Pros and Cons of DIY Security Cameras

While there are many reasons we recommend having a professional install your security cameras, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. Whether you’re in a remote location where installers aren’t available, you only need a basic system, or want to save time and money – sometimes it makes more sense to install your own security cameras. However, we still recommend consulting with an experienced security camera installer like Camera Security Now when selecting your products — even if you don’t use us for installation. A security camera provider like Camera Security Now will not only be able to help you select the best products for your business (and budget), but also can configure the devices so they’re ready to go when they arrive at your door. The consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose!

In most instances, it makes more sense to spring for professional installation. For example, when your business has large facilities, needs extensive security systems, or needs advanced features like facial recognition, access control, or the highest definition recording available.

Here we discuss the Pros and Cons of installing your own security cameras at your place of business.

Pros of DIY Business Security Cameras

While “you get what you pay for” has never been more true than when purchasing security cameras, sometimes the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. While professional-grade security cameras are becoming more advanced and affordable, consumer-grade security cameras have come a long way as well.

Here are a few instances it would make sense to do it yourself when considering a business security camera system installation:

Installation can cost more than hardware. Is your business on a budget? If you don’t need advanced features like facial recognition, friendly lighting LEDs, false alarm reduction, vandal-resistance, weather-resistance, wide dynamic range, pan-tilt-zoom, low-light, 4k or 8k, or thermal cameras, you might be able to get away with a DIY business security system. Of course, this also means you won’t mind setting up smart alerts on your own as well as any other wiring and configuration that goes along with installing surveillance cameras. However, if you run into a problem in the middle of an install, you won’t have any free support if you purchase your own products.

Your business only needs a few security cameras. If your business only needs 2 or 3 cameras to monitor various entrances, exits, or other sensitive areas, sometimes it makes sense to install a system yourself. For example, Google Nest security cameras cost about the same as a professional-grade security camera (sans installation). As long as you feel confident enough to install a nest camera on your own, these surveillance cameras can offer basic features* that are enough for small businesses that don’t require a lot of security. (*Basic features: HD video, smart alerts, voice talk)

You have experience with wiring cat5e ethernet cables. Do you feel confident with running your own cabling for security cameras? This could save a large percentage of your total security camera budget when it comes to installation costs. If you can wire your own cameras, we recommend requesting a preconfigured security system. With a preconfigured system, your security cameras will arrive to you tested and configured in advance – with whichever features and specifications you require. In addition to receiving a ready-to-go surveillance package, you’ll also be able to consult with us on the installation process and have an opportunity for remote support once your system is up and running. If you’re not sure how confident you are, check out this guide for troubleshooting security camera failure due to cabling and other issues.

You’ve already purchased a security system. If you already have a security system, it may be difficult to find an installer willing to put it up. On top of that, if you do find an installer, chances are they may not have worked with the consumer-grade cameras that you’ve purchased from a retailer like Amazon.com or BestBuy. That’s why if you’re not willing to flex your budget a little bit and return your system, it makes sense to just go ahead and install the cameras on your own. While consumer-grade cameras don’t offer nearly as many features or longevity as professional-grade cameras, they are usually a lot easier to install.

You want complete control. Do you want to know all of the ins and outs of your security system? While professionals will be able to assist you with setting up each feature, you probably won’t have an opportunity to learn exactly how the features or cameras were configured. So if you have a lot of time on your hands and want to know every little thing about your security cameras, including how to repair them if any issues arise with your electronics or cabling, consider reading the instruction manual or going online to find out which DIY systems are the best to install yourself. (We recommend Nest, but this won’t work for every business due to the limitations these cameras have as far as features and connected cameras available.)

Make sure you read the next section before you decide to DIY security cameras for your business.

Cons of DIY Business Security Cameras

Configuring security cameras

When it comes to DIY business security cameras, usually the Cons outweigh the Pros. Unless you own a small business that only needs a few cameras, you have experience with wiring, or want to do a deep dive into learning the ins and outs of security camera configuration and installation, odds are you should ask a professional for help with installing a (that’s right) professional-grade security system. Although installation costs will most likely cost more than your system, you’ll have access to much better quality security cameras that offer more features, and longevity, and you’ll have support from your installer before, during, and long after the installation is complete. Here are some more cons of installing your own surveillance system:

You’ll have to do all of the work. While consumer-grade security camera retailers use marketing terms like “ease of installation” and “easy setup”, you’ll still have to take the time to read the instructions, learn how the security cameras work, configure the cameras, install the cameras in a weatherproof area, and even change the batteries (when applicable). If your security cameras require wiring, you’ll have to do all of the prep work like drilling holes, running cables of appropriate length, connecting your cameras, powering your cameras, and making sure they work all by yourself.

