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Why do customers chose Simplisafe over professional systems

May 24, 2024
Why do customers chose Simplisafe over professional systems
          I am curious to what you may know about the industry’s response or position is when encountering customers that opt for SimpliSafe and the likes  vs Professional installation.
          My opinion is that SimpliSafe among other things attempts to position contracts in a customer’s mind as a bad thing and while customers are drawn in by the allure of no contract and lower rates customers do not understand the drawbacks. They don't understand that a contract is not needed because the only obligation that they have to the customer is to put the items in a box and ship them no different then that would be required buying anything on Amazon.  They also don't realize the obligations that the alarm company has to them when they have a contract.  
          it is also my opinion that the various agency ratings are sketchy as Mr. Zwirn pointed out sometime ago in a publication. I think the professional Security Industry needs to take notice as we are seeing more and more people opt for SimpliSafe and given the largest segment of new home buyers are millennials followed by Gen-X  who grew up believing what they see on line is true and more prone to thinking they understand technology signals headwinds for the professional installation industry.
          Also, they advertise No contracts or hidden fees. Cancel anytime. What central station is willing to monitor an alarm with no contract risking liability? They also are now offering business security for single and multi-location business. Who knowing the facts would reply on this equipment after reading the research? Lastly, if insurance carriers give a discount for an alarm or require it what happens in a loss where the listings of these devices are not suited for their use such as UL listing on Business systems or proper agency ratings on the base station and smoke detectors. 
          Consumers are distrusting of Professional installation companies that try to point out the issues with DIY yet there is numerous information online as to dissatisfaction.        Are we going to lose more and more market share to companies spend a lot of money marketing but can't offer what we do as professional installing companies? I refuse to sell DIY because I refuse to engage in a practice that does not allow me to sleep good at night knowing the job was done right and the system will serve its purpose in the event of a threat. I also don't want to assist customers and law enforcement racing to a property because a peel and stick sensor fell off a door or a window. 
          Lastly regardless of the price when a company enters into a contract with its subscriber it has obligations to its customer. Does that not have value anymore?  Consumers think they know more about a product today than a professional due to the internet. I have never seen as many people reject our advice as I have seen in decades. I also find many that are not happy they spent all the money they did. How do we better as an industry rally around the need and benefits for professional security?      
         I'm sure the same consumer would not opt for medical aid in a box that they do themselves, why do they trust the most valuable things they have to this practice. 
          If you choose to post this please post as
          I can see you weren’t having a good day ….  You raise a lot of great points and of course I cannot disagree with your observations or conclusions, though a few items need addressing.
          First, it’s simply not true that SimpliSafe does not require a contract.  Rest assured, it does require a contract, and that contract has most of what you have in any alarm contract.  By requiring terms and conditions be accepted SimpliSafe is requiring a contract.  What it probably means in its advertising and promotions is that it permits cancellation at any time [assuming that’s the case]. I am not sure it this is its business model, but a DIY company can afford to permit cancellation of monitoring if it charged the customer for the equipment and maybe a few months up front for monitoring.  The DIY company knows that the equipment is largely useless without the monitoring and that the central station will absorb the set-up charge and permit cancellation as long as the DIY company is placing enough accounts with the central station.  Alarm dealers doing a professional installation often need a term of months or years of monitoring in order to recoup what may have been a loss on the sale and installation. 
          No alarm company, and without knowing for sure I am confident, would build an RMR model alarm business without the protection from liability afforded by the properly drafted alarm contract.  If Simplisafe doesn’t use the K&K Standard Form Agreement it probably has a knock-off or very similar form. 
          I can understand how alarm customers think their internet search equals, or betters, your security experience.  I can also appreciate how advertising and constant bombardment in all media promotes all kinds of business.  In the long run the old adage that “you get what you pay for” usually turns out to be true.
          Of course a DIY system is not going to provide all that a professionally installed system is going to provide, though that is increasingly difficult to claim in view of the technology offered by the security and fire alarm industry.  It’s also true that customers put their lives and the lives of their loved ones and their business in the hands of the security and fire alarm professionals. I doubt any of you have pictures of horror scenes in your presentation, which was common 50 years ago.  But the message is still the same, “you pay more you get more and better”.  But again, budget often dictates what is “good enough” when it comes to lots of things, security one of them.  And perhaps “anything is better than nothing”. 
          I do think all in the industry owes thanks to SimpliSafe and ADT for making sure the public is aware of alarm systems and availability.  I guess the industry can also thank Democrats who run too many cities and states – couldn’t let that pass. The clear and present dangers certainly encourage security and fire alarm systems. 
          Maybe you need to be a bit more flexible in your thinking when it comes to DIY equipment and systems.  Sure the professionally installed system is better, but it’s also more costly and perhaps beyond the reach of all customers.  And, some of the DIY equipment works well, definitely well enough.  I suspect you can use some of the DIY products either in conjunction with the professionally installed system or as a substitute when the budget dictates.  I guess this is what’s called “changing with the times”. 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301