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Alarm system costs

Securing your premises is an essential step for any startup to take. But what alarm system costs should you consider? Learn what you’ll need to budget for here

Whether you need an intruder alarm with a simple bell device that rings when someone enters your property, or your business requires a more complex system that offers high-level protection, alarm systems are a key part of a startup’s security plan.

In this article, we’ll provide specific information about the cost of alarm system installation and other fees to factor in when selecting devices that are best for your business.

For a more general overview, read our guide to commercial alarm systems for small businesses.

The best alarm system providers at a glance

Alarm systemBest forPrice
Verisure 3G Control PanelQuick set-up timesPrices available upon request
Secom Wireless Intruder AlarmRetail businesses£795+
ADT Custom systemsPrices available upon request

To compare quotes for business security, simply complete the form at the top of the page.

You can go to the section you want to learn more about straight away. Or, read the whole article to get an in-depth understanding of security alarm system prices.

Alternatively, if you’re ready to compare quotes for business security now, simply complete the form at the top of the page.

What are the different types of alarm systems?

When considering alarm system costs, you’ll first need to decide on the type of device your business requires. Essentially, there are three types to choose from:

Type of alarmWhat does it offer?
Basic alarmsThis consists of a bell-only device that makes a loud ringing sound if someone tries to enter your property while the alarm is on. This type of alarm offers a basic level of protection with a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach at a low price point
Alert alarmsThis type informs your chosen contact(s) via text message or phone call and so offers a notification service. As this requires more resources, you can expect this type of system to be in the mid-range price bracket.
Monitored alarmsWith this option, your alarm is connected to an external monitoring centre with dedicated staff observing the systems. It offers real-time coverage and is at the higher end of the price spectrum.

There are some other factors that are likely to affect the cost of alarm system installation for your business.

You can conduct a risk assessment to help you understand the specific security needs of your startup, including what the potential risks or threats to your property may be. Similarly, take into account the value of the contents of your premises too.

These factors can help the decision-making process, to give you an idea of the type of alarm system your business needs, and in turn, how much funds to set aside for it.

Also, additional elements to the security system – such as the type of sensors used and if the device is wired or wireless – can influence what you can expect to pay to protect your premises.

You may also want to consider fire alarms and water detectors as part of your business security system.

So what do the costs look like? Read on to find out in the next section…

Alarm system costs: A breakdown

In this section, we’ll look at the details of the cost of alarm system installation. This means thinking about the different factors that go into finding the overall amount your business should budget for.

Security alarm systems prices include multiple aspects, such as:

  • Installation
  • Maintenance/services
  • Alarm system equipment
  • Monitoring packages
  • Size of premises

For example, a startup in a small coworking office space and a business that’s in a large retail park or warehouse will have different requirements. In turn, the level of protection the alarm would need to offer – and thus the price – is likely to change.

Factors such as how many entry and exit points are needed, the area of the premises, as well as the nature and value of the goods on-site will all affect the type of system required and the cost.

You’ll also need to think about some key questions, as the answers to these will influence the price your business will ultimately pay too. These include:

  • Does your business need an alarm-only package, or will a monitoring service need to be included too?
  • What is the contract price and length? For example, review the monthly price and duration, as well as if any fees apply should you need to break it early.
  • Are the installation and maintenance fees included in the general package price, or do they have to be paid for separately?
  • If opting for a professional installation, will you use a national or local alarm company? Each has their advantages and disadvantages. For example, a national company is likely to have a broader knowledge base. On the other hand, a local company may have inside knowledge that’s specific to your area.

You’ll also need to think about the time involved – whether that’s for your labour if you choose a DIY alarm option, or for the possible disruption to your business for a professional fit-out.

The former option is ‘free’, although you pay with your time away from running your business.

However, this also depends on the type of alarm system you go for, as the more complicated systems are likely to need a specialist to install them.

Plus, you’ll need to factor in additional costs for extra features, such as if you’re adding in CCTV surveillance or smoke detectors.

You should also review the immediate cost, as well as the ongoing monthly charges, to give you a true indication of the total cost.

FactorCost
Self-installed basic alarm systemAround £200
Professional alarm system installation£500-£1,000 (depends on security requirements)
Monitoring service£20-£30 per month approximately

If you want to find out more about prices and speak with suppliers, simply complete the form at the top of the page to compare quotes for business security.

As part of planning for the security measures that will protect your startup, you should also consider cyber security.

Cheapest alarm systems

Here we offer a guide to some of the factors that can affect the price of intruder and fire alarms, as well as water detectors.

