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DIY vs Professional Security Camera Installation Explained

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Like most people, you’re worried about your home or business being burglarized. But installing an affordable, easy to use security camera system seems unattainable.

Thankfully, the reality is that with latest technology and professional installation, you can have a robust system up and running in no time, giving you peace of mind over your property and your belongings. 

Even where money isn’t an option, DIY home security installation isn’t something as utterly impractical as it may at first seem.

Discover all there is to know about security camera installation, including the differences between DIY and professional installations, and what you can expect going into a security installation project. 

How Much Does Security Camera Installation Cost? The Breakdown

As one might expect, installation costs can vary dramatically when it comes to security system installation, due to a number of variable factors–namely, the state of the existing wiring in the property itself and the area needed to be covered. 

In turn, for professional installations, prices can be competitive.

According to Homeadvisor, a security system and installation costs an average of $1,326, but the price may range anywhere from as low as $617 to as high as $2,040, with some professionals including the cost of a system itself. But if you’re thinking about looking around for products before contacting a professional, we can help

power tool, hammer and screws.

While wired systems are less costly upfront, they are also more expensive to install, costing between $150 and $200 per camera compared with wireless equivalents, which cost approximately $100 a piece.

Recommended reading: Wired vs Wireless Security Systems (A Comprehensive Guide)

The cost of a security camera varies according to the kind and quantity of cameras required, as well as whether they are purchased or leased. IP systems cost between $60 and $300, while CCTV solutions cost between $70 and $300. 

Of course, the good news is that any kind of system may help homeowners save money on their insurance in the long run, so it’s worth thinking of your install as a long-term investment not only in your safety but in your property itself.

DIY Security Camera Installation

It’s not always feasible to fork out extra money hiring professionals to install a system, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your safety and security. With a little bit of planning (and elbow grease), you can install security products DIY

Follow these tips to ensure that your system is up and running in no time.

1. Purchase a security camera (or reuse old phones!)

If you aren’t going through a professional service, you’ll need to find a security camera system yourself. Thankfully, our blog has a number of articles that can help provide suggestions based on your needs, whether for a small business or at home

In this guide, we talk about how to turn your unused phones into security cameras. Read more

2. Mount Your Cameras

You can use tripods to mount your cameras outside along with the help of a ladder. Make sure that they are positioned in areas that will allow for a full view of the exterior of your home or business. 

If you’re using a simple camera, like a phone running AlfredCamera, you can even try taping the device against a wall. For more tips on how Alfred can be used, take a look at our Alfred 100 poses album.

Available to download now for iOS and Android devices.

3. Run Cables

If you choose to run cables inside, it is best to plan which route you want them to follow before beginning installation. This way, they will not be left exposed for someone with bad intentions to see and cut. 

In addition, you can use cable raceways to help keep your cables organized and out of sight.

A mass of cables hanging from a wall.

4. Test Your System

Once installation is complete, it is important to test your system. Doing so will ensure that each camera is appropriately powered, capturing footage correctly, and that you can view live footage from anywhere in the world.

5. Update Your Software

Make sure to update all of your software for both hardware and cameras. This will help you to not only monitor but also access your security footage remotely. Keeping software up to date keeps it running smoothly and avoids any complications coming about down the line.

Recommended reading: Troubleshooting: How to Tell If A Security Camera Is On And Recording

Installing Security Cameras Outside

Installing security cameras outside your home or business requires both planning and patience. However, this is one of the first steps to consider when protecting what matters most to you.

Watch out for yard clutter – trees, vehicles, or other objects that could obscure the shot. Since outdoor cameras need to be mounted on the exterior walls of your home or business, making sure that they are both secure and protected from the elements is also important. 

If the camera doesn’t market itself as weatherproof, make sure there is some kind of rain cover over the top of it.

Credit: BuildersSA

When choosing a location for your installation, make sure it is not an area where people can hide while attempting to sabotage your system. Watch out for blind spots by setting up multiple cameras that create a cross-section view of the area. 

