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An alarm company’s success should not be based solely on the number of installations it performs or how much equipment it gives away for “free,” but rather on its ability to provide real security to each and every one of its customers. Here’s a quick quiz for all alarm dealers: Are you installing burglar alarms or security systems? Do you and your customers know the difference? When it comes to your customers’ security, is it a one-size-fits-all approach? Are the alarm systems you install hardwired, wireless, hybrid, or just literally useless? Do the alarm systems you install provide protection, detection, or just lots and lots of yard signs and decals?

Regardless of your answers to these questions, the issue of the so-called “free” alarm system that continues to be offered throughout North America must be addressed. While this concept has been a marketing bonanza for some, alarm companies need to carefully look at what “free” is really costing them—now, and in the future. In fact, many of the original mass marketers have had to change their free business model, while others have simply disappeared from our industry entirely.

When I travel, I always open up the local Yellow Pages®, as I am curious to see how alarm companies are advertising and marketing themselves to the public. What I have found through this simple exercise is astonishing, and needs to be dramatically changed. This is because the “free” offers of the past, that included front and rear door contacts and one motion detector, have been replaced with “free” offers of ten wireless door or window contacts, two motion detectors—pet immune, if needed—control panel, LCD keypad, key fob, siren, and a lifetime warranty!

With this in mind, one must simply ask themselves, “Who is the ‘genius’ that thought of this new ‘free’ alarm system?” Indeed, it is not the person paying for it.

Excerpt taken from The Alarm Science Manual by Jeffrey Zwirn. For more information get a copy at, or head over to