Alarm system monitoring is BIG business. Many companies, and almost all the national alarm companies, will not sell, install or service an alarm system unless it is accompanied by a long term monitoring contract. When you see that companies are charging $30 - $40 per month to provide a service that is costing them $5 or less per month to provide, you begin to understand.
Brinks, Protection One and ADT are owned by hedge funds. Their primary focus is to increase the number of accounts that they monitor and thus their recurring revenue.
How much money does ADT, and subsequently each of their customers, spend to be prominently displayed at every televised sporting event?
How much does Protection One spend to sponsor NASCAR racing? How do these activities serve to increase your protection? Why do these companies spend millions of dollars (your monitoring dollars) to promote themselves?
How much does an alarm system cost? (Or more correctly, what is the monetary value of an alarm system)
It depends on who you talk to and how much protection that you want. The only way to know for sure is to ask for the price of an installed system (where you own the equipment) that does not include monitoring. The price is definitely reduced when you commit to a 3 or 5 year monitoring agreement. The price is reduced because a portion of that monitoring fee is subsidizing the initial cost of the system. But does the monitoring price get reduced after the initial 3 or 5 years when you have fully paid for the alarm system?
As more and more police departments charge the customer for police response, is monitoring really desired? If you do have monitoring, it is best to have it an open contract that can be canceled when you no longer need or require the service. More and more alarm users are returning to smaller local companies to meet their alarm security needs. Lower prices, due to reduced overhead, and direct contact with company owners leads to an enhanced feeling of security, quicker and more competent alarm technicians, and greatly reduced prices.
I have included a number of articles and links on this website that will help you to better understand the alarm industry. For a comprehensive look at alarm systems and alarm companies "click" on Alarm Overview.