Brander Alarm & Electric, Inc.
A Checklist for prospective customers

When shopping for an electrician or alarm contractor you NEED to ask the following questions:

1) Is the company licensed and insured in this state? Are their installers licensed? Do they pull a permit? These are all not only requirements, but you can avoid exposing yourself to dangerous people and unlawful installations. The related fines can be severe. Check you companies Massachusetts state licenses by clicking here

2) Is the company you are planning on doing business with too big to really care who you are and are you just another account number in their database? When you call us YOU GET ME or call our central station get someone who is polite, professional and can find your account quickly and put you in touch with someone who is familiar with your installation. We contract with many different UL Listed and Department of Defence central stations for monitoring so that we can choose the one that best suits your needs!

3) Do you own the equipment or lease it? We sell you your equipment. You own it; it?s yours?. Take it with you and reuse it if and when you ever leave!

4) Are they going to provide you with a proprietary system or one that can be easily serviced and remotely re-programmed by another company if you become unhappy with them? We will only install a system that if you are unhappy with us you can go to anyone else to provide service and monitoring for you!

5) Do the have an inexpensive flat fee for monitoring or is it a complicated (and expensive!) answer? For plain old copper phone line communication we have a flat rate of $30.00 per month billed annually in advance! For AlarmNet radio and/or internet communications the fee is $35 per month billed annually in advance.  For AlarmNet radio and/or internet with a smart phone app for remote control of your systems with most smartphones the fee is $40 per month billed annually in advance. Remote video services viewable through most smartphones is also available and priced depending upon options.  There are a few additions that add cost such as supervised openings and closings - normally a feature requested by some businesses..

6) Do the have a multi year contract? We have an annual self renewing contract which can be cancelled at any time for a prorated refund of the monitoring. You will get a full refund for any unused months of monitoring.

7) Do they charge extra for additional zones beyond 6 or 8? We include monitoring any number of zones with our flat rates.

8) Do they charge extra for fire alarm monitoring? We include fire alarm zone monitoring in our flat rate. A lot of companies also don't provide fire alarm installations, we do, and we do it according to code. Which leads us to the next very important question:

9) Do the other companies provide you with the proper number of smoke detectors? Some tell you they will provide you with one or two smoke detectors. We won't do it unless it meets code! We believe that giving you one or two smoke detector in the basement or first floor provides you with a false sense of security, and is normally not allowed by code. The code (and our conscience!) requires that we do it correctly. The code REQUIRES a smoke detector in every bedroom, on every level, in every hallway, and in every room that is used as an egress (escape). Will they pull a permit?  We won't do a fire alarm installation in any other way. Carbon monoxide detectors are required on every level and within 10 feet of every bedroom door.  Additional  smoke and carbon monoxide detectors may be required depending upon the square footage coverage area.

10) Do they charge extra for daily test signals to the central station? We include the ability to monitor daily tests in or flat rate. In fact daily tests are included with virtually all of our monitored systems. These test signals, usually programmed to test through from between midnight and 6AM help insure proper communications between the systems and the central station. Many companies provide weekly or even monthly tests. We feel daily tests are more secure? Shouldn't you? What good is the best alarm system if it cannot communicate?

11) Do they charge extra for one or two (800) phone numbers to the central station? We can provide TWO (800) phone numbers programmed into your panels so that you don't incur any additional costs associated with the panel's communications.

12) Do they want to install one motion detector and do only the front door? We prefer to do all perimeter doors or we don't want do the job! Imagine coming home to find your system armed and normal and finding someone sitting in your chair watching the game and eating you chips and dip and drinking your beer! Don't go there! Do you want to depend on the "Lowest Bidder? to protect you? The average "FREE" system, after bait and switch adjustments for your situation is over $800 for the most modest of equipment.... Our systems aren't free, but they are designed to work. It is our philosophy to design a system that makes it as difficult for a thief as possible?within a budget.

13) Do you have pets? Some alarm companies have a standing order not to install pet immune and/or dual-tech motion detectors (dual-tech motion detectors are the best the industry has to offer. They include both passive infrared and ultrasonic (radar) technologies in one.. Why? Because like most of the other items mentioned above, it takes away from their bottom line. Customer satisfaction is not their highest priority.

14) Do they plan on doing the work themselves or using a subcontractor? If they plan on using a subcontractor it may be us they use anyway! Feel free to cut out the middle man and save some money in the process.
15) Do they provide web access for you to your account?  We do!  Check your account activity and responces, place the system in test, review your call list and password information, check your zone list. We can even include emailed activity reports (daily/weekly/monthly) if requested at no additional cost.

We strive to keep our monitoring fees low and in fact are some of lowest in the industry! Our average monitoring fee is $30.00 per month (billed annually in advance) and our service is second to none!  We look forward to hearing from you personally and discussing how we may save you money on your monitoring fees and provide you with the personalized service that the other larger companies can't provide.

When shopping for and a Closed circuit television system you need to ask these additional questions:

Are you buying an embedded unit or a pc based system with a watermark? There are pros and cons to either system but there are very important differences. Virtually all of either systems are internet ready and can transmit live video over the internet. At the lower end of the market embedded systems are, for the most part, less expensive. Conversely on the higher end the opposite holds true. Most embedded systems are UNIX or Linux based boxes, have less moving parts, and require less attention (cooling, rebooting, defragging), because the operating systems are embedded in the chips, they are virtually impervious to viruses, and they have often limited quantities of users allowed to view remote video at any one time. They usually have fewer features and many have no ?watermark?, meaning that they won't necessarily hold up in court because their video is editable. Most PC based systems are more full featured, require attention (cooling, rebooting, defragging) and contain a watermark that should help it hold up in court.

When shopping for access control products ask yourself the same questions about open platforms. Don't get locked into a rut with someone else's proprietary systems. Make sure you can get parts and service elsewhere if you need to.