After receiving yet another call from a very disappointed person who bought a system from Sam’s and has had trouble with it, I thought I should share a blog I wrote about a year ago. (FYI, it could be a do-it-yourself system from ANY company)
By the way, I LOVE Sam’s….. just not for this type of equipment. Chief DataCom spends a LOT of money at SAM’s! In fact, they offer very high quality products at a significant discount. If you do not have a membership, you need to get one TODAY. However, there is a reason it requires a license to sell or install video surveillance equipment!
Why Not Buy From Sam’s (or any other place that sells the DIY systems)?
If I said I have been asked the question “why shouldn’t I buy a camera system from Sam’s?” a thousand times….. I would be exaggerating. But, I do get asked that type of question a lot. Sam’s does carry a lot of video surveillance packages and many of them are dirt cheap. To be frank with you, there are people who will be satisfied with buying one of their systems. (And, something is better than nothing).
However, If Sam’s could offer what we do, at the price we do, with the service we do, then….. we would not “do” what we do. So, what is the difference?
1) The most obvious difference is the expertise of the installer: you or us. We have an Oklahoma state license for video surveillance (#1911), thousands of hours of installation experience and we understand low voltage electricity. We also have the tools (some of them VERY expensive) to install a system. What’s more, the majority of people do not have the time or knowledge to poke hole in their walls or ceilings to run the cable. It ends up looking tacky and wires are exposed. (This means they can be cut easily by an intruder)
2) Which brings me to the next reason: It is NOT the same system. Since you are not a licensed installer, the systems you can buy from Sam’s are not made for “professional” installation. Most of them have a proprietary connection which means if it breaks, you must replace it with the same camera. It also means you cannot add another camera of a different brand. The cabling is usually standard “telephone” cable which is not nearly as reliable or as sturdy as the various cables used by professionals. The warranty is often less than a professional grade camera AND the service is non-existent. Most reputable video surveillance companies would not consider installing a system from Sam’s.
3) Most of the cameras at Sam’s (or other retail establishments) are lower grade cameras. Their resolution is typically 420 TVL or lower. (We sell nothing below 580 TVL)
4) The same goes for the DVR quality. Remember, since you are not a professional, you do not get “professional grade”. This means that the features you get are for the “novice” and the hard drive space is sometimes minimal (250 GB or less).
5) If you are planning to expand your home or business and may want to add cameras at a later date, with most do it yourself systems, you can’t. If it is a 4 camera system, it will only support 4 cameras. That means you would need to buy an entire system if you were to upgrade, whereas a professional company (such as Chief DataCom) can install a system that can be upgraded at a very low cost.
6) We offer financing. Yes, Sam’s has a credit card, but it is a credit card. There is a difference!
7) Finally, and most importantly: WE ARE A LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED BUSINESS. We warranty our products and services and we believe you should NEVER hire a company you can’t reach out and choke if needed. We are here for our customers and we are just darn good people.
The bottom line is, “cheap” may appear to be a great deal, but if you compare apples to apples, you may find that you save money and time by having a system professionally installed. In fact, we had a man call who was so frustrated with the system he bought from Sam’s that he wanted to PAY US to install it for him! He paid about $1000 for the system and after paying us to install it, he would have paid MORE than it would have cost for us to do it in the first place!