Cheapest intruder alarm

  • Type – wired or wireless alarms 
  • Installation – professional installation has to be paid for or you may be able to ‘do it yourself’ (depending on the type of alarm)
  • Functions – the number and level of protective features
  • Monitoring – the type of monitoring service offered e.g. police response, depending on what is included in the monitoring package
  • Extent of coverage – such as the number and location of sensors
  • Premises – similarly, the nature and type of premises to be alarmed, as well as the number of access points and the number of people in the building
  • Complexity – a standalone alarm system is likely to be cheaper than one which is integrated with other security systems such as surveillance cameras, fire alarms 
  • Risk – property with high value items or other greater risks may require additional elements 

Cheapest fire alarm

  • Amount – the number of call points, heat detectors, sounders and smoke detectors required 
  • Type – such optical, ionisation, or combined, as well as if it’s wired/wireless, addressable etc
  • Servicing – in addition to the costs of the alarm itself, the ongoing servicing charges should be considered too

Cheapest water detector

  • Type of system – the different types of water detectors, such as basic sensors, or more advanced conventional/addressable systems
  • Battery power life – battery power life is useful in case of a power cut, so how long the battery can last for could be key
  • Sounders – if the alarm is raised when water is detected by audible sounders or not
  • Type of premises to be covered – the area to be covered, as well as the type of protection required
  • Installation – you may be able to install some water detectors yourself, whereas others may require professional installation
  • Area – if the area the water detector will be placed in is at greater risk, you may need a more advanced system
  • Purpose – whether you’re using a basic detector that you install yourself or a one-off commercial detection system for a specific issue (such as while renovating a property or working on a construction site, for example)

Intruder alarm costs

Intruder alarm costs are determined by the type of alarm and the size of the premises to be covered, as well as taking into account any additional features or functions (e.g. smoke alarm capability, maintenance services). Costs may also be affected by the time of year – seasonal sales, for example.

When reviewing intruder alarm costs, there are several factors to take into consideration, including:

  • Alarm type – wired and wireless alarms are offered at different price points
  • VAT – check whether the prices given are inclusive or exclusive of VAT (if applicable for your business)
  • Extra charges – additional fobs or keys for the alarm, as well as fire alarm features, are two examples of ways in which the price could increase
  • Exit fees – if your alarm service is contracted, be aware that there could be exit fees if you decide to finish the service before the set date

Be sure to check which equipment is included – does the package have everything you need to set up an intruder alarm or will some elements need to be added separately? Plus, are any additional or exclusive features available?

Also, consider what type of alarm provider would best suit your business’ needs – a small, local company or a big, national provider?

Here is a rough guide to the costs of different types of alarms.

Alarm typeCost
Basic£75-£150
Mid-range£300-£500
Advanced£500-£1,500+

A monitored wireless alarm is likely to cost around £100-£200, so may fall into the basic or mid-range brackets, depending on its features, while an auto-dialler alarm is usually priced about £200-£300. You can expect to pay in the region of £150 for a smart alarm, and £250 to have it installed professionally.

Note that the costs for the basic and mid-range alarms vary according to the features they have, and are offered on the basis that they will be self-installed. The higher end of the advanced price range is likely to require professional installation. The size of the premises will also influence which equipment and installation method is required.

In addition to the cost of the alarm itself, you should also factor in the cost of a maintenance contract for repairs and servicing – it could cost £80 a year, as one example.

Best intruder alarms

Alarm systemBest forPrice
Verisure 3G Control PanelQuick set-up timesPrices available upon request
Secom Wireless Intruder AlarmRetail businesses£795+
ADT Custom systemsPrices available upon request

To compare quotes for business security, fill in the form at the top of the page. 

Or, learn more about intruder alarms here.

Fire alarm costs

When assessing how much it will cost you to install a fire alarm system in your business, you should consider the following points, as these are all likely to influence prices:

  • The size of the business – how much area needs to be covered will determine the type of fire alarm your business needs and the price
  • How complex the system needs to be – a home office and a warehouse, for example, are likely to have different needs
  • The type of connection – new or rewired systems should be installed by a professional, whereas some battery powered alarms may be suitable for self-installation
  • How much time it will take to install – whether you intend to fit the alarm yourself or it requires a professional to do it, assess if the installation time will have an impact on your business
  • Additional costs – check if site visits and assessments are included or if they incur an extra charge

Fire alarms costs can be separated into the costs for the materials and the cost of installation. Within that, installation has two options: install the fire alarm yourself or hire a professional company to do it. If you hire a tradesperson, you’re likely to be charged an hourly or daily rate for their labour time and then for the materials, if they source them.

Here we give you an idea into the amount of you can expect to pay for different types of fire alarms, as well as the costs involved for materials and installation, plus how long it may take.

