regret their purchase simply because a) the kit does not do what it was originally claimed to do. b) The CCTV installer is constantly out trying to fix it. Of course any company doing multiple visits back to installation will soon see any profit wiped out, they will go under and the end user left with a useless un-serviceable CCTV system.
Do you need maintenance?
So back to the original question does a CCTV system need a maintenance agreement? Well the answer is defiantly yes. CCTV can be very reliable but it is a critical requirement. When it goes wrong it needs fixing and fast, an agreement that does not include a “hot swap” arrangement means goods can be removed from the site for repair and not returned for long periods of time. So the company you use to install and to service is crucial. The whole concept of CCTV maintainence agreements really does come down to one of quality. Buy quality in the first place and your failure rate will be low , When the product does fail the installer should have a stock item to replace it , this is only possible if the installer can make a profit on the install and this is only possible if the customer has the vision to pay a fair price in the first place.
We find ourselves in a climate that is pushing prices and margins down; this can only lead to poorer service levels in the future, choose your installer wisely, pay a fair price for good products and don’t fall foul of cheap deals it may come back to bite you!!!