Ottawa’s Premier Smart Security Service


The CSI Journal

The Smart in Security Systems

By Colonnade Security

Free security systems not always a bargain — Part One

There is a saying “that nothing comes for FREE in this life,” and it also applies to a “security system.”

The first thing to understand is that a sound security system is going to cost you some money. Deals that seem too good to be true – usually are. Don’t fall for the salespersons’ promises; get it in writing before you sign.

When you purchased your home or started a new business, you spent a lot of time researching, evaluating, and looking for that special place. Maybe, just maybe, you even built it. Think of all the decisions you made before and during that purchase.

When considering the purchase of an alarm security system for your home or business, you’re making a similar, essential purchasing decision.

Follow the same in-depth research and decision-making process you followed earlier. You want to secure and protect your home or business. When you request a quote for an alarm security system, ask the difficult questions.

  • Ask about the equipment to be installed;
  • Ask about the company, their reputation;
  • Ask about the company’s policies;
  • Recommendations or reviews are a must;
  • Do some homework before you ask for a quote;
  • Check out the company’s website;
  • Ask where the monitoring station is;
  • Always get at least three quotes or have a quality recommendation from someone before you begin your search;

You decided to get a security system, so now let us see what we need. Protection for the doors and interior motion sensors are a must. But what about window security? Fire protection? Temperature or Water protection? Video surveillance? A guest, family, employee, or cleaner access? Do you require a Medical alarm? Or a panic device? Do you want to access the premises using your smart device?

We have all been there. It is to easy to be taken up by the notion of something being FREE. What is the catch?

When making your purchasing decision, consider all of the devices mentioned earlier. Components, the core of an alarm security system today, you should find in standard security system options.

Today, we live in an unprecedented time. We have access to so much technology geared to simplify our lives, or does it? Computers, tablets, smartphones and smart related devices.

  • Do you want an interactive system?
  • Do you want to control lights, locks, and the temperature in your home or business?
  • Are you thinking of adding video cameras?
  • Do you want a live update, system status, or video feed sent to your smartphone?


These are all things to consider in your purchase. You want a quality, worry-free, sound, peace of mind, a service-backed, security system that will last you for many years. You can have this and more with a little time spent on learning what you want and what you need.

Let us start with the basics.

False alarms – This is a term you need to understand.

In Ottawa, there are By-laws for alarm security systems.
For instance, if the Police respond to your home or business for an alarm condition, and upon inspection, the Officer or Officers find nothing wrong at your location, the Officer will leave you a false alarm Fee/Fine.

In Ottawa, a false alarm Fee/Fine is $150.00 per visit, payable to the City of Ottawa. That’s right! Every time the Police respond and do not find any sign of a break-in, they will leave you a Fee/Fine.

Imagine if you have three false alarms in a given month? This may happen, and it can get very expensive, very fast.

You are responsible for the Fee/Fine, not the alarm security company. No one will pay that Fee/Fine for you.

The monthly monitoring you pay, simply, and justifiably, cannot cover the cost of a false alarm. So it is not a cost the alarm security company will cover. Always find out who pays the Fee/Fine for a false alarm. If the salesperson says, his company, get it in writing, on your contract, before you sign it.

Some companies will offer Guard Response.
Guard response, as a selling tactic, is viral in today’s crowded market. You will pay a separate fee on your monthly service. It can be an alternative response to the Police if you want it. Usually, the Guard Service will send you a text or email of what they find when they respond. It will contain a detailed list of what they checked as well as photos of what they may find. If there has been a break-in, they will usually wait at your home or business location for the Police to arrive. Guard Response can range anywhere from $10.00 to $25.00 per month, based on your contract. But you never have a false alarm fee from the Police.

Pricing of a system.

These are the three main options you will find when looking for an Alarm Security System. All are different, and all need to be compared.

Option 1

Many companies will offer a FREE security system. Beware of FREE. You will get a basic system using basic parts and low-cost devices. I mean, if they are giving it away, how good can it be. What this company is looking for is a contract for services. They want a piece of your monthly income. Other devices you end up needing will be added to the monthly price your paying. Or you will be required to pay for them upfront at the time of the installation. This security system may look and sound good, but stay away. The service issues and upgrades required will end up only too be part of your future problems. And remember, you signed a contract for services. That term will need to be completed. You cannot just cancel it.

Option 2

Other companies will offer something else. They will finance the system with you over a term. With this type of alarm security system, you need to compare products being used to what other companies are offering. Always get a price for the cost of the system upfront, and then their financed amount. You can then make an educated decision to use either their money or your own.

These financed systems are like a loan on the equipment. Make sure the financed amount of the equipment is identified on the contract. Once your finance term is up, your monthly will then only be the monitoring portion, and the monthly payment should go down. At the end of your financing term, you will own the alarm security system outright. Owning your alarm security system is essential. Ownership provides the freedom to have your home or business monitored by another company, should you find you are not happy with the company you initially dealt with.

A reputable company will have no trouble offering you this type of option and explaining that any other company can monitor your system, should you decide to change it at some point. With this type of alarm system, you will own the equipment.

Option 3

This option is usually offered by the larger Alarm Security Companies, and/or the Telco Companies (Telus, Bell, Rogers), who have entered the Alarm security business in recent years.

This type of system is usually owned by the Security Company, as it is a product that only they can service. Some of the equipment they use can only be used or serviced by them. The systems are leased to you or set up as a rental. The company owns all of its equipment, but you must make sure their equipment is maintained and kept in working condition. Consider this arrangement as if you are leasing a vehicle. You pay for all breakdowns and service requirements. At the end of the term, you have to choose, either continue with your agreement with any new conditions or simply cancel. If you cancel the contract, the company will either come and get their equipment or ask you to ship the equipment. They are leaving you responsible for watching YouTube videos on how to remove the alarm security system. Just like you would return a leased vehicle. The components used in these systems can vary. Some of these companies will use quality and state of the art components that will last for many years, while others will use cheap freestyle parts, mix-and-match. Some will use equipment and components that can only ever be serviced by them. Rogers is a prime example of this tactic.

The Alarm Security Company will list all the equipment they install at your premises for you and then show the breakdown for an installation fee, your monthly fee, and the term. These systems can seem to be good deals and appear to be less expensive than the ones in option 2. They most likely will compare close in the pricing of option 2; however, you may never own it. This is a major thing to consider when dealing with your alarm security provider.

The experienced professionals at Colonnade Security in Ottawa, Ontario, will provide you with top of the line equipment, expert installation and user demonstration, client-focused service and vigilant monitoring from a ULC monitoring station in Ottawa. We offer Option 2 above when purchasing your system from us. We can finance your system, or you can buy the system upfront.

Once you complete your initial term, you will own your alarm security equipment — At Colonnade Security Inc.; we do not lease or rent alarm security systems. If you are considering a finance option, we are here for you.

With over 35 years of security experience, give Colonnade Security Inc., in Ottawa a try.

For more information, you can call 613-839-1274 or email

Look for our continued discussion on “Free security systems not always a bargain” in part two of this series on June 28th.

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