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Commercial Alarm Systems For Small Business

While it is true that some businesses are more prone to threats such as burglaries and fires, it is also true that every business carries this risk to some extent irrespective of the size and type of the establishment.

Often, when talking about security and its related measures, the main focus is on medium to large scale businesses and out of all, small businesses are often the most neglected.

This mindset needs to change since according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), 50% of all small businesses have been a victim of a crime and remain a huge target for fire-related incidents.

The best way to combat these issues is to install commercial alarm systems for small businesses that send alerts across the premises to deter potential intruders and inform the occupants of the underlying danger.

While the type of alarm system may vary across different businesses, having them installed on the property must be the number one priority.

The two main types of commercial alarm systems include burglar alarms and fire alarms, both of which are equally important in keeping the business and its contents safe.

Let’s look at what type of alarm system is best for small businesses, the factors that help choose the best one, and the typical prices involved:


A commercial burglar alarm works to serve two basic purposes; alerting the occupants of a business and the people nearby of an intrusion, and scaring away potential intruders.

They work using a series of sensors that go off as soon as they detect any suspicious activity, notifying the owners to take the necessary action.

There are various types of commercial burglar alarms available and choosing the best one for your small business depends on the level of protection you’re looking for.

  • Bells-only burglar alarms

These are the most basic type of burglar alarms that makes use of auditory and visual alerts to inform the small business owners and occupants about a break-in or potential burglary.

They rely on someone noticing the alerts and taking action as soon as the alarm is triggered. If someone fails to take notice and the subsequent action, such as when the property is empty during the night, they can be an ineffective tool not serving the purpose they are made for.

These are a good choice for small businesses where the owners live nearby to always monitor the alarms themselves and not rely on luck or anyone else to do so.

  • Dialler burglar alarms

Working on the same mechanism as a bells-only burglar alarm, dialler burglar alarms come with an additional feature of contacting the owners or the nominated keyholders in the event of an alarm trigger.

These systems allow saving up to ten emergency numbers to be contacted in such situations, who are contacted according to the priority in which they are saved. As soon as someone responds, the system stops contacting anyone further.

They are either linked to the phone line, in which case it’ll use your landline to call the emergency contacts, or to a GSM mobile network, in which case you would require a sim card topped with credit all the time.

Dialler systems are also a good choice for small businesses, considering that the emergency contacts are reliable and responsible, and live nearby to reach the premises within a few minutes of being called.

  • Monitored burglar alarms

In addition to the usual alerts that commercial burglar alarms make, monitored systems alert a professional monitoring centre manned by experts who notify the owners, nominated keyholders, or the police as soon as the sensors pick up any unusual activity.

One of the most fool-proof and reliable burglar alarms out there, burglar alarm monitoring offers great peace of mind, a guaranteed response, and 24/7 protection even when the business is empty and uninhabited.

  • Smart burglar alarms

Smart burglar alarms are managed via an app with notifications sent to your phone. Similar to monitored systems, they alert someone in case of a break-in but are usually integrated with your phone and other smart devices such as CCTV cameras and lights.

For instance, when the alarm is triggered, the smart lights on your property would turn on to scare away any intruder. The alarm can also be turned on and off from your phone. It’s extra beneficial when you’re away and need to keep an eye on what’s happening.


Fire alarms are a vital part of workplace security with laws stating that every business, small or large, must have an effective fire alarm system in place.

The UK fire alarm regulations state that you’re responsible for fire safety if you’re the owner, employer, or anyone in a controlling position in a business.

Commercial fire alarm systems operate on the same principle of a specialised sensor detecting smoke, heat or an increase in carbon monoxide levels, which then triggers the alarm and warns others in and around the premises of the potential danger.

There are different types of fire alarms to choose from and picking the most ideal one for your small business depends on the scale of protection and level of security you require.

  • Conventional fire alarms

Conventional fire alarms divide the property into zones where all the devices are connected to the control panel on their own wire.

When the alarm is triggered, the system gives information about the particular zone that it was triggered in.

To get a better idea about zones and their divisions, let’s take an example of a building consisting of four floors where each floor is a different zone. If a fire erupts on the second floor, the second-floor zone would be triggered. This gives a rough idea as to where the fire has started (the second floor), but not exactly where on the second floor the fire is.

They are a cost-effective fire safety solution for small businesses, but because of their vagueness, they can be unreliable for businesses spread over a large area where identifying the specific location of the fire can become a challenge.

  • Addressable fire alarms

Addressable fire alarms have a specific address or location for sensors and devices that all connect to the control panel.

Each device has an address that can pinpoint the exact location of the threat. When one of the system’s components is initiated, it shows the component’s address on the fire alarm panel.

They are more expensive than the conventional systems and due to the high level of precision, are more suited for businesses that operate in a larger area or are at a higher risk of fires.


When choosing the best commercial alarm system for your small business, there are a couple of factors that you, as a business owner, must consider.

Each business is unique with different needs. These factors will help you make a good decision for your business’s safety, along with the valuable lives and possessions in it.

  • Type of system – do you require professional monitoring services or would an auditory/visual alert suffice?
  • Installation method – do you want a wired or wireless system?
  • Connectivity – are the signals transmitted via landline, GPRS, or the internet (IP)?
  • Smart options – do you want the system to be connected with your smart devices?
  • Trigger time – how fast is the process from alarm activation to alarm trigger?
  • Certifications – are the security companies installing the system NSI and SSAIB certified?
  • Budget – as a small business owner, how much can you allot for securing your property from all kinds of threats?