Alarm typeMaterials costSelf-installation may be possibleProfessional installation cost and time
Battery powered£25-£60Yes£100-£300, up to two hours
Wired alarm£120No£160-£450; up to half a day

Smart alarms (those that connect with apps or devices or that offer other tech features) are likely to be situated at the higher end of the price ranges provided.

Similarly, whether the alarms are interconnected or not will also affect where they fall along the spectrum of costs.

Also, bear in mind that a large commercial premises with a fire alarm system which includes multiple zones and detectors could take up to a week to install with materials and labour costing £1000+ respectively.

In general, you can expect to pay between £2,000-£5,000 for a fire alarm system for a commercial premises.

This depends on the type of business, as well as how many call points, detectors, sounders, and sirens are needed in the system. The type of smoke alarm required (such as ionisation or optical, for example) will also contribute to the total costs.

To get more information that’s relevant to your specific business’ needs, fill in the form at the top of the page to compare quotes for business security.

Be sure to check if the prices are inclusive or exclusive of VAT, if applicable for your business.

Some examples of commercial premises that may need to install fire alarms with varying needs (and therefore prices) include:

  • A landlord installing a system in a shared house
  • A bar or pub
  • An office
  • A hotel

Note that you’ll also need to factor in costs to service and maintain the fire alarm, if you opt for a fire alarm provided by a professional company. The rate charged depends on the number of devices in the system, and it may take place once or twice a year.

The maintenance and service visits for a fire alarm system with up to 20 devices could cost around £125-£150, as an example. While this number of devices is likely to apply for most small businesses, you can expect the price to increase the more devices there are in the system.

Best fire alarms

Alarm systemBest forPrice
ADT Multiple detection - carbon monoxide, heat and smokePrice on request
SecomBespoke designPrice on request
VerisureMonitoring servicePrice on request

To find out more about business security based on your specific business needs, fill in the form at the top of the page to compare quotes.

When choosing the best fire alarms, some of the best fire alarm features to look out for  include:

  • Ionisation
  • Optical
  • Heat
  • Combined – smoke/heat, smoke/carbon monoxide
  • Monitoring service (extra) – with emergency services response
  • If it can be accessed via an app
  • Decibel level of siren
  • How easy it is to test

Discover the different types of fire alarms here.

Water detector costs

In the table below, you can get a rough idea of the different types of water detectors and how much they may cost.

Type of water detectorApproximate costs
Basic – sound alert when sensors detect water£5-£20 for the device; self-install
Smart – connects to wifi and sends text/email alerts£20-£75 for the device; self-install
Advanced – more complex systemVariable, as based on business’ requirements; professional installation

At the higher end of the smart water detector price point, there may also be the option to use it via an app, as well as additional features such as humidity or temperature detection too. Some may also be able to connect with smart home devices, like Alexa.

Depending on the system, you could get a water detector that connects with your intruder alarm or fire alarm, if they are all from the same provider and can be connected, such as via an app.

The type and number of sensors can affect the price too, as budget water detectors often have three sensors, while more advanced devices may use a cable sensor.

While it’s possible to use a basic water detector, there are several other features that may be useful to consider for your business, and that may affect the price. For example:

  • Rustproof design
  • Alerts e.g. buzzing, alarm
  • Wired or wireless
  • Smart detectors for text or email notifications
  • Detect humidity and temperatures changes, as well as water

Additionally, the questions below may help you understand what the total water detectors costs may be:

  • How much power does it consume? The lower the power consumption level, the less impact on your business electricity bills
  • Is the battery included in the price of the device? Not all water detector costs include this, especially the budget options. In addition, assess the battery’s lifetime and how frequently it needs to be replaced
  • Is a hub necessary? Some smart water detectors require a hub or gateway to connect it to the router, whereas some can connect directly to the router. If a separate hub is required, then factor in the costs for this too
  • Where can it be placed? The cheaper options may be more limited on where they can be placed, such as only on a wall or a particular type of surface
  • How long does it take to set up? A wireless water detector may be ready to use, and so only requires minimal time away from your business to set it up

It’s also wise to consider what support, if any, is provided.

Some other options to consider include single use water detectors and more complex commercial water detector systems from a professional company.

Single use water detectors are designed to be placed in the relevant area and may have a certain lifetime with a built-in battery. The detector works within this timeframe until a water leak is detected, and then a new one is required.

More complex systems for businesses from a commercial water detector company are likely to have a cable, a sensor (or multiple sensors), and a control panel.

Best water detectors

Water detectorBest forPrice
Aqualogic 230v HydroCheck PIR Control UnitBespoke designs£115 (excl. VAT)
Honeywell Lyric W1KSEasy set upVaries between provider
LeakSmart SensorProfessional installationVaries between provider

Want to be matched with suppliers based on your small business requirements? Complete the form at the top of the page to compare quotes for business security.

