DIY CCTV is it a threat to the industry?

I recently fielded a call from a very enthusiastic “customer” who was desperate to employ my skills to install an Access control and CCTV system for him. Was i excited by the prospect ? Well at first yes until that is the chap went on to explain that he had managed to buy all the kit he wanted to install off eBay and expected my “very best price” to put this kit on the wall. He had acquired cameras and what should have been a very expensive piece of recording equipment for peanuts. I had to admire the fact that he knew so much about the kit and what he should have paid for it.

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He sounded most disappointed though when i refused his custom .Why you may ask would i do this. Well firstly the investment involved to be able to buy and install CCTV equipment is huge. There is the vans on the roads, the engineers, wages the investment in IT equipment not to mention getting affiliation to a respected inspectorate! Profit is made by both mark up on the kit as well as labour provided and what about a service agreement?

Its my bet the kit is cheap because it is faulty, second hand or stolen. The minute i touch this kit who then gets the blame when it does not work? Iam thinking probably me! Worse still when i give my price is my new customer going to pay extra as i struggle to get his eBay acquired equipment to work .The answer is no. Most people who go DIY do so to save money. The very nature of this potential customer means that they are unlikely to want to pay for the right kit at the right price or take others advice. So would i turn this DIY CCTV business down? Definitely!

Ultimately who ever takes on this work will get their fingers burned and i doubt the customer will end up with a good job. The secret of a successful install is you must pay for what you get and then you can demand and expect value for money. So for all those eBayer’s out there if you want to do it yourself  then do the whole job cheap and don’t expect someone else to supply the labour and knowledge for you!

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