Help finding a pro


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We have a Vista 10 SE security system that was installed when we bought the house (new) 11 years ago.  I've been attempting to upgrade and/or fix and had the company out that installed it to look at it.  Their rep was a nice kid...but...he did NOT inspire confidence.  Told me the panel was kaput which I bbelieve.  I set about trying to find local professional help...and then we were burglarized 2 days ago...3rd time in 3 years.
So...I've discovered this web site and...while I'd like to take on the task of installing a good home security family and I don't have the luxery of me figuring out how to do this.  In short, I need professional help.
Should be easy except, I get the sense that what my local cable company, ADT, and the others I find bia a Google search of "Orlando & Home Security Systems" are trying to sell me is their monthly service fee from now 'til I die.  Call me a cynic...
Can anyone recommend someone in my area (Orlando, FL)?  I've visited the ELK web site and sent them an response (only a day ago).  I did contact SafeMart and...they are interested in selling me the tech they sell--GE Wireless.  What I really want is an "honest broker"--someone who deals with several different vendor's products.  I'm guessing (based on reading of this forum) that I'll be good with a system that allows me to combine wired & wireless (want to add home automation to the mix--eventually), but, what do I know?
Feedback would be welcomed.  Thanks.--John
Welcome to Cocootech John.  Lots of information here.  Nice to have you join us.
I used to see this guy posting on various forums; think he used to be into automation.
I never used him for anything in Florida though.
On a home build using Rutenberg Homes; the builder used Dehart Alarm systems for the prewire down in Florida. 
I was happy and they did an excellent job on the prewire and they were very professional.
I did though have them move the home runs to a wiring closet in the center of the home rather than the master bedroom closet and added a bit more to the base wiring.  I was not charged for the extra runs.  Every window and door was covered along with multiple PIR and keypad wiring.
All of the cabling was labled.  I did get a quote for them to install an alarm panel.
I ended up not using them and installing an HAI OPII panel myself using the prewire from Dehart.  I did also terminate the ends et al.
I am not sure what there pricing is these days as originally it was included in a new home build in 2000.  Not sure too if they do stuff in Orlando; they might?
Check out the Leviton HAI site as their panels are also very nice.  The difference between the two mfgs panels is mostly the footprint; where as the HAI panel has a bunch of stuff in a small footprint; the Elk panel is more modular but a bigger footprint.
Spanky is your guy here on the forum.  He is a gentlemen and ELK scholar and will answer any of your questions relating to the Elk.
There is also a person selling an Elk panel right here:
The V-10 is still serviceable as long as you maintained it...otherwise all bets are off. Usually condemning a panel without testing is the sign of someone that doesn't know what they're looking at (I had a national come look at my house for giggles once...they condemned my M1 with over 60 zones and 16 relay outputs....and tried to sell me on a V-20P and the recurring charge for their automation interface) or if they want to sell you a higher priced line item. The margins and contracts on most "takeover/conversions" allow them to lock you into a longer contract typically.
Realistically, if you wanted to, you could replace the old 10SE with a 20P and some programming and be up and running to a CS of your choice. You could also add wireless and take the difficulty out of installing additional protection devices. That said, installing some devices and a system is an art that is gained from experience. I can't comment about what your choice should be.
What you see and what you read here and maybe why it was suggested that you visit the forum is a bit of everything.
Many folks have been in your shoes here. 
Mostly many folks found out that the "best" way to deal with said concerns is to learn and do DIY's; some a little bit at a time and others all at once.
Most commercial establishments objectives are first and foremost to make money or a living at what they do.  These companies through the years learn what they do and how they do it in many different ways.  Sometimes the most important pieces are relating to a customer rapport built up and then what is deemed most important relating to hardware et al.
A lot of times here you see are the raw costs relative to the various pieces of hardware, learning curves, physical installation times and efforts and today software on the forum.
You will get a variety of opinions and written historical endeavors that folks have done. 
Many have learned much from this forum.  No sense in reinventing the wheel; just reading the FAQs or folks personal experiences so documented here.
You will see what folks deem as necessary or optimal in a security installation and see how easy it is to DIY it or how easy it is to ask a professional to do same or similiar. 
"Easy" is a relative word though. 
Some folks prefer not to know the granular details of their security system and just prefer to pay a professional; that said though you will gain insight here on the forum.  Its very difficult to put a price on experience and physical work efforts and rules of what should be charged for what services or what is done.