Alarm system installation costs

You can either install an alarm system yourself or use a professional company.

Some factors that may determine which installation method is best suited to your business include:

  • The size of your business premises – smaller areas with simple requirements lend themselves to self-installation, whereas bigger premises with more complex needs tend to require professional installation
  • The type of alarm – wired alarms are likely to need a professional to install them, due to the structural and electrical work involved, whereas a wireless alarm may only need to be connected to the internet
  • The type of contract – if you opt for an ongoing contracted service, such as monitoring or maintenance of the alarms, then this may influence if you can install the alarm yourself or if the company needs to do it

Here we provide an idea as to what you can expect to pay for the cost of the alarm system installation.

Alarm typeSelf-installation costProfessional installation cost
Basic (e.g. a bell-only device)£70-£300£200-£350; a wired bell-only alarm may cost around £400
Mid-range (e.g. an auto-dialler or telecommunicating alarm)£175-£300£300-£400
Advanced (e.g. a smart alarm)£150£250-£400
Bespoke (e.g. a custom-made device/system)N/AVariable, depending on your business’ requirements
  • For a basic alarm that you install yourself, the lower end of the price range will be a simple alarm, while the higher end is likely to be a more sophisticated device, with an app or a smart alarm, for example
  • Professional installation without an ongoing contract may be higher, depending on the alarm and business type – £800+, for example
  • Note that the greater the number of sensors, the higher the price is likely to be

Alarm system monitoring costs

If you opt for a monitoring service, this is often charged on a monthly basis. There are several factors that are likely to influence the monitored alarm systems monthly cost. These include:

  • Alarm type – the number of sensors and the way in which the alarm is connected (wired or wireless) may also affect the monthly costs
  • Police response – if the monitoring service includes police response to any call-outs or activations, then you can expect the price to increase

Here is a guide to approximate monthly monitoring costs.

Type of serviceSet-up costsMonthly charges
Monitored alarm£100£15-£45
Monitored wireless alarm£100-£200£15-£45
Police response£400-£700£30-£45

Note that the monthly charges may be affected by the set contract length (e.g. 12, 24, or 36 months). The lower the monthly price, the longer the contract is likely to be, whereas higher monthly costs may be offset by a shorter contract.

For example, monthly alarm costs for a basic alarm service could be under £20, while a mid-range range alarm service could be around £25-£35. A more advanced system could be £40+ a month, also depending on the contract lengths.

If you already have an alarm installed, it may also be possible to get a contract for only the monitored service.

How to save money on your alarm system

When working out how much an alarm system could cost for your business, it’s likely you’ll want to know ways to save money – our top tips include:

  • Customise the system to your business needs – whether you only require an alarm system in certain areas or with specific features, customising the system to match what your business needs can help you to focus in spending on only the most essential elements
  • Review maintenance contracts – some may offer you just a standard check for the system, while others may include repairs and other on-site visits, so assess how much cover you’re likely to need and tailor the service accordingly
  • Shop around – as with other business services, it’s important to do your research and find as many possible options for alarm system installation as possible. We can help with this too – you can compare quotes for business security by completing the form at the top of the page
  • Inform your insurance provider – sometimes, fitting an alarm system into your premises may enable you to get discounted rates on your business insurance, so check with the insurance company to find out more

What are the next steps?

At this point, you’ve learned more about the types of commercial alarm systems available to your small business, as well as what you can expect to pay for them. Explore our business and home security hub for more information.

From here, for further information based on your business requirements, you should speak with suppliers – Startups.co.uk can help with this too. Just fill in the form at the top of the page – it’s free, easy and quick.

Alarm system costs: The FAQs

Here, we answer some of the main queries you may have when thinking about the cost of alarm system installation.

1. What are pay monthly alarm systems?

If you choose to have a monitoring service with your alarm, then you’re likely to pay for it on a monthly basis for a set period of time. This is usually for a year, although could be up to three years. 

2. How much should you pay for alarm monitoring?

Costs for monitoring services can vary considerable, depending on the type and level of monitoring you opt for. Set up costs could be in the range of £100-£700, while monthly charges are likely to be between £15-£45. Read our alarm system monitoring costs section for more information.

3. How much does it cost to install an alarm system in the UK?

When looking at overall costs for alarm system installation, it really depends on the type, level and purpose of the system. For more information based on your business specifically, compare quotes for business security by completing the form at the top of the page.

 

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Scarlett Cook attends and reports on many industry events for Startups.co.uk, particularly those relating to communication, equality and diversity in entrepreneurship.

Since joining the team in 2018, she has developed our telephone systems and business mobiles topics as well as ‘how to’ guides, with her work having been referenced by brands such as Hiscox. Previously, she has written for audiences across the UK, Australia and New Zealand.