How We Rank - Understanding Our 9-Point Ranking Criteria
You can’t buy love… or rankings
Disclosure: We do not have any relationships with companies that guarantee position, rank, or score…and we never will ;) Our ranking of home security companies is based on our Ranking Criteria algorithm, and backed by real user reviews. We are compensated by some companies we review, depending on their willingness to work with us. (Not all companies are fans of an honest review site)
Price: 15% of Overall Score.
A vital piece of the overall ranking. Many companies have different pricing options complete with different install fees and reoccurring monthly fees. This portion of a company’s score will be based on the average monthly costs. If a company offers a variety of pricing packages, the score will be based on the standard or basic home security package.
- According to data collected by consumers, how much the service in its entirety will cost is an important aspect of the purchasing decision. Scoring for this criteria point is based off of how much consumers are willing to pay for a home security system/service.
Contract Length: 10% of Overall Score.
Being locked into a contract can be frustrating and expensive. Contracts can be essential to any monthly services, and a shorter contract might mean more upfront out of pocket costs, however companies with shorter contract lengths will get a higher rating from this criteria. This portion of the ranking criteria are also a result of consumer input.
- Consumers are looking for a user-friendly service that is the most convenient and flexible. Getting out of a contract is both a hassle and expensive, so the companies with the shortest contracts will earn higher scores.
Cancellation Policy: 5% of Overall Score.
In addition to having short or no contracts for their services, the cancellation policy is also valuable information consumers like to be aware of prior to signing up. While it’s not a perfect indicator it does show, to a degree, how flexible companies are with their customers. This criteria point also ties back into the consumers focus on the overall costs of service.
- The cancellation policy is rarely discussed during the sales process, but it is something consumers need to be aware of. The companies that charge less during the cancellation process will receive higher scores in this area.
BBB Rating: 5% of Overall Score.
Although not a perfect indicator, and sometimes biased (based on some things that we’ve seen in the industry), the BBB ranking is an important data point for most consumers, and therefore it is included in the company score. Keep in mind that there are many companies that have very low ratings on their BBB score that are based on the industry they are in, and not consumer feedback.
- The companies with the higher ratings will get higher scores than those companies with low BBB ratings. The majority of consumers still somewhat trust a company’s BBB rating.
Home Automation: 10% of Overall Score.
Technology has completely shifted into the “smart” era. There are smart phones and smart TV’s, and now even your home security system can be “smart.” In years passed, home security and home automation companies were separate entities. Now, more and more home security companies are offering a home automation service complete with equipment and functionality. The home security companies that offer a home automation service in addition to their home security products will be scored higher.
- Customers enjoy options and the ability to upgrade their products and services. For home security customers, home automation is something they are interested in.
Monitoring: 13% of Overall Score.
Installing a system is only half of the battle when it comes to protecting your home. Making sure your home and your family remains safe through monitoring services is critical to the overall protection. If the communication line between the system and the monitoring station is disconnected, it leaves the home vulnerable. How the system is connected determines how the system is installed and subsequently monitored.
- When deciding between a wireless/cellular, internet, or phone line connection, customers preferred the wireless option. The companies that utilize wireless connection to monitor their customer’s homes will receive a higher score.
Equipment and Technology: 7% of Overall Score.
You deserve the best equipment when working with any company to help secure your home. This ranking criteria is based on not only quality of the equipment used, but also the technology available that helps secure your home better. How many sensors and technologies offered by a home security provider will ultimately dictate their scores in this area.
Consumer Reviews: 15% of Overall Score.
This site is designed to let consumers share their experiences. Given our expertise in the home security industry and the knowledge that we have gained over the years, we know that some of the most important opinions come from real customers. That is why we have allocated so much of our overall rating to the voice of our validated customer reviews. The Consumer Reviews Score is broken down into 3 metrics:
- The Average User Score
- Total Number of Reviews
- Total Number of Reviews in the last 12 months
These 3 metrics not only help us understand what consumers are saying, they also help us gain an understanding of volume and recency. All of which are critical to understanding the value of a company in the eyes of the consumer.
Note: this is different from the user score that is displayed on each company profile. The “user score” that is publicly displayed is the average of all user scores published for a given profile.
