The video surveillance market is growing and there is nothing stopping the locksmith from participating. Schools, factories, healthcare facilities, municipalities and even residences are potential clients for video surveillance system installs, upgrades or servicing.
Changes are happening in the video supply side as well as to the technologies available. Locksmiths have the option of choosing the combination of products and technologies that suit the application, or with which he is most comfortable working. However, learning about new technologies and products is essential, so that you are offering products consistent with those being offered by your competition.
Residential has thus far proven to be somewhat disappointing. Homeowners tend to be bargain hunters, and their perceptions have been distorted by DIY equipment sold in the big box stores or over the Internet. Many do not seem to respect the expertise of a professional locksmith. I can generally identify one of these types of individuals when they call, and try to be courteous and to offer sound advice, without wasting an inordinate amount of time or effort with them. We may simply start keeping demo camera systems in our showroom, and invite these callers to come in so we can discuss their requirements.
Although the video surveillance market is like most other markets price driven, I recommend you sell yourself and your systems on the basis of value rather than price. Value means the system provides the image quality and views the client wanted; the equipment is installed in a professional and workmanlike fashion; the system is warrantied for proper operation; and you can obtain technical and factory support. Of course you should make a reasonable profit for your efforts.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by cutting corners or selecting the wrong vendors. To a certain extent, everyone has to learn the hard way.
We’ve learned a few lessons the hard way. For example, by not selecting cameras of adequate quality, we’ve been stuck with product that was bad out of the box, and no telephone tech support (unless you speak Chinese and call in the middle of the night when it daytime in Beijing). Most video equipment is imported; however, the products’ quality and the stateside tech support are the differentiators you must consider before picking a partner.
By not properly evaluating the feature set of recorders, we’ve used equipment that was unable to record images of a high enough quality for forensic purposes. We’ve used recorders with baffling operating instructions which angered and frustrated the end-user, and disappointed us too.
By letting the client call some of the shots in a system design, you often wind up with an unhappy customer because he was trying to view too large an area with too few cameras to save money.
Our video sales include some bid work, and some consulting sales. For the bid work, often a product or group of products will be specified. Sometimes performance specifications will be outlined and it left to us to select and quote a product which we think fulfills the specs. Sometimes no substitutions are allowed.
When we get requests for quotes or estimates on new systems, the sales engineering process usually involves a site survey, interviews with the client, and the submittal and resubmittal of estimates. The interview with the client is to determine the client’s objective for the system, and determine what preconceptions and technical expertise the client is bringing to the process. The sales engineering process typically involves a learning process for both me and the client as I research products specifications, and pass along information to the client to educate them and make them an informed consumer.
Headquartered in Englewood, N.J., NUVICO is a leading brand for value-driven video surveillance products in the professional security industry. The company offers a full line of DVRs and security cameras that incorporate their own DSP technology, the Super Image Enhancer (S.I.E.). (Web site is www.nuvico.com)