Protecting Texas Businesses Since 1974

Commercial Security Systems Vs. DIY Systems

Are you considering a commercial security system or DIY your security system? Can I do it myself? Yes, you can. There are many fabulous DIY systems available. 

They are affordable and easy to install. They can be a fantastic option.

Other people need commercial security systems. To help you decide which one is right for you, we put together a comparison of professional and DIY systems. 

In this comparison, we will look at: 

  • Portability
  • Ability to add or remove components from the system
  • Monitoring 
  • Cost
  • Ease of installation
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Suitability for different building sizes
  • Integration with other security components

Will Your Security System Have Portability?

One of the main benefits of a DIY system is that it is portable. You install the system, so you can dismantle it and take it with you if you leave. Professional installers configure security systems for your business.  They are not portable. You can still take components of a system and use them in another building.

Add or Remove Components

Both commercial and DIY systems have advantages when it comes to adding additional components.  DIY systems are generally expandable.  You can add additional pieces of equipment.  That lets you expand security coverage.  It can also result in lower upfront costs. 

However, there may be some limits on their expandability.  DIY systems often limit the type and number of devices that will work with the system. Commercial systems are completely upgradeable.  Because they are custom-designed, you can add additional components to the system. Commercial security systems do not have the same limitation in type or number that DIY plans have. 

Do You Need Security Monitoring

Monitoring is one area where the two systems vary. Basic DIY system installation does not come with monitoring.  Instead, these systems alert you to problems in your building. The lack of monitoring can be problematic.  It means that you have to notify authorities of the problem yourself. 

If you are not in the building, are in danger, or are under duress, you may not be able to contact help. Some DIY security systems are designed to work with monitoring agencies. You can purchase monitoring for them.  They usually do not require you to pay for monitoring. 

Commercial systems come with monitoring packages. You can choose the level of monitoring that you desire. Monitoring means that an alarm notifies the monitoring company that there is a problem. The monitoring company contacts you.  They will ask if you need help.

 If they cannot reach you or say you need help, they will help you. They may call 911 for you. Most commercial systems require you to pay for monitoring for a specific period. People disagree about whether monitoring is a pro or a con. It depends on your individual risks.  

What are The Cost Differences?

Cost is the number one reason people choose DIY systems over commercial systems. DIY systems are often much cheaper to install than commercial systems. At least, that is what people believe. In reality, commercial systems can be affordable. 

In fact, commercial security companies frequently run promotions for equipment.  You can get a professionally installed system for less than what DIY parts would cost during those promotions. Generally, those promotions require you to sign a monitoring contract. 

In addition, with a commercial installation, you will only pay for the parts you use. So, when you consider cost, it is crucial to look at a system’s total cost. Which system has lower up-front costs? Which system has lower long-term costs? 

Ease of Installation

Having professionals install your system is easy. You do not have to worry about where to place components.  You do not have to worry about how to connect them. Of course, you have to schedule an installation appointment.  If you are a person who hates those types of appointments, you might find DIY easier. 

So, many people want to know how hard it is to install a DIY system. We answer that it varies. 

If you want to install a basic door alarm and security camera on the single entry door of your business, installation is straightforward.  Most people can do it. It will take a short time.  It will meet those specific security needs.

If you want to install a security system for a large business with multiple access points, installation is not easy.  Unless you are a “techie,” you will find it challenging.  

Professional installers may run wires through walls or up into ceilings.  That helps keep your place of business looking tidy.  It also avoids stay wires that can cause tripping hazards for employees and customers. 

While they can handle the challenges of installation quickly and with expertise, you may not be able to do so. 

Before considering a DIY installation, look at:

  • What components you need
  • Where you would place them

Do you want cameras in high areas?  If so, how are you going to access those areas? You need to ask yourself those types of questions when planning a DIY approach.

Then, honestly evaluate whether you have: 

  • The time
  • The tools
  • The skill

If you do not, then a DIY installation is not going to be easy for you. 

Ease of Maintenance

Maintenance is probably the biggest complaint we hear about DIY systems. Like installation, whether you can handle maintenance depends on your technical skills. We expect something to fail on a DIY system within the first three years.

Do you feel like you can troubleshoot technical issues?  That means:

  • Diagnosing the problem
  • Fixing the problem

Many times, people buy new components or a whole new DIY system.  That can dramatically increase your long-term ownership costs. 

In contrast, your commercial security system maintains your professionally installed security systems. There’s no need to diagnose the problem because you will have a professional to do that for you, therefore do not have to try to guess what is wrong. You do not have to worry about buying the wrong replacement parts either.

Suitability for Different Building Sizes

You might think that commercial security systems are a clear winner in this category. That is not true. Commercial systems are much more versatile than DIY systems. They are customizable to provide coverage for any size of the building. 

With a commercial system, you can get alarms and sensors on countless doors and windows. They can provide unlimited camera coverage and, with cloud storage capabilities, can even store that footage for extended periods. 

They can work for smaller spaces. 

In fact, some smaller spaces may be complex enough to need a commercial system. 

However, commercial systems may be overkill for very small spaces.  

Integration with Other Security Components

When people think of security systems, they think of:

  • Alarms
  • Cameras

They are designed to alert you if someone is trying to breach a building.  They are also designed to capture images of potential criminals. Most DIY security systems focus exclusively on those two things.

However, security systems can do so much more. Security systems can integrate other safety measures.  Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors can be part of your security system.  Adding them to a monitored system can help protect your safety.

Security systems can restrict access.  Using keycards, biometrics, or security codes, you can use your security system to allow people into the building or restrict access to certain rooms. 

Security systems can replace clocking in.  If you are a business owner with hourly employees, using a digital security system can provide you with an easy way to monitor employee working hours. 

Which One Is Better? 

There are pros and cons to both types of systems. Knowing which one is right for you depends on several factors. If you have questions about security systems, contact us. We would be happy to answer your questions.