The Ultimate Guide on Choosing an Access Control Installer
The proptech industry is booming. Over the next decade, it is expected to grow from $18.2 billion to $86.5 billion, with hundreds of startups trying to make their mark. When a field experiences this much growth, though, it can be difficult for customers to sort out reliable operations from those that are just trying to make a quick buck.
When it comes to access control installation, this is especially true. With so many companies entering the space, it can be hard for businesses and homeowners alike to determine which ones are worth their trust.
To help you select an experienced and reliable access control installer, we’ve created this comprehensive guide.
Below, you will learn:
- -What an access control installer is
- -How it differs from an access control integrator
- -The basic factors in installation cost
- -What different companies offer
- -How to choose the best hardware and software for your situation
- -Tips for setting security goals
- -The questions to ask a potential access control installer
Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.
What is an access control installer?
An access control installer is a person or company that specializes in installing, configuring, and maintaining access control systems. These systems are designed to grant or restrict physical access to buildings and other areas.
They use authentication methods such as PIN codes, cards, biometrics (e.g., fingerprints), and many others to verify the identities of those attempting to gain entry.
Good ones will guide hardware selection, installation process, and software configuration for an array of access control solutions including door locks, card readers, license plate recognition cameras, alarm systems, and more.
Difference between access control integrator vs installer
An access control integrator, on the other hand, is a vendor that specializes in connecting and configuring access control systems with other building systems.
An integrator may provide services such as interfacing the access control system with the fire alarm, HVAC, lighting control, intrusion detection, or CCTV surveillance systems.
Access control installers are more focused on installing hardware and configuring software for an access control system.
They will typically be responsible for mounting door readers, running wires from the reader to a control panel (or power source), programming cards/fobs/biometrics into the system software, and testing out all components to ensure everything is working properly before leaving the site.
How much do access control installers charge?
This will vary from project to project. Generally speaking, access control installers charge based on a per-door or per-gate basis (sometimes with additional fees for programming or other related services). Some companies may also offer discounted rates for larger projects.
The biggest factors will be:
The size of the organization will determine how complicated the installation process will be. If you are in a residential community with only a handful of doors, the average cost will be relatively low.
On the other hand, a large corporate campus with dozens of entrance points and access control systems may require significantly more time to install and configure and thus have a much higher price tag.
The scope of the access control system will also determine the cost. Different systems offer a range of features, from basic access control to more complex systems that feature analytics and reporting capabilities. The more complex the system, the higher the installation cost.
Number of entry points
The number of doors, gates, or other entry points will drastically affect the cost of installation. The more points that need to be secured, the more time and resources will be required for proper installation.
If there are multiple entry points or several layers of security that need to be configured, the price can go up significantly.
For example, if you need a system that can authenticate and track visitors as they enter and exit your premises, the complexity of installation will be much higher than for a basic access control system that simply raises a gate or unlocks a door when a fob is waved over a reader.
If you want to get an idea of how complex your project will be, ask yourself these questions:
-How many vehicle gates and pedestrian doors are you trying to control access to?
-How do you want authorized staff and residents to gain access?
-What locations are visitors allowed access through? Is there someone there processing them, or should they be authorized remotely?
-Do you have power and internet at the locations where you want the system installed?
-What about vendors and service providers? How will they access the property?
-Do you want vehicle information at all entries and exits? If so, how many lanes will there be?
You can see how a project can quickly become more and more complex.
There are times when an installer may need to work around existing infrastructure or wiring. This can add to the overall cost of installation if extra time is needed to configure the system around these obstacles.
It could also lower the price if there are pieces of hardware that can be repurposed instead of replaced.
How can a professional installer help?
It can be tempting to try and install your access control system on your own or with the help of your regular maintenance crew. However, an experienced professional can be invaluable when it comes to configuring a secure and reliable system that meets all of your security needs.
There are three pillars of security that all need to be working together.
The physical site of the access control system should be assessed to ensure that it is secure and free from potential tampering. This includes checking door frames, walls, ceilings, and other structural elements for any vulnerabilities.
The layout, traffic, and electrical requirements of the system should also be evaluated to ensure that it is installed in the best possible manner.
Any existing hardware needs to be evaluated to ensure that it is compatible with the new system. If not, then a professional access control installer can help you choose and install the most suitable hardware for your needs.
They will also be able to advise on additional features such as motion sensors, biometric readers, and more.
