Insights

Is your business ready to escape fixed-term contracts for video surveillance?

February 12, 2020

Modern, data-driven video surveillance is a powerful solution for loss prevention, for maintaining brand standards, for staff training and for giving owners and managers an extra pair of eyes that never blink.

Why then do vendors that pride themselves on offering the latest and greatest continue to lock clients into old-fashioned and restrictive fixed-term contracts? The only logical answer is they want the security of a stable revenue stream.

But if the emphasis is on delivering great service – on being accountable for delivering what the customer was promised when they signed on – imposing a fixed-term contract should not be necessary to retain business.

At one time, Solink had fixed-term contracts, and then we thought we could do better. Let’s stand on our service and have no fixed term and simply give customers an easy out should they chose to leave – a flat $500 cancellation fee.

Was it a sound decision? Let’s put it this way. It has made no measurable difference on our churn rate.

Whether you call it video-data integration, data-driven video surveillance, transaction-integrated video or just video, this is a competitive business. And yet, while our peers jockey for market position with changes to their service offerings and marketing collateral, one thing remains the same – they still rely on fixed-term contracts. Three years is standard, but some are as long as five years.

These contracts often squeeze the customer with added maintenance and subscription costs. If we are talking older technology, then depending on the quality of the equipment that the vendor installed – NVR and DVR systems as well as the cameras themselves – these costs can progressively add up over the life of the contract with equipment failures, network issues, the need for more memory storage or even software upgrades. Total cost of ownership (TCO) can become punitive.

These old contracts may also require the customer to purchase specific cameras and camera packages. Too often, customers are pressured to buy as many cameras as possible, instead of just the ones they need to solve actual problems within their business.

So, why would you want to be stuck in a contract if you don’t have to be?

What you can do

If you are ready to make a change in your business, you may simply be stuck until that contract comes up for renewal, but don’t assume so before you do a little investigation.

Where is that contract with your current provider? Dig it out and give it a close read.

Sometimes buried in the fine print is a loophole that will give you an early way out. There may in fact not even be a termination clause. We have seen older contracts that don’t spell out any penalties or an exit process if the customer decides to leave.

If the renewal date on your existing contract is coming up within the next 12 months, now is the time to start researching your options. We can help you make the switch to a no-contract solution– let’s talk.

When considering a switch, it’s important to consider that with modern digital technology, there are two sides to this – hardware and software. As we will explore in our next post, you may not have to rip and replace your existing cameras to benefit from the latest capabilities of intelligent and data-driven video surveillance.

With a much more modest investment in the right software, even your “dumb” old cameras, if they are solid and dependable workhorses worth holding on to, can gain some new smarts.

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