Consultations are quickly becoming a lost art form in the CCTV security camera industry.  There is an ever widening gap in our understanding of what a consultation in this industry actually means.  In the spirit of educating ourselves, let’s begin.

A quote is not a consultation.  A free quote is not a consultation.  An installer showing up at your home or place of business who offers you a quote as he/she is leaving is not a consultation.  Most installers of these systems are more than willing to stop by to give you a free quote (as long as they’re close enough to you).  This process will normally consist of a walk in or around the property; usually without you present.  Afterwards, they may or may not sit down with you to discuss some details of your quote.  Some of the more dedicated individuals may even explain in some detail the decisions they’ve made for you.

This “quote” stage is where most people find themselves after they decided on moving forward with a security camera system.  If you’re the type of consumer who doesn’t want to know details and you just want someone to tell you what to buy, you’re probably pretty happy right now.  For those of you who like to make more educated and thought out purchases, this has been a very unsatisfying experience.  Your possible future installer has just taken a lap around the property and told you he’d get back to you with a quote before jumping in his vehicle and driving away.  Any possibility of making an informed decision is gone unless you now scramble for information over the internet.

A consultation is an education.  A consultation is a class catered to you about your needs.  While it’s certainly possible for a consultation to turn into a quote, that’s not what it’s meant to be.  There are too many things to ask and to learn before making an investment as important as this.

Here’s a short list of some questions you probably haven’t thought of yet:

  1. How do I get power to my cameras?hdcvi-hd-cvi
  2. How long do each of my cable runs need to be?
  3. How long do I need to record for?
  4. What angle of view do my cameras need to have?
  5. What resolution do my cameras need to be?

Here’s a list of things you probably just didn’t know:

  1. There’s multiple types of security cameras
  2. There’s multiple body styles of security cameras
  3. There’s a ludicrous number of camera resolutions
  4. There is a huge number of lens options
  5. There are multiple types of cable and connectors

This has been but a brief glimpse at the tip of the iceberg.  If you don’t have a definitive answer or knowledge of all of these, you’re not ready for a quote, and you’re certainly not ready to buy.  These are not problems for the installer to figure out.  This is your system that caters to the area that you need to keep an eye on.  Installers are not mind readers and are just visiting.  The only one who knows what you need is you.  Installers exist for the purpose of taking the appropriate pieces and putting them in the appropriate spots.  They are not there to write to the instruction manual.

How well your CCTV security camera systems works for you will be based on how much knowledge you go in with.  The more you’re able to learn, the more you’ll be able to take an active role in creating the perfect blue print that you’ll need to make your security camera system everything that you need it to be.

Don Stephens is a Technical Support Manager at CCTV Camera World, a leading Security Camera distributor located in Buffalo, NY. His area of expertise is in designing professional security camera systems for medium and large scale businesses, schools, and government projects.

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