No tech support will be available. When you have a professional like Camera Security Now install your cameras, you’ll receive free lifetime support if any issues should arise in the future. But if you install your own cameras, you’re on your own when any issues arise in the future (they always do eventually). Although you may be good with technology, you’re compromising time to troubleshoot your cameras when you could be running your business or doing something more productive with your time. And if you aren’t good with technology, you’ll be stuck reading how-to videos online until you can solve the problem yourself – and if you can’t solve it yourself, you’re going to have to pay for a security technician to come out anyway.

You aren’t an expert. Although you may have done all of the research required in selecting the very best consumer-grade security camera, you’ll never have enough time or videos to watch to make you as informed as a certified security camera installer. Assembling a security system is a lot different than assembling furniture from IKEA – and the instructions that come with DIY systems often don’t include all of the information necessary to effectively install, run, and maintain your surveillance cameras. On top of that, many consumer security camera retailers use tricky marketing terms to make you think their cameras perform better or have more features than they actually do.

Your business will be at risk to hackers. Home security systems like Nest and Ring are now subject to a new kind of threat – a cybersecurity threat. Hackers are hijacking home surveillance cameras to fake emergencies — some have even gone to the extent of getting the police involved in a dangerous hijacking prank called “swatting”. There are many ways hackers can exploit your security cameras’ vulnerabilities to gain access to your private footage, from stealing credentials from other vulnerable sites to gaining access to your router to hack the attached security cameras. While this isn’t as good as having a professional install your cameras in the first place, if you’re worried about your cameras being hacked, here are a couple of steps you can take to protect your security cameras from hackers.

Pros of Having Security Cameras Installed by a Professional

security camera installation sites

Although we already made most of these talking points above, it’s worth reiterating some of the pros of having a professional help you choose a security system and install it for you. Here’s why 9 times out of 10 it’s best to have a certified professional installer help you with your surveillance system:

You won’t have any extra work. While you’ll need to consult with a security technician on the phone, then conduct either a virtual or in-person site visit, express which features are important to your business, and outline your budget — after that, you’re done. Once you’ve made those points clear, your work is done — and you’ll never be on your own if you need to expand your system or troubleshoot existing security cameras.

You’ll get the best advice. The best advice comes from wisdom, and the best wisdom comes from experience. Camera Security Now has been installing cameras for businesses around Ohio and the rest of the continental United States for over 30 years.

Professional security technicians will not only give you advice on how to use your surveillance system, but they’ll offer you the best advice on how to upgrade it all while staying within your budget.

Do you need to add access control features? These types of solutions go hand-in-hand with a security system installation.

You won’t have to hand-pick your own security cameras. No more looking at endless spec sheets and wondering which ones aren’t going to perform as advertised – when you consult with a security installation company you’ll be helped every step of the way with choosing your surveillance system. Security professionals are familiar with the best systems, the latest applications, and the newest features available on the market. Perhaps most importantly for many, they can also work with you to keep your professional-grade security system and installation within your budget.

Cons of Having Security Cameras Installed by a Professional

Although we almost always recommend using a professional-grade security system put in place by a certified installer, sometimes it just doesn’t work due to either budget, location, or time constraints. Here are a few instances in which having a security system professionally installed isn’t the best option:

Professional systems + installation costs more than DIY. As we mentioned above, professional-grade security cameras cost around the same as some of the best consumer-grade cameras available at major retail stores. However, this doesn’t include the cost of installation. Depending on the size of your facility, installation costs range from the same cost of your cameras to double the cost of your cameras.

Installers often aren’t available in rural locations. We often receive calls from rural locations like Oregon, Montana, and Idaho. Even though we have a network of available installers around the country, rural locations like these often don’t have any installers within 200 miles. If we can’t find you a technician to install your cameras, we can still help you — just not with installation. Ask us about preconfigured security systems that are ready for installation.

You have to work with your installer’s schedule. Obviously, when you order your own security system, you can start installing it as soon as it arrives. However, if you consult with a professional you’ll have to take the time to get a free consultation, get a free site visit, and schedule an installation date.

At the end of the day, if you know what you’re doing and only need a few security cameras, a DIY solution can work for you. However, if you don’t have any experience, prior knowledge, or need an extensive security system – it probably isn’t worth it to try to complete the job on your own.

Consult with a Security Expert Today

Ask for a free consultation. Consult with one of our experienced certified technicians today, for free, and you’ll have the opportunity to explain your security goals and budget. Afterward, you’ll have the opportunity for us to come out for a site survey and provide you with suggestions on how to meet your goals and budget.

Security Consultant Johnny

One of our technicians, led by Johnny Beagle, will assist you every step of the way. We will start by giving you a free site survey, which helps us understand the best possible solution for you. Next, one of our technicians will walk you through what kind of cameras would work best for your business.

To contact Johnny and Camera Security Now directly over the phone, call 800-440-1662 or fill out a fast, easy online quote form.

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