DIY Home Security vs. Service Providers

When it comes to protecting your family and your home, you can never be too careful. Home Security systems are more popular than ever, with 14% of U.S. residential dwellings employing some sort of alarm system.

Break-ins are more common than you might imagine, and using an alarm system dramatically reduces the chance your house will be targeted. According to the FBI, 1 in 3 houses without an alarm are broken into, while only 1 in 250 with a security system are targeted. Burglars know better than to push their luck; 9 out of 10 admit they wouldn’t try breaking in to a house with an alarm or cameras.

Yet, with the rise in digital monitoring technology and reduced prices, the question isn’t if you should get a security system, but to which type of monitoring you should subscribe.

Traditional Home Security companies offer installation and home monitoring for break-ins with a low down payment, but high monthly rates. Service providers like AT&T and Verizon have generally dominated the industry, making huge profits on their monthly subscriptions.

New, smaller DIY companies will sell you the equipment at a higher initial cost and lower monthly rates. Choosing between the two comes down to your comfort with tech equipment, your financial situation, and the level of monitoring you feel comfortable with.

Here are the pros and cons to both:

Traditional Service Providers


The major benefit of enlisting a traditional service provider for your Home Security needs is convenience. The company will usually take care of the installation of your Home Security system for a small down payment. You will have peace of mind in knowing that the experts are handling everything for you. They even provide high-quality monitoring with limited involvement on your part. For example, many security systems have a two-way voice component that notifies you as well as the burglar that help is on the way (they call for you).

Many large traditional security service providers will also offer bundled prices. If you already have your phone or Internet packages with them, they may offer reduced prices if you sign on for your security system with them as well, thus reducing your monthly cost. One such example is BellAliant, which offers multiple services including Internet and phone, in addition to Home Security. If you are financially secure, this is almost always the best route for Home Security.


Unfortunately, not everything is perfect with traditional service providers and they come with their fair share of cons. Depending on the level of monitoring that you choose, you are often faced with higher monthly bills. When you add this to your other monthly expenses, you may find that you have to choose between your safety and your entertainment (ex: security system over cable). Additionally, the service provider owns the security equipment—you are unable to take it with you if you move away. The last major problem with a traditional service provider when it comes to Home Security is that negotiating the price on your bills is a complicated and often painful process, including the regular caveats about negotiations with service providers (ex: those associated with cell phone bills).

DIY Home Security Systems


Do-it-yourself Home Security Systems, just like with traditional providers, have their own benefits. Firstly, there is a lower monthly rate than with traditional providers, and in some cases, your cost is free if you choose self-monitoring. Furthermore, you own the security equipment, which means that you are able to take the equipment with you if you move to another house.

DIY Home Security is also full of customization, starting with your choice of the equipment that you deem necessary for your space. You may also choose to have automated alerts sent to your smartphone, tablet, computer, or other device—or you can choose to pay a little more each month for monitoring.

Even when paying extra for monitoring under this option, your costs are significantly cheaper than with traditional service providers. With BellAliant, after a promotional period you could face costs up to approximately $45 per month (on a bundle). On the other hand, with DIY security such as Scout Alarm, you may face monthly monitoring costs around $15 or maybe $25.


DIY Home Security systems however, have a higher upfront cost than traditional providers. Scout Alarm, for example, normally costs only $319.99 the equipment. This makes it difficult for families on a tight budget to afford the equipment, even if they own it after and face lower monthly costs. Additionally, you would need some repairperson skills to install the system yourself, or you are faced with hiring an outside party. Larger companies absorb initial equipment and installation costs because they can afford to and make the money back over time; with DIY companies, they need you to pay for the hardware.

Protection is key with a Home Security system—people may be put out by trying to afford the equipment and the monthly monitoring costs, instead of not worrying about it themselves. Finally, in some cases a smaller company could be unreliable for monitoring, and if you are self-monitoring, things can get difficult if you are away from your devices.

How Billshark Can Help

Do-it-yourself Home Security will work, but it is only for a smaller niche market due to the fact that many do not have the time to self-monitor their system and their house. Additionally, Home Security is often viewed as a service industry, meaning that people expect monitoring from a company.

Traditional service providers still have a majority in the Home Security marketplace. Most people cannot afford the high upfront investment in the security equipment, and many just want the comfort of external monitoring because it alleviates their own stress.

There is still the issue of high monthly bills with traditional service providers. The best way to deal with these prices and reduce your rates is to engage in negotiation. However, it can be a lengthy and complicated process for many individuals. This is where Billshark’s team of expert negotiators can help you. Here, we know who to speak to and what we should ask for in order to reduce your monthly rate with your Home Security company. There is no reason to worry about our costs either! We split the first year’s savings with you and… that’s it. If we are not successful and you do not save money on your bills, we do not get paid—you have nothing to lose.

Let a Shark fight for savings on your service bill so that you can sleep comfortably at night.

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