It is important to choose visible locations for security camera installation around the entrances and exits of your home or business, but they should be positioned high enough to discourage theft of the cameras themselves.

Installing Security Cameras Inside

When installing security cameras inside your home, you have a few more options for advantageous placements.

Some people choose to install them in the front door, back door, and main entrances. This will allow you to see who is entering and exiting your home at all times. 

Credit: Nelly’s Security

It’s also important to look at installing cameras in rooms where you store valuables such as the kitchen, bathroom, and even living room if possible. This way, you can watch expensive items that could easily be stolen or damaged if unattended for long periods. 

For more ideas on where to place your security cameras inside a property, check out our article on home security camera placement.

Professional Security Camera Installation

When installing security cameras in a business, it is almost always best to leave the job to the professionals; ultimately, a business place is a public space where a larger number of people will gather, so any installation involving electrics needs to be done to the highest health and safety standards. Read more on security cameras for businesses.

As one article rightly points out, ‘it is a basic human right to feel secure, and therefore a security system has no right to fail’.

Not to mention, businesses have unique security needs depending on their size, scope, and function that require specific knowledge and equipment when it comes to installing cameras, alarms, and other security measures, like barriers. 

A jewellery shop, for example, will require significantly more cameras than a small bakery. Using a discreet, affordable option like AlfredCamera in the latter business would make sense, but perhaps not in the former. A home, on the other hand, will almost always have the same security needs as any other home.

Workman completing an installation

A professional security company will have years of experience in camera installation and monitoring. They will provide you with a system that meets your specific needs and budget.

They will also be able to offer you ongoing support and service for your system long after it has been installed. This is important as businesses face security threats far more than homes do: shoplifting in the UK, for instance, is slightly more common than burglary. 

By choosing a professional installation company, you can feel confident that your business is safe and protected at all times.

When hiring a professional, be on the lookout for:

  • Full vetting and certification relevant to the state/city you live in.
  • Positive reviews online.
  • Word-of-mouth recommendations from people you know and trust.
  • An electrician, rather than a ‘local handyman’.
  • Price matching—it pays to shop around for competitors!

FAQ

How much does it cost to install security cameras?

This can vary depending on the type of security camera system you choose and the company that is doing the installation. Therefore, it is best to get quotes from a few different companies before deciding, as well as looking around to see if buying the equipment yourself might be more cost-effective.

Can I install security cameras myself?

While it is possible to install security cameras yourself, it is not recommended for larger business settings. This is because businesses have unique security needs that require specific knowledge and equipment to install cameras. That being said, for smaller ventures, like independent grocery stores, self installation may suffice.

Installation companies will have years of experience in both camera installation and monitoring. As a result, they will be able to provide you with a system that meets your specific needs and budget.

How high should security cameras be mounted?

This will depend on the type of security camera that is being installed. However, security cameras are generally recommended to be mounted at least 10 feet off the ground. This will help to ensure that they are out of reach from anyone trying to tamper with them (or steal the camera itself—they’re worth a pretty penny, after all!)

Can I install a camera outside my house?

Yes, it is possible to install a security camera outside your house. However, you will need to make sure that the camera can withstand the elements. When looking for cameras, find one that brands itself as ‘weatherproof’, or has an angled rain shield over the top of the camera.

Additionally, you will need to ensure that the camera has a clear view of all entrances and exits to your home.

Conclusion

When it comes to security camera installation, is professional installation better than DIY? Probably—it is best to leave the job to the professionals when it concerns electrics, especially in a business setting. When health and safety is on the table, it’s wise to play your best hand.

But that doesn’t mean you have to ‘go without’ if professional installation isn’t within your budget. Indeed, no one should feel that they are sacrificing their safety or security. 


With modern technology, home security is now far more accessible than ever before, and a number of great alternatives to conventional ‘security systems’ now exist, including AlfredCamera. In fact, you might be surprised by just how easy it is to transform an old phone into a security camera.

Recommended reading: 5 Proven DIY Home Security Hacks You Need To Know