The ongoing debate of quality versus price, compounded with your expected level of customer service and support will be the determining factor in where you select to purchase your CCTV security camera system.
How did you make the decision for your last mid-to-large size purchase? Was it a new copier for your business, a solar system or perhaps a new vehicle? Did you buy a well-known brand name or a lesser, unknown brand? Think about what you learned during that process before you start on the journey of a new security camera system purchase.
You Should Avoid Purchasing A CCTV Security Camera System From A Big Box Store When:
1. You do not have the time to do the research for the project.
Many well-known brand names in CCTV security camera systems, such as Pelco, became forerunners because of their high quality and excellent customer service levels. Sure, there are probably some lesser known brands that have a good product and a smaller marketing budget, but how can you determine those from the poor quality brands? You need time and resources to spend researching these factors or you can choose to work with a trusted professional. We consistently get calls from businesses regretting their purchase and the unsuccessful attempt to have a handyman install a security camera system.
TIP: You have a business to run so think about the cost of you being pulled away for a dead camera or a glitchy DVR issue.
2. You want a system that can grow with you.
Most preset security camera packages come with a 4 channel DVR. This is what determines how many cameras you can have on your system. In our long experience in this industry we have seen many customers start with a few cameras to get a basic security system in place and gradually add cameras over the next 12 to 18 months as they see the value of security cameras.
TIP: The minimum we recommend purchasing is an 8 – 16 channel DVR.
3. The package is not a good fit.
To keep the price low we have seen manufacturers prepackage decent cameras with a lower grade DVR or visa versa. Do you need only exterior weather proof cameras or a combination of indoor and outdoor rated cameras? What’s in the box? You should always purchase state of the art cameras and lenses. Buying last year’s model is not a good choice. Poor camera selection can result in latency, jittery screens, poor color and fuzzy images.
TIP: Analog cameras are less expensive than IP Cameras but are more appropriate for residential than commercial installations.
4. You want a professional design that will capture the camera views year round.
Security cameras are getting better and better each year. When you are designing your system a qualified professional will take into account the current and projected landscaping (trees grow!), sun and headlight glare. and required privacy issues for your neighbors. A custom designed CCTV security camera system will meet your needs today and into the future.
TIP: Don’t hang a camera that can view into your neighbor’s private space or windows!
5. You want excellent installation, support and local customer service.
We have all gotten lost into the overseas help desk call centers and experienced that frustration. You want a local company that will respond to your calls, dispatch a tech to your site and facilitate any product warranty issues. We have seen people purchase a prepackaged CCTV security camera system and have it sit in the box for many months trying to find the time to learn and install it.
TIP: Always check references and use a licensed, bonded low voltage contractor for your security system service.
6. You want to protect your investment in a system that will last.
You don’t want to throw away your investment. A good method to understand your purchase is to look at your budget and divide it by the years you expect the system to last.
TIP: Your CCTV camera system should last a minimum of 5 years, even with the speed of technological advances. It may actually run longer but who knows what cool apps and features will be around 5 years from now.
7. You value the items you are seeking to protect.
One of my father’s favorite sayings went something like this: “The sweetness of low price is quickly forgotten with the bitter bite of poor quality.” Think of the value of the assets you are seeking to protect and spend accordingly. If you have a tight budget choose quality over quantity. Buy less cameras; choose higher quality video.
TIP: Buy 4 really good cameras instead of 6 mediocre cameras.
Bottom line, if you have no clue where to even start, call a professional! Otherwise our advice is to do your homework, research the brand and read the feedback on review websites and blogs that are not supported by the manufacturer. You need to fully understand the project you are undertaking. Only then will you know if you are the type of person who should rely on the professional or jump into a prepackaged self-installed CCTV security camera system.