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DIY Security vs. Professionally-Installed Security: Which Is Best for Chicago Homeowners?

Posted on October 23rd, 2019 by Alert Protective

Homeowners in Chicago have two options when it comes to residential security:

  • They can install the system themselves, or
  • They can have a local professional install a security system for them

The question on many homeowner’s minds today is whether a clear winner has presented itself. Has one installation option outpaced the other in safety, price and simplicity? Or does each system present a better fit depending on a homeowner’s circumstances?

Here’s the answer: the best security installation type is going to depend on a homeowner’s circumstances. Both DIY security systems and professionally installed security systems have their pros and cons. The goal of this article is to help you find the system that’s right for you

To do that, we’ll compare DIY and professional installations based on three parameters:

  • Security
  • Price
  • Simplicity (ease of use)

If by the end of this article you still aren’t sure which installation option is best, don’t hesitate to give Alert Protective a call. You can also check out our home security systems while you decide.

True, you may not get a perfectly unbiased answer from us (we’re fans of professional security installations, after all). But we do promise you an honest and straightforward answer, always. 

Call today at (773) 685-8383 or schedule a consultation with a security professional

Factor #1: Security

Security is the whole point of both DIY systems and professionally installed systems. The one that does security better will definitely impact a homeowner’s decision over which type of system to choose. 

As far as which type of system is better at protecting a home, a professionally installed system is hands down the better option, for three reasons:

  1. Installations are completed by a trained expert: This cannot be overstated. Most homeowners have no experience installing security systems. That lack of knowledge leads to vulnerabilities which experienced burglars can use to their advantage. Professional installers are trained to identify weak points in a security system and strengthen them before they become an issue. 
  1. DIY systems are cookie-cutter solutions: Every home is different. That means every home has unique flaws and vulnerabilities that burglars can exploit. DIY systems can prevent those vulnerabilities by having a homeowner purchase more equipment: more cameras, more sensors and more alarms. But a professional system leverages fewer security tools to achieve the same level of protection. That’s because a technician has actually seen your home and learned how to protect its most vulnerable areas. 
  1. Professional systems provide more options to secure a home: At Alert Protective, our goal is to install the system that works best for a customer’s home. So we partner with different vendors to make that happen. With DIY systems, you get their system, and not the system that’s best for your home. 

Factor #2: Price

We promised honesty, and here’s the truth: when it comes to price, DIY systems are often cheaper than professionally installed systems. The popularity of DIY systems are due in large part because of price comparisons between the two types of systems. 

But it’s important to understand that this is not an apples-to-apples price comparison. DIY customers will lose out on a lot of the benefits of professional installations, including:

  • Improved security: This is covered in factor #1. But it’s important to mention here as a reason why DIY systems cost less than professionally installed systems.
  • Better customer support: Large DIY brands and big-box national brands have a reputation for poor service. Take ADT for example. Consumeraffairs.com’s rating on ADT is less than enthusiastic. And one of the concerns from former customers is how they’ve handled support. The same can’t be said of of local security companies, which tend to be more responsive, friendly and supportive to client needs. 
  • In-home training & assistance: All of the large national DIY brands have support teams. But what if you need someone to visit your home and advise you on a problem? You won’t get that from a DIY company like Frontpoint or SimpliSafe. But you would get it from Alert Protective. The same goes for post-installation education. For DIY systems, you’ll be reading an online instruction booklet. With a professional installation, you’ll have someone teaching you how to use your new system face-to-face. 

Factor #3: Simplicity

We know what you’re thinking: DIY systems have simplicity on lockdown. You take it out of its box, plug it in, and voila! Instant protection. 

But when it comes to which system wins out on simplicity, a clear winner doesn’t emerge. Both types of system installations offer simplicity in their own right. 

  • DIY systems are designed from the start to be easy for a homeowner to install. They are almost always less complex than a system which has been professionally installed. This is very true if the professional system is a wired system where professional monitoring is connected via a landline telephone network. 
  • Professionally installed systems, on the other hand, are simple because the homeowner doesn’t have to install them. It’s entirely out of your hands. Which is great! 

While it’s true that DIY systems are less complex than professionally installed systems to install, that doesn’t mean those systems are less complex to use on a day-to-day basis. In fact, both types of systems are incredibly easy to use once they’ve been installed.

The Final Verdict, and a Quick Recommendation

The bottom line is this: if security is your primary concern with a security system, choose a professional installation. If price is your primary concern, go with a DIY system. 

Regardless of where you’re currently leaning, it’s always best to learn more about each type of system before making a final decision. That’s why we’d recommend speaking with one of our experts first, to see whether a professionally-installed security system is right for your Chicago home. 

Call us today at (773) 685-8383 or schedule a consultation with a security professional

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