There are many things that you, as a Dealer, must be aware of as you choose and maintain your relationships with your central stations. One thing to remember is that, as a subcontractor, “they work for you.” Many central stations would have you believe it is the other way around.
First, get your own service/monitoring contracts. It will cost you upfront, but will save you in the long run. “Free” contracts from central stations are typically non-transferable, making moving to another central or even selling your accounts more difficult. Also, many of those contracts protect them, not you. You should have your contracts reviewed at least every two years to keep up with new technology.
Second, truly understand what you are signing with your central station. Everyone knows the basic price; do you know what the ancillary services that you typically use cost? Are there hidden fees? How does the central handle and charge for run-aways? Are there other hidden charges, such as excessive signals, phone line fees, paperwork fees, etc.? Everyone presumably knows the initial term of their agreement, but do you know the renewal clause? Do you know how long in advance you need to notify the central of your intent to leave or renegotiate your deal – a month, 3 months…? Mark it on your calendar because most centrals won’t remind you.
Third, if you are still using phone lines to send signals, make sure you have the rights to them and that you are the only dealer on that line. Again, this will ease your ability to move or sell your accounts.
These are just a few of the things you need to review with your centrals before you sign on the dotted line.