First off, I just want to say how much I love Costco. They are a great company who care about their employees and it’s an awesome place to shop. BUT… they do a horrible job of selling camera and security products.
I have been to countless houses where people have walked me into their garage, pulled out a dusty box and asked me about their Costco camera system that they purchased over a year ago. What they didn’t know when they made their camera system purchase was that Costco’s very generous return policy does not apply towards electronics. It’s 90 days. Costco does a great job selling how easy it is to professionally install cameras, but let face it, most people don’t have a clue. Unfortunately, it takes most people longer than 90 days to figure this out.
A professionally trained technician can typically install a 4 camera system in a day. That’s 6-8 hours of labor! That’s not even including networking, setting up port forwarding in the router for remote viewing and training a customer how to use the mobile app, software, and web browsers.
Any handy man can staple wires along the outside of your house. However, the majority have no idea how to conceal and protect the wires. I have been to many job sites where the cameras have been installed by a handyman. Most of the time, the cameras are installed too high near the roofline, doing nothing but looking at the top of people’s heads. The recording schedules are not setup correctly. The cameras are crooked, looking at the sky and trees instead of the important areas. Most handymen really don’t understand the technical side of the installation and have no interest in supporting your product. They install and then disappear, then you’ll call me to fix all the problems at an hourly rate, costing twice as much as it would have cost you to do it right in the first place.
Let’s talk about the equipment you’ll find at Costco. Swann, Lorex and AvertX; all re-branded equipment made by another manufacturer. Full of software bugs and low-quality products that actual professionals would never sell to a customer. There are three major manufacturers, Hikvision, Dahau and TVT. These are good companies that build good products, but unfortunately, they also make some low-end products that end up in a boxed kit that you’ll find at Costco.
Let’s say you run into an issue a few months down the road. Hmm… I wonder why you can’t get a hold of your handyman that installed the system. Maybe you could call tech support for help. Right…. Good luck with that. If you have a problem with a camera or recorder, you’ll end up spending hours on the phone with a tech support agent, most likely from a different country. After you’ve wasted hours of your time, they will have you take down the camera or disconnect the recorder and mail it back to them for a repair.
This means you’ll have to climb up on a ladder to remove the camera, box it up, send it back, wait for who knows how long, then reinstall it once it’s finally repaired and arrives back at your house. Costco will not return the product once you’ve realized that you’ve purchased and installed an inferior product. Remember, you only had 90 days.
Still Considering a Costco Camera System?
There are two directions that you’ll need to consider before purchasing a camera system.
A Costco camera system will save you money in the short term. At Freedom System, we can install your Costco camera system. It will look professional and our workmanship is far superior to a handyman’s work. We charge an hourly rate plus any materials that we use. However, going this direction will end up costing you more in the long run. You will have problems with the equipment, and we cannot warranty the product, only our workmanship.
You will have more headaches when the product does fail because you’ll need to pay a service tech to drive to your home / business, take down the cameras, send it in for a repair, then pay for a service tech to come back and install the cameras. Ultimately You will experience bugs and software flaws because of re branded equipment and you will have difficultly finding and updating the firmware for cameras and recorder. The overall experience will not be desirable, and you’ll take the chance of your security product failing when you need it the most.
The better direction is to go with professionally recommended equipment and have the professional install it. Going this direction will cost more upfront but save you money and headaches in the long run. You will have a quality product that will perform when you need it the most. You will have a knowledgeable partner to provide you with technical support when you need it. A professional will also have direct relationship with the manufacturers in the case something does go wrong with the product. This will result in only one trip to your home or business instead of multiple trips and extended down times, leaving you at risk.
My suggestion would be to do it right in the first place by using a pro to design, provide equipment, and install a quality camera system that will work when you need it to. It’s not worth the time and headache to try to save a few bucks upfront and end up paying more in the long run for an inferior product. Don’t be fooled by the DIY dream and remember, Costco’s return policy is only 90 days!