Why Choosing a Central Station Is Like Getting Hitched

Do you take this central station to be your monitoring provider? Here are a few things you should keep in mind before taking the leap.

Why Choosing a Central Station Is Like Getting Hitched

Which do you have to be more careful with, selecting a spouse to marry or a central station? It’s too close to call. But if you’re not thinking about it that way, then ask yourself, how come you’re going to be asked to sign a “prenup” with your central station?

OK, it’s called a Dealer Agreement or Installer Agreement but it’s really the same thing as a prenup. Not only will it spell out what the deal is during the relationship, but it will address what happens if that relationship goes sour and there is a breakup. So now that we have that straight, let’s examine what you should be considering when deciding which central station to marry.

Compatibility is certainly important and plenty of alarm dealers select their central station because they like the salesman or central station owner or management. It’s important to have a good rapport. But keep in mind that it won’t be the owner or salesman responding to your signals. Or even answering your complaints and concerns. Find out the reputation of your proposed bride.

It’s essential that the central station be able to monitor the systems you intend to install. Not all central stations are able to offer all services. Some specialize in fire, some PERS, some medical alert, some two-way voice, some video confirmation, and some video escort service and 24/7 viewing.

You know what systems you install or plan to install so it makes sense that you select a monitoring provider that can accommodate your subscribers. Of course, you aren’t locked into a single central station, unless you are. Give that some thought before you commit all your business to one central station, which I agree would be ideal if possible.

Some central stations are more accommodating than others; they are willing to bid for your business and negotiate terms that are favorable to you. Remember there is much more than price to consider. You need your own lines and receivers, IP addresses and whatever receiving equipment you require for your accounts. You need to own or at least have a right to the subscriber data, and you’ll want it in electronic format if you are changing central stations.

You may be happy to get incentives to bring your business to the central station. Be mindful of the tradeoff, because those incentives are not free. There will be conditions and terms to meet, which may be minimum accounts and minimum term for the monitoring relationship. If you fail to satisfy the conditions, the payback might be more than the reimbursement of the incentive you received. Asking for and getting an incentive makes sense going into the relationship; just be careful that you aren’t selling your soul for the incentive, unless it’s worth it.

Monitoring providers want your business and they are willing to negotiate for that business. But be realistic. If your account base consists of you and your relatives don’t expect the central station to spend a lot of time negotiating, but if your account base is almost sufficient to support a central station you can expect reasonable accommodations.

Because your central station is most definitely going to require you to sign a “prenup” agreement, you need counsel to review that agreement. I know of a firm that offers a flat rate of $500 to add a rider to the central station dealer agreement, which provides the essential provisions a dealer needs when entering into this relationship.

Drop me a line or give me a call to find out more about this service. By the way, this same firm also has a matrimonial department to help with your soon-to-be spouse or ex-spouse. See you at the altar or the courthouse.

About the Author

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Security Sales & Integration’s “Legal Briefing” columnist Ken Kirschenbaum has been a recognized counsel to the alarm industry for 35 years and is principal of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, P.C. His team of attorneys, which includes daughter Jennifer, specialize in transactional, defense litigation, regulatory compliance and collection matters.

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