Getting into the Alarm Business

Electronic security is all about maintaining relationships with the account and earning the recurring revenues from the monitoring, servicing and programming.


The analogy between physical security (locks) and electronic security (controls) has always been an apparent one. The convergence of locks, electronics and networks strengthens the analogy to where it is obvious that a single source, the locksmith, should be the most qualified and most convenient...


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The analogy between physical security (locks) and electronic security (controls) has always been an apparent one. The convergence of locks, electronics and networks strengthens the analogy to where it is obvious that a single source, the locksmith, should be the most qualified and most convenient means of delivering these services.

The demand for electronic security of all kinds has never been greater. New technologies make new products possible. The demographics of our nation bring more buyers into the market. Building and fire codes mandate increased levels of safety and security, and our society and criminal justice system encourage the use of electronic security by enforcing foreseeable liability complaints in our courts.

In other words, if a crime or accident occurs, the attorneys investigate whether some type of system was required by code to be present in a premises, if use of certain systems is considered common practice in that situation, or if similar accidents or crimes have occurred which might have made the event foreseeable.

If the answer to any of the above is yes or maybe, then you’ve got a lawsuit on your hands.

This means that the market for such equipment is vibrant, and if you have a retail presence in a community or make house calls, you’re going to be presented with opportunities to suggest and offer these systems on a daily basis.

Or you could just wait for the clients to call you. This how many locksmiths operate. They do little marketing, or they do not emphasize that they do anything but cut keys, install deadbolts or open safes. Then they feel left out when the jobs pass them by.

The public is trained to have a certain set of expectations. Many people figure if you do not advertise it, you don’t do it. There is no shortage of alarm dealers out there who essentially make themselves a nuisance telling people they do alarms and that alarms are the most important thing in the world to have.

To many locksmiths, this type of marketing technique is vulgar and degrading. Besides, it is time consuming and they don’t know how to do it anyway.
Then there are all the legal issues; the technology and the financing.

All of this is true. But if you have any inclination to grow your business, or perhaps get involved in activities which could actually make the difference between remaining in business or having to close up your shop, then stay tuned.

The first issue to address is to adjust your attitude. To the traditional locksmith, the relationship with the customer begins and ends at the Point Of Sale. When you hand them the key you just cut for them, that’s about the end of it, until they need another key someday.

Institutional and some commercial locksmithing is more attuned to repeat customers, and ‘accounts.’ They call you regularly to perform routine and emergency service and installs.

This type of business is what electronic security is all about: maintaining relationships with the account and earning the recurring revenues from monitoring, servicing and the programming.

Our society has simply outgrown the mechanical lock as their sole means of security, and just about any technology you can name is subject to some sort of failure. If a client loses a key, the locksmith replaces it. If a piece of alarm equipment breaks, then it also needs to be replaced or repaired.

Licensing & Legal Issues

Every state has its own regulations regarding licensing for alarm installers. It is up to the locksmith to find out what they are. National and State Trade associations can get you on the right track.

Licensing usually involves a training of your technicians, background checks for the technicians, registering your business, and verifying that you carry adequate insurance. Like ammunition and guns, you do not need a license to buy alarm equipment, but you will need a license to install it. And without training, you are very likely to shoot yourself in the foot trying to install it without some initial training.

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