The security market is like most others, it offers a wide spectrum of products at varying prices, reflecting quality and performance. With such a complicated proposition on offer, how do you decide the best buy for your budget, and are there really bargains to be found? Or is it true that if you ‘buy cheap, you buy twice’?
Not so long ago there was definitely some truth in the ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ theory, particularly when proprietary systems were the norm. Buying a compatible set of access control and security systems meant buying from one supplier (or at least a small selection), which had invested in linking the components, and the price reflected this. Cheaper systems were only really fit for smaller or isolated installations.
Closer security integration (and especially the IoT) has transformed this of course, which has added undreamed of flexibility and given a much greater choice in terms of purchasing options and prices. Equally, the cutting-edge technology of five or 10 years ago has now matured and is far more affordable due to production volumes (biometric readers being a great example of this).
Increased production numbers mean lower prices, wider choice and also greater reliability – which perfectly illustrates that lower cost does not necessarily mean lower standards. However, there are still inevitably ‘cheap’ products available that may not provide the service, connectivity and value for money you would expect from a recognised expert brand such as TDSi.
As with all purchases, it pays to do your homework first. Better still, if you are not a security expert yourself, it makes much more sense to speak to a professional installer/integrator to find out what the options are (in terms of both spec and price) for your security needs.
Other Options on a Restricted Budget
Buying ‘cheap and cheerful’ may be a solution for some security installations, particularly with lower levels of guarding and limited budgets. However I would point out this is only really the case for peripheral components, and even with these there is always the danger that they may not work properly with core systems (which are definitely an area you need to invest properly in!)
If price really is an issue, instead of looking at buying products outright, an alternative is to look at leasing a system. Working with a manufacturer or integrator that will lease a solution and services gives the option to purchase a top of the line system, but on a monthly or per door basis.
This reduces the operating costs and (crucially) removes the need for a large initial capital outlay. As well as taking the pain out of a big (and possibly unexpected) expense, this enables the implementation of an excellent solution a lot more quickly.
In this case, ‘buy cheap you buy twice’ really does not apply! You spread the cost out over a much longer period making it more affordable, without scrimping on the protection levels of your investment.
Whilst you get a top of the line system for a much lower outlay, you still need to ask: How long am I willing to sign a contract for? Like all purchases, this is something the buyer needs to carefully consider when looking at the options!