While other folks prefer to know the granular and learn the DIY pieces and save some substantial monies while learning.
There are people from all over the place on this forum.  Mostly you will get opinions on professional services and typically because these folks have experience of the knowledge gained from doing. 
Here though much of the conversations or topics deal with use of hardware, methodogies of implementations of said hardware.
You will get a variety because that is what makes up this forum.  Much of the time its relating to one common way to do things and not really relative to any suggestions of any particular company but rather what the standards are or should be or have been.
So relative to your first question about "finding a pro"; here you will get the answers to your questions such that you can decide about who you choose as a pro based on the multitude of CT users here that are all pro's at what they do. 
You will get the base knowledge such that you yourself can decide on "finding a pro" in your area.
Good Afternoon,
My name is Angel, and I am low voltage technician that services the Central Florida area.  My skills range from alarms to home automation to cctv and everything in between.  I would be more than happy to take a look at your system and give you an honest opinion.  I can default it or swap it out and it does not require any agreement or contract.  I can even install an internet module that connects to your alarm and give you access to the alarm remotely without any monthly fee.  If you are interested PM me and we can setup a time and date. 
I know Honeywell/Ademco used to have the ICM (now discontinued). I abandoned my 20P panel for the Elk years ago, but still have it. What are the internet module options? I've read a little about some DIY options, or those from people who make them and resell... but I'd much prefer a more productized item for something of this nature (read as: reliable).
EDIT: Non Total Connect preferable
Envisalink is one, IPdatatel is another.
They offer basic keypad functionality but that's really it. Support is limited and they're an "as is" item as far as Honeywell goes, so you're dealing with their tech support.
Thanks for the update. I'll have to look into those. I doubt that I'll use it again myself since I have the Elk. However, that's really nice to know for resale of. I figure I may have someone ask about a basic security system soon enough and any sort of remote monitoring is a nice added bonus feature.
Thanks all for the input.  Went with the company that did the original alarm installation.  Not feeling particularly great about this decision.  At a minimum, I would like to have at least two good "quotes" to compare.  However, it seems that the market is not set up this way.  It's do it yourself or pick from any of the many companies that (as noted by pete_c above) who are in the business of selling their monitoring service.  I have no problem with these companies in principle--capitalism works for me.  
What's not great about the choice I ended up making?  Well, not much ability to get the specific brand I wanted for starters.  I asked about the ELK M1 and was essentially told "We sell GE products and you can have anything you like as long as it is a GE product that we sell."  I asked for specific part numbers...still waiting on that info and suspect I'll have to read them off the pieces that are installed.  I'm also paying $536/year for monitoring.  This gives me the ability to monitor myself via the internet and, as I decide to add home automation functionality, to control this as well.  I get the impression that monitoring can be had for less.  I'm not sure though--it may well be that good monitoring is going to cost what I'm paying.  The monitoring center is local and the local police tell me this is a good thing.
If time was not a factor, I'd dig into the "do-it-yourself" option.  However, after 3 burglaries in 2+ years, time is not a luxury I can afford.  So, I'll buy and try.  Worst case, I end up ripping out the system that is installed and installing a new one in a year's time.  In the interim, I'll see if I can learn how to do this (and I think this site will be enormously helpful!).  A better outcome would be that after a year, I do find that effective monitoring can be had for a better price, I make the switch to another monitoring company and all the gear works with the new company.  Fingers crossed.  And yes, I recognize that when "hope" is part of the plan, the plan is not that great!
So, to this point, a less than satisfying experience.  I think I'm getting the protection I need, with the gear the vendor decides to use, at a price that seems a bit high.  It's better than what I was doing before (nothing).  The goal going forward is to see if I can get smart enough to add to the system I'm getting (basic security initially).  Adding the automation piece is the DIY part of this that I think I'll take on.  Stand by and thanks again.
I'm sorry to hear about your experience.  Not all alarm companies require monitoring or a contract.  I myself do not require any of the two and will install any system you would like.  I honestly don't get how other alarm companies force their customers into contracts and equipment they don't want.  I do have customers monitored without any contracts and most of them do not cancel because they don't see any reason to cancel.  If you give us a chance after your contract we will definitely break the stereotypes of what you think about alarm companies.  Also remember that by law you have three days to cancel your contracts no questions asked.