User Review Moderation
In order to prevent fake and misleading user reviews, BHSC has a review moderation team specifically assigned to moderating all user reviews for all companies listed on the site. This team follows a very specific and strict moderation process that has been designed by gathering learning’s from mistakes other major review sites have made in the past.
This moderation process involves a “flag” system where a “flag” is assigned to each negative attribute associated with a user review. Too many flags result in a disapproval of a user review. Some of the things our moderation staff looks for and assigns potential flags to include:
- Email Address verification of the user
- IP Address duplication and region check
- User Review semantic verification
- Is the user an employee of the organization?
- Is the user associated with a competitor of the organization?
- Foul language of any kind
- Relevance of the content pertaining to the company and the review
As you can probably tell, we take our user review moderation process very seriously. We believe accuracy and authenticity is critical when it comes to user reviews, and as a result we are constantly finding new ways to evolve our user moderation process to make it better. Please note that we do manually moderate each and every user review.
Expert Review: 20% of Overall Score.
Along with the criteria points mentioned above, we take into account a variety of other factors that help determine the viability, stability and trustworthiness of a company. As experts in the Home Security industry, we conduct an extensive research process specifically tailored to the Home Security industry that considers many additional factors including:
- Financial Standing of the organization
- The number of industry experts and professionals on staff
- The company’s ability to scale
- Historical revenue/growth
- Past and current lawsuits
- Customer service and transparency
- And much more.
We consider this Expert Review process a vital component of how we rank and review companies. As a result, the factors included are always changing, adapting, and updating. We also reserve the right to voice our expert opinions as a part of each review.
These sidebar points are there for informational purposes only and are not considered in a company’s score.
SDM Top 100:
SDM Magazine ranks the top 100 security providers in the United States. Only the best companies are rated and included on this list. SDM provides a ranking based on collected data, similar to the BBB, but specializes in the security industry.
Home security companies are offering two different forms of installation: Profession and DIY. There are companies that allow the consumer the option. This is not taken into consideration for scoring, but is there so consumers know what is being offered.
- Consumers were relatively indifferent in their installation preferences which is why it is not included in the ranking criteria and is simply an informational point.
UL Listed: 20%
Underwriter’s Laboratories is the leading third-party certification agency for security and signaling products and systems. A UL certification provides the quickest and surest route to product acceptance by regulatory authorities, insurers, law enforcement organizations, government, retailers and consumers.
FM Certified: 10%
FM Global offers worldwide industrial and commercial product certification and testing services through FM Approvals. Recognized and respected across the globe, FM Approvals certification assures customers a product or service that has been objectively tested and conforms to the highest national and international standards.
Although not a perfect indicator, and sometimes biased (based on some things that we’ve seen in the industry), the BBB ranking is a very important data point for most consumers, and therefore we have given this a higher weight. Keep in mind that there are many companies that have very low ratings on their BBB score that are based on the industry they are in, and not consumer feedback.
Time in Business: 5%
Home security monitoring isn’t anything new. We find it very valuable to review companies that have been around a while, and have built a name over time that you can trust.
Higher levels of service also include redundant and back up locations to prevent down time during natural disasters or other catastrophes.
Number of Stations: 3%
While there are several monitoring agencies that operate at high levels with only one station we feel an added security measure and quality when monitoring agencies have several stations throughout the US.
Avg Response Time: 13%
One of the most important criteria on our list. Average response time describe the time it takes for monitoring centers to react on signaled alarms. Our high-standard benchmark is 15 seconds or less.
Given User Rating: 25% of Overall Score.
Our highest weighted criteria. This site is designed to let you share your opinion. Given our expertise in the home security industry and the knowledge that we have gained over the past years, we know some of the most important opinions comes from real customers. That is why we have allocated so much of our rating to the voice of our validated customer reviews.
*Disclaimer - We are constantly updating and improving our rating criteria for improved accuracy.
Do you have recommendations for making the current ranking criteria of this site better? Are there parts of the ranking criteria that you disagree with and have an explanation as to why? We want to hear from you! Visit our Recommendation Form page and send us your feedback today!