Service/Maintenance Agreements For IP Camera Installations

I'm an old timer in the security industry but deal with smaller systems and never dealt with maintenance agreements. I will describe three systems that I have currently to give you an idea of what I deal with. 1) 15 fixed IP cameras with an i3 server in an active warehouse. Three of the cameras are outside requiring a 20' ladder to reach and the rest are inside (we use the owners lift to service). Sold for about $32,000. 2) Three fixed IP cameras with a NUUO server. One of these cameras is at a remote location and I am using Ubiquity Wi-Fi for video transmission. Sold for about $8,000. 3) Nine fixed IP cameras and one analog PTZ with auto tracking and trigger points from 4 cameras and we are using some analytics on four other cameras and another i3 server. Sold for about $26,000.

A) Do I offer different plans including replacement equipment? What are they? B) Do I offer 24 hour service? C) How do I come up with a price for the different plans? D) When do I offer the service agreement, when the system is handed over the client (for a reduced rate) or after a year? E) What am I missing?

Steven, we have a service / maintenance contracts guide and a surveillance warranty terms review that covers the basics.

In terms of your 4 specific questions, I'll throw out my opinion to start:

  • One plan is typically good enough covering both labor and equipment.
  • For such small systems, I think it's risky and unnecessary to hold yourself to 24 hour service. In any event, is that business hours only, excluding weekends? 48 is likely more common.
  • You can offer it during the initial sale - like selling an extended warranty, with a discount (say 10 or 15%).
  • What's missing? I don't know about missing but the big risk is pricing correctly. Project 1 strikes me as the least risky as it sounds straightforward. Also, it's larger so 10% of the sold cost is a fairly sizeable annual payment. Project 2, with wireless adds some more risk. Project 3 with the auto tracking and analytics also exposes some risk of increased service calls.

My experience has been that smaller systems are less likely to go with service agreements unless they are 'rich', as security is less mission critical for them.

Those are just some thoughts. Thanks for detailing your request. It helps us provide better recommendations.

Steven, for clarity... do you mean '24 hour service' as in "We will show up to fix stuff within 24 hours of notice" - or - "We will respond to service requests 24 hours a day"?

John, thank you for the other articles. I tried to look something up but was unable to get anything from the search engine. With this being said; Marty, let me try to go into a little better detail. I do not have any "mission critical" systems anymore. I am in cameras because I did not like the "alarm calls" requiring immediate response for burglar and fire systems.

I am really llooking for a basiline to go on...what should I offer and how much should I charge. In my situations, if a camera is out for a couple of days no one sweats. It just needs to get fixed. Should I be offering two different agreements; one with a twice annual inspection and labor for equipment repairs or the same with material (cameras, switches, server, ???) included?

Any sugguestions you guys might have I'd arrpeciate. My 15 camera system is comming up on a year shortly.