The total price for a commercial alarm system is broken down into:

  • Hardware cost
  • Professional installation
  • Professional monitoring
  • Maintenance service
  • Repair service


The average price range for commercial burglar alarm installation would be anywhere in between £800-£2000. The total cost depends on the size of the property as well as the type of burglar alarm installed.

If you’re using burglar alarm monitoring services, you will be expected to pay a monthly fee ranging from £15-£45. When alerted, the Alarm Response Centre (ACR) performs a check to confirm the alarm, notifies the person-in-charge, and if appropriate, alerts the police.

Commercial burglar alarm maintenance services cost around £92 including VAT. This includes full testing of the entire alarm system including the control panel, bell box, sensors, as well as the engineer’s time on site.

Commercial burglar alarm repair services cost around £92 including VAT, with the charges varying depending on the nature of the fault. When your burglar alarm shows signs of an issue, it is time to have it repaired. It must be done ASAP to prevent false alarms or, in a worst-case scenario, prevent it from triggering in the event of a break-in.


The proper installation of a fire alarm system is just as crucial as the quality of the system itself.
As a rough estimate, you can expect to pay £1000+ for a fire alarm system for a small business. Once the fire alarm has been installed on your premises, you must consider other areas of fire protection for your small business such as fire suppressors, sprinklers, and training staff members on how to deal with fires at work.

Monthly charges for a fire alarm monitoring system fall anywhere between £15-£45, which is nothing compared to the damages fire can cause to your business.

On average, a maintenance visit would cost you around £125-£200+. The charges will differ if you have a maintenance contract.

Due to the nature of a fire alarm system, you need to know when it becomes faulty so that you can get it repaired ASAP to prevent false fire alarms or, in a worst-case scenario, prevent it from triggering in the event of a fire.

A fire alarm repairing service would cost you around £92. The total charges may vary depending on the nature of the fault.


The benefits that alarm systems provide to all kinds of businesses are many and far-reaching. Choosing the best one for your commercial property will add a constant extra layer of protection keeping all your assets safe from burglaries and fires.

Let’s look at all the benefits in detail:

  • Constant protection

This is probably the first benefit that comes in mind when you decide to install alarm systems for your business. Imagine having 24/7 protection against burglaries and fires with experts keeping a watchful eye on your property if you have monitoring services enabled. Most business owners would give out a huge sigh of relief on that thought.

  • Crime deterrence

Security systems such as burglar alarms are one of the most effective deterrents against burglars and intruders. Just the mere sight of one can put your property off of a criminal’s radar. Properties with security alarms, cameras, and security locks lose most of their charm to burglars since they know that such places would be difficult to break into and because the chances of getting caught would be way higher.

  • Cost minimization

Most people tend to turn away from commercial alarm systems because of the costs associated with them, especially small business owners. However, contrary to popular belief, having an effective alarm system can lower your costs. You must look at it as an investment and how important it is to keep your business up and running. In the event of a burglary or fire, alarm monitoring can speed up response time and protect your valuable assets from theft and fire.

Additionally, a well-maintained security alarm system can lower your insurance premiums and protect you from fines during inspections for not having a proper system in place.

  • Damage minimization

Burglary or fire not just affects the victims financially, but also mentally and emotionally. The Office for National Statistics puts the average cost of a burglary around £3,030, out of which £1,400 is the property stolen or damaged.

In addition to financial losses, there are huge losses faced in terms of mental trauma and loss in productivity. Approximately, £1,190 is the reduction in the quality of life of the victim due to the physical and emotional trauma suffered as a result of the burglary.

The remaining £440 is money lost in terms of loss in productivity and time off work for victims of the crime.

  • Compliance with the law

Employees as well as customers feel safe when they know they are working for and entering a company that cares for their safety and is compliant with regulations. According to fire safety laws in the workplace, you are responsible for protecting your business and its people from the risk of fires, and the inability to do so can land you in some serious trouble.

Alarm systems save you from heavy fines and help you claim with your insurance provider in the event of a mishap, along with lowering your insurance premiums.

  • Peace of mind

Peace of mind is probably one of the biggest benefits you can think of when it comes to installing security alarm systems on your property. Knowing that you, your employees, and all your business assets are safe and protected gives a sense of peace like no other. Setting up a business is no easy task and therefore, you must do all that you can to protect it from harm’s way.


Here’s why Calder Security is the best choice for your commercial alarm system needs:

  • We offer a comprehensive solution that includes professional installation of the system, regular maintenance checks and contracts, quick servicing, keyholding services, and 100% reliable monitoring services using Dualcom and BT Redcare GSM.
  • We are SSAIB approved installers and all of our installations are carried out by qualified, experienced engineers that comply with standards: PD6662: 2010, DD243 and BS8243, required to qualify for police assistance.
  • Our systems meet the stringent requirements of BS4737 and European Standard EN50131 (Intruder Alarm Systems in Buildings).
  • Because of our extensive knowledge in the field, we can guide you on the best security alarm system for your small business.
  • All our systems comply with business insurance terms, helping you make a claim in the event of a burglary or fire.
  • Our good knowledge of government regulations about commercial alarm systems helps you stay compliant with the law.

Contact us here or call us at 0800 612 9799 to discuss your requirements with one of our leading experts.

Photo by Alex Robert on Unsplash