Advice for buying a CCTV security system

If you are an end user about to purchase a CCTV system and you have little or no knowledge about the product you are about to buy , how do you ensure that you are making the right choice of both CCTV equipment and of your security supplier?. There are several steps you can take and each one will give you an insight into what you are getting for your money. Study each of the criteria we talk about below and you will be able to make both an informed decision and one that will give you both value and quality.


1)     Check out the companies you have chosen to quote: Most people these days will get a minimum of three quotes when buying a CCTV system, this is good practice and one that will give you your first insight into what you are likely to get for your money. A simple credit check on each of the companies you chose will at the very least let you know a lot about who you are dealing with. In today’s tough trading conditions many companies are on the edge and giving business to company who is trading beyond their means may end up costing you. A good credit record is a good start.

2)     The company you employ should be affiliated to an inspectorate of some description: In the security business in the UK there are two main inspectorates. The SSAIB and the NSI these two companies dominate proceedings here. These two inspectorates ensure that the companies they are responsible for will do things by the book. They will check that their engineers will have been security cleared, they will have been trained on the products they install and the company will have an administration system that will ensure you the customer has their interests protected. Too many one man bands and smaller installers ignore basic standards and engineer checks. This will leave you potentially exposed.

3)     Does the company have the correct insurance in place: When installing security there is a lot of drilling , ladder work, electrical work and other relatively risky processes that will need be carried out on site. Despite all good intentions accidents will happen from time to time. If your company of choice does not have the correct insurance, you will lose out.

4)     Recommendation: Ask the installer for a list of installations and customers local to you that you can look at or at least ring up and ask how good the kit/installation is? One call could help you make a decision on whether you want that installer on your site.

5)     Check the specification: There are so many cameras and DVR’s out there that will do a job and will fulfill your requirements but and this is a big but, for how long? As with any products we buy there are certain names that are trusted out there in the market place. Within the security industry brands like Sony , Panasonic, Samsung are names we all know, in general, the reason for this is simple, they tend to use better parts ,better manufacturing procedures and give better after-sales service. So just because a specification in terms of camera performance looks the same, ask who makes the goods.

6)     After-sales: There are many who can install, there are few who can offer good after-sales. The reason is simple. So much business in this day and age is decided on price and price alone. The good companies will be more expensive for the very reason that they know they have to back up that product afterwards. So many installers can fit and run not many can fit, sort any issues that arise, and leave the customer feeling that they got what they paid for.

7)     Remote support; Check that the company you decide to employ has a system that means when you ring them they answer. With security 24 hour cover is critical and a response when you need it is something only well prepared installers can offer. In addition a help desk for your questions can save you a lot of money. Nothing is more reassuring than being able to ring someone and get an answer to a question without the need to call out an engineer.


All the above points will help you make an informed decision on who to employ to install your security system. As we have mentioned so many decisions are made on price alone. This is perhaps a reflection of the current economic situation but in reality a short sighted way of doing things. Just carrying out the checks above will save you buying the cheapest system but in reality the system that will actually give you nothing more than problems. Always remember these very true words….. buy cheap buy twice.




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