Home security systems and the companies that maintain them are dedicated to protecting homes, families, and the valuables inside. Home security essentials include monitoring systems, burglar alarms, sensors, security cameras, and motion sensors. A security technician, security specialist, or certified installers can sell and set up home security systems.
When you're seeking to hire a trustworthy home security company there are many important factors to consider. One important consideration that is commonly overlooked is the licensing and bonding required by your state. Many states require home security companies to meet certain standards and also be licensed, or licensed and bonded.
The most common license requirement is that company principles and employees must not have any felony convictions. Other requirements for security professionals can include:
- Related professional experience
- U.S. citizenship
- A minimum age
- Background checks and fingerprinting
- Passing various tests to verify knowledge and competency
States may require more than one license or licensing in multiple categories. The State of California requires home security companies to be licensed to sell alarm systems on a consumer's premises, install, service, repair, monitor alarms, and respond to alarm activations.
Companies are bonded by obtaining surety bonds from insurance companies. The bond company will also perform a thorough verification of the home security company. If a home security company fails to perform, does damage, or causes problems for the homeowner, the homeowner can file a claim with the bond company.
In this way, surety bonds provide an additional layer of protection for homeowners. Some states do not require bonding, for example, California and Florida only require business liability insurance and bonding is voluntary. If a bond is required, most states will also require the company to show proof of the bond before it can complete and obtain its licensing.
Failure to Comply
Companies who fail to become properly licensed can face strict penalties, such as high fines and even criminal charges. Many states require continuing education credits to maintain or renew certain licenses. In order to maintain a good standing with licenses, some states may also have additional requirements related specifically to company employees, such as background checks, fingerprinting, and certification in some related subjects.
According to the National Systems Contractors Association's (NSCA) Guide to State Licensing Regulations no specific statewide licenses are required for design, installation and maintenance of low-voltage systems in:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Although state licenses are not required, in many instances an electrician's license and electrical contractor license are mandatory. In addition, many local municipalities such as cities and counties also have licensing requirements that must be met.
Individual State Requirements
State requirements for licensing and bonding home security companies can vary greatly. For instance, in the state of Alabama, licenses are required for burglar alarm systems, access control, and closed-circuit television systems only in areas with populations of 30,000 or more.
The state of Delaware requires alarm companies to obtain a license and a $10,000 surety bond.
In the state of Michigan, companies must fulfill licensing requirements and post a $25,000 bond.
There are many resources available that can help you determine if your prospective home security company is meeting state requirements. You can find your state's requirements by visiting their website or contacting your state's commerce department.
In addition to reviewing the NSCA online guide, you can also receive reliable information from credible trade associations, such as the Electronic Security Association and the Home Security Association.
Working with a reputable company that has completed and maintained the state licensing and bond requirements will ensure that you are protected by your home security company in more ways than one!