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Hi everyone. I'm writing this as the members of our Board have just conducted a process to use a Virtual doorman service at our building. Hopefully its helpful as i know when we were looking, we wished we found something that gave us some more details.
We met with three companies, Virtual Doorman, Video Doorman and Cyberdoorman. Each pretty much does the same thing, answer an intercom, look at video and accept a delivery that gets put in a closet in the lobby when you're not home, then send an email to let you know that you received the delivery.
What we found out:
Virtual Doorman- salesman was rude, bragged about how they have over 100 buildings, are the biggest and the first company to do this etc... only guy that spoke badly about the other companies and went out of his way to do so. We didn't like that at all.
The stuff they use for the service is their special equipment and EXPENSIVE over $15,000 for 4 cameras, a recorder, 2 access card readers and some special thing that connects the equipment to them!!!!
Monthly fee was expensive too. over $900 a month for package service for our 25 unit building and there were all kinds of add on charges for things. They have over 80 operators and monitor from Florida which we werent happy about as the other companies do it from ny.
Video Doorman-Nice salesman, company has been in the security business for years. same equipment was only $11,000 and not "special" regular cameras and recorder that anyone could buy. that was good.
Their monthly fee was only $700 a month. They monitor buildings from Staten Island, and have over 40 buildings.
They have an addition to the service, where people carry a button and can press it, which tells their operator to look at the cameras and talk to the person to escort them into the building. seemed like a cool thing, but not sure if people would use it. We liked them.
Cyberdoorman-this is who we ultimately went with. nice salesman, explained every detail to us. we visited their monitoring place in the Bronx, and spent time watching how they monitor their buildings, they had over 70 buildings.
Equipment was only $6,500 and the monthly fee for packages was only $550 a month and included everything, there were no additional charges. Seemed cheap., but they own their own monitoring place so seemed to make sense why they were cheaper.
They too had a special service, instead of people ringing a tenant from the intercom all calls could go to their operators who call the tenant and ask to let someone in. this was great for us because we have huge problems with people just ringing the intercom and tenants just let people in without even talking to them. this would cost us $625 a month and what we chose to do.
In the end, it was between Cyber Doorman and Video Doorman, they both seemed honest and truthful and we went with cyber mainly because they do everything from their own office in the Bronx, also, they gave us a 60 day time frame if we didn't like the service we could cancel. they were the only ones who wanted to answer all the calls from the intercom the others said they could but didnt really think it was a good idea.
Hope this helps anyone looking. its only my opinion. We're all looking forward to when it starts. supposed to be installing it in the middle of June. will let you know how it goes.
Is this idea really catching on?
Thanks for info JonJ. How many units in your building?
He said there are 25 units.
^ Thanks Socialist. That's what happens when I skim-coat. :)
Our building used Cyberdoorman. We HATED them. VERY nice people, but in the end, completely ineffectual. Promised the moon and stars, but getting anything actually done was like pulling teeth. Very very dissatisfied.
JonJ, we are going through this process in my building now and I have been appointed with this task. I came across this post which is right on point - thanks for the detailed account. Can I ask how the experience turned out for you? We are meeting with the same three companies over the next few weeks so any feedback would be very helpful.
do they also change all the intercom units in the apartments ? this seems a great idea for small co-ops.
anyone any recent experiences with virtual doorman services ?
We live in a 16 unit building in the village and have Cyberdoorman. It's ok..... They do all that's listed above, alert you when packages are placed in the package room, you can pre-arrange to have contractors, housekeepers or guests buzzed in (only to the lobby, obviously not your indivisual apt and they have small moniters for safety reasons. That's it. It does not replace the services of a doorman, and the safety factor, as far as we are concerned is nil. So if you need package delivery and the ability to have people admitted in your absence, it's fine.
take virtual doorman over cyberdoorman. my old building had cyber first and it was bad. lots of downtime, lots of security lapses. virtual doorman much better.