Considering opening a shop to sell and install cameras

paarlberg

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I know several people here do this, is it a realistic business to consider? There was a small shop in my town that did low end cams a few years ago and they went out of business or moved.

I am looking at selling Dahua and/or Hikvision (primarily) cameras and depending on the project BI will be the main recording option.

The area where I am located does have some occasional break-ins, most are cars with valuables inside and usually in driveways. Not a lot of violent crimes, mostly minor break-ins and some vandalism.

Any thoughts?
 

bp2008

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I bet you'll be able to offer better prices if you use NVRs instead of Blue Iris machines. Not only will a BI machine cost more, but it will likely be the fastest PC in the house, making the customer likely to use it for everything and you don't really want that on the NVR you have to support.
 

paarlberg

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Good point, I would like the flexibility of mixing camera vendors though. That is a little tougher with the NVR route. For most installs, under 8 cameras, an i5/i7 Intel NUC or similar could be used and put next to a TV. Low power, not large and in the way. It could always be repurposed in the future.

Since it will be custom installs, anything for the recording side will be possible. I just don't want a client to want a nice PTZ in 6 months or so and have to use a different vendor for the camera and not be compatible with the NVR. You know that they will want more cams after a few months, it is addictive after all.

I could see someone wanting 2 or so cams to start, then wanting to add a couple more later, and on and on..

I would probably have some fine print on the PC use. If anything is installed other than software provided by me, then additional support fees will be involved. You have to CYA.
 
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fmflex

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My suggestion would be to write up a business plan taking into account your overheads, population size, cost of support, etc and see if it will be a viable business venture. If you expand to include maintenance such as cleaning of cobwebs, inspecting operation of the hardware, it could make more sense.

Either way, I hope it goes well for you. :)
 

LittleBrother

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I'd start something small on the side so that you can get a feel for the work involved. I am guessing that ongoing support for each install is somewhat significant, and a customer is going to expect you to return to fix something on pretty short notice.

Is a BI install something a tech-ignorant person can expect to use months at a time without any issue?

I don't work in hardware support but I do in software and I am continually--even as recently as this morning--surprised at some of the careless ways people use systems. They will do it with a BI PC compared to the NVR. You can have a disclaimer about not installing more software on the PC and it will require a paid support call, but getting a customer to sign that and subsequently getting them to actually pay you for that follow-up visit happily is another thing. It's best to treat users like babies and limit what they can do right out of the gate instead of scolding later, if at all possible.

Also, the less options you have the easier it will be to support; perhaps it's not worth spending much time trying to cater to a single customer who wants a single weird camera you've never dealt with, because figuring it out is time you cannot bill for.
 

paarlberg

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Thanks for the input..

I have done IT for Fortune 100 down to mom and pop shops (servers, desktops, networks, etc) for about 25 years. I know some can be unreasonable and others do things that shouldn't be done.

An NVR is the safe bet from the support side.
 

fmflex

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I haven't worked in IT for over 10 years so not sure if it's still possible but could you lock the PC down somewhat with group policies to only be able to install or update specific software?
 

pal251

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I install cameras for a select few people. I also do nvrs because they stick to one brand. You can give them the option for other cameras but ultimately it's up to them to buy a different camera. Hikvision and dahua is fairly comperable but I'm leaning towards hikvision lately.

I've seen the things people do to pcs, no way would I support a blue iris system. Don't price yourself too low and don't go too high. A lot of money is invested in a day to day store. You have to pay someone to sit there all day rather If your selling or not. Remember you have to pay workman's comp possibly and so on for employees
 
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