With any major purchase, it is worth the extra time to ask as many questions as you can. Making sure the vendor is large and stable enough to provide timely customer support when you need it is important, but small enough to be responsive to your needs.
Getting quotes from multiple vendors is important to make sure you are getting a reasonable price for what you are asking for in access control systems as an example. Try and make it a point to get all pricing quotes in writing. See if the vendor will include the pricing for equipment, setup, monthly monitoring fees and warranties as well.
Once you have narrowed down your search, get references from your narrowed down list of providers. See if you can get testimonials from previous clients and ask them why they chose this specific video surveillance company for example.
Some specific questions to ask these providers are:
- How quickly did they install, and was it in the timeframe they guaranteed?
- Were they accessible to questions if you had any problems?
- Did they provide sufficient training for all the equipment to you and your employees?
- Were the contracts clear and straightforward?
- If you ever experienced an intrusion, did the central monitoring station quickly alert authorities?
Before you sign a contract, review it carefully. Pay special attention to all fees, and make sure they are legitimate. A common hidden fee, for example, is for the connection to the central monitoring station, but most of the time this is a charge already built into the pricing.