Our company was formed in January of 1991, we currently have 9 office employees and some 20-30 technicians depending on the time of year. We are licensed in a dozen states and have done work in high-security buildings and many businesses and homes during that time. We're by no means a new company or a small company. Two of our key employees started in the security industry 10 years before our company was formed.
Seven months ago I decided I wanted to learn more about our company, customers and the equipment we offered. I made the decision to sell, install, program, service, and invoice 2 home security systems each week for the entire year and see what I learned. I wanted to learn about the whole process and find out what was wrong with it and then start correcting it on my own first and then implement it throughout the company after I refined and proved the new processes.
Let me say this, I grew up in the security industry. I've been installing, programming and testing burglar alarm, fire alarm, CCTV and access control since I was a young teen. What I'm about to say goes against what I have believed in for decades. Here's what I found wrong with our company.
- A technician can spend anywhere between 20-45 min unboxing and assembling wireless security devices. Installations should only take 45-60 min.
- Technicians failed to upsell to customers during the installation, the average install I did (even though I sold the job too) I would sell 30% more than the original agreement during the installation.
- Taking over an old hardwired system with a new hardwired system in a home is a waste of resources (unless it's a very large home), I'm referring to smaller homes with no more than 20 zones give or take.
- A technicians technical skill set is less important than people skills. The ADT CEO wasn't wrong about what he said.
- Consumers don't care about how sophisticated the technology is, they want something that works, that's easy to use, that has an app and hold strong value. That's not to say they're cheap, they just need to see real value.
- Customers are not happy with installations that take one or two days.
- Programming should be done by the technician doing the installation.
- Every dollar counts when purchasing equipment.
- 100% hardwired homes are dead to me. (again I'm referring to homes with less than 20 zones give or take)
- Return trips are unacceptable. (this means completing the installation because the tech didn't have a part on the truck or because the install took too long or the customer wanted a part that wasn't on the original agreement)
Here's why I titled this, "Am I A Truck Slammer Now?". This year I have been driving around with a step stool, a small bag of tools and hundreds of security devices in the back of my Jeep. I've been selling, installing, servicing, programming and invoicing residential customers on my own. I've basically been a truck slammer when it comes to my residential sales. I've never been happier, my residential customers have never been more satisfied and most importantly, I've never been more profitable in the residential market. I've continued to sell video surveillance, access control, and larger burg and fire alarm projects this year but have not sold a single residential alarm system through our traditional methods. We're totally changing the way we look at residential and creating a hybrid model for sales and installation. The traditional security industry is outdated and will ultimately lose to companies like Vivint and the dozens of other alarm companies like them based out of Utah and the startups like Ring and Simply Safe. Our company is here to compete (in our local market, I have little interest in going outside of where we are now) and we're doing this by doing something no one else is doing in the industry. When I originally wrote this I gave a response to each point above and explained myself and what I actually learned and how I learned it. I decided that I wasn't in the mood for giving the information away so easily.
I will say this, our company is moving to adopt more "truck slammer", "door to door" and "DIY" type behavior in the residential market and it's making our company stronger and more profitable.
I'm interested to hear what you guys think is wrong with the residential side of your business. My list isn't complete by any means but I think it's enough to get a conversation going.