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Small Business Alarm Systems – How much should you spend?

Every business needs a way to guarantee their safety and security. Even a small business has important assets and elements that it needs to protect and what better way to protect and monitor them than to install an alarm to alert them of possible threats? 

Alarm systems are a great way to deter burglars and also ensure the safety and security of the staff and customers. Sadly, no business is immune to burglary, be it a small one or a more well-established one. 

Alarm systems not only protect businesses from burglaries but also safeguard them from catastrophes such as fires. They have special sensors that send alerts to the main control unit when activated, after which urgent and necessary action can be taken.

You might be of the idea, as is the majority of the population in the UK, that small businesses don’t need alarm systems and that they’re more suited for medium or larger organizations. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. 

If there’s one thing that you must never compromise on, it’s your and your business’s safety. 

We understand that as a small business owner, there are many factors that you need to consider before investing in an alarm system, the main one being the cost. 

Know that the cost of facing a break-in or fire is much more than the cost of an alarm system for your small business. 

As an important case study: One of the small business owners in Wyke, Bradford, who faced multiple break-ins in a year, stated that the break-ins were costing her a fortune and if it happened again, her business would close down.

Thankfully, there are alarm systems suited to every business’s needs. Some require basic alarms, while others require a more complex, high-protection system, and we are here to help you make a decision. 

Before we discuss how much you, as a small business owner, should spend on an alarm system, let’s look at the different types of alarm systems and the factors that determine the overall cost.


The two main types of alarm systems that small businesses can benefit from our burglar alarms and fire alarms. Let’s look at each one closely.


A burglar alarm is a key component in any business’s security needs. They are used to protect an area against break-ins and also act as a deterrent. They work using a series of sensors that are connected to a control panel. The control panel is an integral part of the burglar alarm system, as the name suggests, and the connection can either be wired or wireless.

Certain features make up a burglar alarm system and they work together to provide your business with top-notch safety and security.

The control panel, which is the central system, connects all the devices. The system can be turned on and off from there. The sensors detect any movement or unusual activity and trigger the alarm, and the siren sounds when the alarm goes off, notifying the person-in-charge of unusual activity for them to take the necessary action. Simple, right? 


Fire alarms alert and protect the premises from fire. They are a vital part of any business and there are laws stating that every business, small and large, must have a fire alarm system. The UK fire alarm regulations state that you’re responsible for fire safety in business if you’re the owner or employer.

Commercial premises are required by law to have a fire alarm system in place and conduct fire risk assessments. The nature of the fire alarm system is determined by several factors such as the size and type of the business and the number of staff members. The system must comply with British Standards, HSE regulations, Building Regulations, and Fire Officer Guidelines.

As is with burglar alarms, fire alarms have certain features that work together to protect your business from the danger of fire. The fire alarm panel is the control panel at the centre of the system, the sensors detect smoke and heat to raise an alarm, there are alerting devices present that alert the people-in-charge of any possible threats, and there are call points which can be accessed to manually raise an alarm as well.


Let’s take a look at the different types of burglar alarms, what they do, and what kind of businesses they’re best suited to.


Wired burglar alarm systems, as the name suggests, use wires to connect to the sensors. If your small business is expected to stay in the same place for a long period of time, opting for the wired system might be a good option.


As opposed to its wired counterpart, wireless burglar alarm systems use Wi-Fi or radio frequency to connect to the sensors. These wireless alarm systems are most suited for growing small businesses that might expand and need more area. These are less visible than the wired alarm systems but are not suited for areas that experience too much interference for the wireless components to work.


This type of alarm uses sounds, and sometimes flashing lights, to activate the alarm. Bell-only burglar alarms are best suited for small businesses that are run near or in your home. The business owner would be present or nearby to take action, in this case.


In the monitored burglar alarm systems, in addition to making sounds and flashing lights when an intrusion is detected, the alarm is monitored by an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) and also connected to the police, if necessary. These are best suited for unoccupied businesses as well as high-risk ones.


Here, we’ll look at the different types of fire alarms, what they do, and what kind of businesses they’re best suited to.

With the conventional fire alarm system, your property is divided into zones. When the alarm is triggered, it will only alert you to the zone where the alarm was triggered. For this reason, the conventional fire alarm system is more suited for small businesses that operate in a small area. 

They are less precise, and therefore, cheaper than the addressable fire alarm system, which we will discuss next.


An addressable fire alarm system has an “address” for each device that can pinpoint the exact location of the threat detected. It is more suited for businesses that operate in a larger area, or if they are at a higher risk of fires, such as restaurants, or businesses dealing with chemicals such as the beauty salon or paint shop. Due to the high level of precision, the addressable fire alarm system is pricier than the conventional one.