One of the things most often overlooked when organizations decide to install new access control is the dismantling or removal of old systems. This can be a delicate and time-consuming process that requires the expertise of a professional.
Once the hardware is installed, the software needs to be configured. This includes setting up user accounts, assigning access levels and privileges, creating schedules and reports, etc. An experienced professional can help you get the most out of your system by configuring it for maximum security and convenience.
Without all three pillars working together, your access control system won’t be as effective.
Tips on choosing hardware and software options
It’s not just the installer you need to consider when it comes to access control. You also need to think about the hardware and software you use since this will determine how secure your system is.
When choosing hardware, look for features such as
– Tamper-resistant components
– Encryption capabilities
The more advanced the technology, the better protected you’ll be from potential breaches or unauthorized access.
On the software side of things, make sure that it is user-friendly and offers plenty of customization options
It should also be able to integrate with existing systems to maximize efficiency and minimize manual work.
Companies like Proptia pride themselves on the reliability and ease of use of their access control systems, offering both hardware and software solutions to ensure your security goals are met.
Setting security goals
Before you do anything, you will need to determine what you need from your access control system.
For example, are you trying to automate and speed up visitor traffic at an entry gate? A potential solution could be license plate recognition visitor management, which can allow permanent access to approved vendors or visitors.
Having issues with people letting unauthorized visitors borrow keyfobs and proxy cards for access? A switch to mobile credentials could be the solution. These are unique to one device and can’t be cloned or transferred.
Trying to cut down on the cost of a 24/7 onsite guard? Virtual visitor processing can drastically reduce overhead.
Setting accurate goals is only possible when you understand the available options. Gated homeowners associations (HOAs) and commercial office buildings may have some overlapping solutions, but certain installers will be more experienced in one or the other.
Customizing your system
Once you have specific goals that will direct your access control system, you will need to search for ways to customize it to meet those goals. To do so, you will need to consider the different components of your access control system and decide which ones are best for your needs.
Additionally, you may need to employ a cloud-based platform that allows users from multiple locations access to the same system—a great option for businesses with remote offices or employees working remotely.
Make sure to consider not only where your needs are today, but where they will be five or ten years from now.
Proptia offers an all-in-one modular security suite that is future-proof. Today you might have just one access point, but in the future, you could be responsible for a complex visitor management operation with vendors or short-term rental Airbnb guests.
You may need to add vehicle identification to capture the make, model, color, and type of every vehicle that comes and goes. That won’t be possible with a standalone access control system that doesn’t allow for integration. Or you may want to add access control to amenities such as BBQ pits, SPAs, Tennis Courts etc..well with Proptia it’s easy to expand your access well still keeping it integrated with your visitor management operation.
In today’s modern environment, customers are demanding a fully-integrated system for pedestrian and vehicle access. It’s a balance of security and convenience. Proptia allows you to slide along that spectrum as your organization grows and matures.
How to find the best access control installer
The first step in finding a reliable access control installer is to determine what type of installation you need. Many companies offer both residential and commercial services, but some are more specialized.
It’s important to make sure that the company you select has experience with your particular application so they can provide the best possible service.
Questions to ask
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential installers, it is important to ask the right questions. Here are some things to consider when asking about access control installation:
-What hardware and software do they use?
-How experienced are their technicians?
-Do they offer any maintenance or support services?
-Are there any additional charges for training or installation fees?
-What type of warranty do they offer on their products and services?
It’s also a good idea to ask for references from past customers so you can get an idea of what kind of work the company does.
Finding a full-service option
When searching for security system installers, you’ll often find companies that install access control, CCTV cameras, or other technology – but many won’t have experience with large gates.
It is important to search for a full-service company that can do both gates and technology installation so that you can work with just a single vendor for both.
Focus on transparency
More than anything else, it is important to find an access control installer that is transparent and willing to answer all of your questions. A good installer will be upfront about their pricing, the services they offer, and any potential issues that may arise during installation.
Additionally, it can be helpful to have a clear understanding of what the company’s process looks like from start to finish, so you know exactly what you’re getting into.
When you are ready to find an access control installer, you shouldn’t be left in the dark. Follow the tips above to make sure you are getting the best service possible.
Remember: access control systems are an important part of keeping your home or business safe, so you must find a reliable installer who can provide quality services and support. With the right person in charge, you will be able to rest easy knowing that your property is secure.