Burglar alarm system costs are determined mainly by the type of alarm (wired, wireless, bell-only, monitored) and the size of the business. The bigger the premises, the more entry/exit points and the more need for more than one burglar alarm. 

Knowing how much you should spend on burglar alarm systems for your small business depends on your needs and requirements. What might work great for one business might be wrong for a different small business.  Contact us now for a burglar alarm system consultation.

Installation costs
Generally speaking, the cost for a small business burglar alarm system depends on the level of security your business requires. As it is obvious, a bell-only burglar alarm would cost much less than a monitored one. The average charges for installing a burglar alarm system for a small business can start anywhere from £500-£800.

Maintenance costs

Burglar alarms need regular maintenance to keep working uninterrupted. Maintenance costs will depend on the number and type of devices, as well as on how complex the system is. 

On average, a maintenance visit would cost you around £75-£125. The charges will also differ if you have a maintenance contract. An annual service will ensure that the system is working as it should, for example, by checking and changing any batteries reaching the end of their lives, and detecting any possible issues before they become a problem.

Monitoring costs
The type of monitoring you need depends on the level of security appropriate for your business. There are 3 main methods of monitoring: 

  • digital monitoring using a standard telephone line,
  • DualCom GPRS operating via a phone line and GPRS, 
  • and BT Redcare GSM operating via a phone line and GSM.

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. The monthly charges for burglar alarm system monitoring range from £15-£45. 

Keyholding is an add-on to burglar alarm monitoring services, where an SIA (Security Industry Authority) approved guard would check your premises in the event of an alarm trigger. 

At odd times, during the night for instance, if your burglar alarm is triggered, you don’t need to worry about it. Keyholding could allow you to sleep easy. The guard would conduct a thorough survey of the site, both inside and out, and also deal with securing the site following an intrusion.

Repairing costs
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. A burglar alarm repairing service would cost you around £92.00. The total charges may vary depending on the nature of the fault.


Fire alarm system costs are determined mainly by the type of alarm installed. Understanding which type of fire alarm you need varies heavily on what kind of business you’re running. 

As per the law, every business is required to have a state-of-the-art fire alarm system in place to keep them and their surroundings safe. Knowing how much of a risk fire poses to your business will determine the amount of fire safety needed. Remember, what might work great for one business might be wrong for the other! Contact us now for a fire alarm system consultation. 

Installation costs
The proper installation of a fire alarm system is just as important as the quality of the system itself. 

When discussing the costs associated with fire alarm system installation, you need to consider the type of alarm used (fire alarms that connect with burglar alarms, wireless alarms, or fire alarms with radio compatibility) the size of the system, and its complexity.

As a rough estimate, you can expect to pay £1000+ for a fire alarm system for your 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.

Maintenance costs
British Standard BS 5839 stipulates that fire alarms should be maintained at regular intervals. What’s great is that we, at Calder Security, can service most fire alarm systems, regardless of whether we installed them or not. 

The law states that fire alarms must be maintained properly to ensure that they are working properly and keeping you safe from fires. On average, a maintenance visit would cost you around £125-£200+. Again, the charges will also differ if you have a maintenance contract. 

Monitoring costs
Fast response to an activated fire alarm can make all the difference in minimising risk to life and property. We offer various levels of monitoring via a 24-hour monitoring centre. In the event of an alarm, a professional monitoring centre would be notified immediately, enabling them to contact the emergency services and/or named key holders. Not only can that significantly minimise the seriousness of the situation through fast action, but it can also reduce your insurance premiums. Monthly charges for a fire alarm monitoring system fall anywhere between £15-£45.

Repairing costs

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. Our engineers are highly skilled and can usually restore your system to full working order in one visit. A fire alarm repairing service would cost you around £92.00. The total charges may vary depending on the nature of the fault. 


Now that you know almost everything there is to know about commercial alarm systems for small businesses and how important they are to your business’ security, it’s time to evaluate and ask yourself a few questions to help you determine how much you should spend.

  • What kind of alarm does your business need? Will a bell-only burglar alarm suffice or should you opt for professional monitoring services? 
  • Is there a high-risk of fires? 
  • Should you opt for a basic alarm or do you require monitoring services as well? Consider how your business’ size, nature, and potential expansion will influence security requirements, and select a system that can adapt and grow as your business does.
  • What’s your budget? Knowing how much you can spend on your business’ security will be a deciding factor for the choice of security alarms.

If you can’t decide which system would work best for your small business and can’t understand how much you should spend, don’t worry! Calder Security is here to help. 

Reach out to us for all your enquiries. 

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