What National Integrator Will Only Do Labor, Not Sell Products?

I am having trouble finding an integrator that does not want a piece of everything. When doing so we have lost multiple bids because that integrator could not get the pricing we could get and it just makes us look bad.

I am trying to find an integrator that will only do the integration part. Is there a place to find such a company?

Carla, when you say 'only do the integration part' do you mean not sell products? I think that is what you mean but I want to clarify.

Most integrators want to sell products as it is typically important to overall profitability. It's not impossible but I am not surprised by your experience.

Carla, good Integrators want the whole package, not just a job. We work for a lot of national accounts and only work on a whole job basis. We don't sell products but we expect a complete package for the installs.

Usually this has a lot of materials and overages being shipped from different suppliers, after you slice up the package with different co's it usually is not much in the package. That's why.

We have limited our selves to specific company's just to avoid the middleman who just wants to manage services and not do a lot of work.

Then limit the areas as travel, per diem , expenses usually add up to more than your willing to pay. Lots of small company's out there who are just like us.

So if my company can provide all the hardware and a integrator can do all the work, does it sound better for us to quote all the hardware and the integrator quote the integration, then try to come to some agreement on the share of the profit on the hardware?

That would probably get more of them motivated. Who have you talked to? Tyco, ADT, JCI, Siemens, Diebold, Convergint, Stanley? Might even try the PSA which is a coop of integrators.

None of these. What is PSA?

I would start by talking to those integrators. Also, this is PSA. I'll shoot you Bill Bozeman's contact info and you can talk with him about it.

Thanks so much!

Why would any reputable company work for just labor and I really doubt any of the companies John mentioned would be interested. If I sell you the parts I will stand behind them. It is a the whole package down to wire, connectors, etc. If somebody supplies me with parts they are responsible for anything that goes wrong that isn't due to the install. It really isn't worth it. The labor rate will probably also be higher since there is no money to be made on the parts. If I have a crew that has to turn $XXX/day in profit I would make that up on the labor by charging you more. My guys get paid the same either way so why should I accept less.

In the long run it just might end up costing you more. If a camera or other part started having some issues a few months after the install i would return and do whatever needed to be done including troubleshooting, taking care of the replacement, etc. If you supply the parts you are responsible for all of that. I would start the clock and charge you hourly for the labor, then hand you the camera and tell you to call me when you have a new one. There would probably be a return service charge and more labor for a return service call, etc. Sound worth it now?

I would imagine anybody you might find to do this won't care if the system is installed properly and not answer the phone if you needed any service after the fact. Good luck.

1, thank for the detailed and passionate response!

I think you have a very clear case about why integrators (very strongly) prefer to sell products and labor combined.

So, yes, I think most integrators will refuse but I think at least a few will. Also, selling just labor is not crazy for most other professions (whether it is IT or software development or accountants or architects, etc.).

There were a couple of national labor companies that specialized in providing a labor source to the ADT's and JCI's across the US. They would bud just labor to install and test the system. Beyond that was the responsibility of the prime. Maybe some of the manufacturers involved could assist. Usually these guys only work for the big guys though.

There are a few companies that perform just installation, but the scope/compensation has to be just right for them.. I worked for one for 7 years. They are all generally focused on retail though many of them have done work for Tyco, Diebold, etc in other sectors. Here are some of the companies I know of that may be worth a cal if that fits the description of your workl: Federated Service Solutions Wachter Crosscom National Direct Source Inc (DSI) Bailiwick Telaid

Thanks, good input! I second his suggestion above.

I think you are technically looking for more of a cabling contractor than an actual integrator.

There are usually outfits in every market/region that will happily pull cable, mount stuff, plug stuff in, but stop short of actual setup/configuration (unless it's a product they're very familiar with, like a phone system).

After the installation is complete, you'll have to have one of your people do the final configuration and setup. Sometimes that can all be done remotely, but most of the time it requires at least some on-site time.

As others have pointed out, the typical true integrator has a business model and price schedule that is based on both hardware sales, and also some long-term value from the account (future business, service work, etc.).

You're effectively asking them to take one of the least glamorous parts of the overall relationship. I'd be a bit wary of any mainstream outfit that jumped on that offer.

Thank you for the information, and yes I guess that is what I am looking for. Are there any companies that are reputable that is national?

Or is there somewhere I can find a list of these types of companies?


Undisclosed 6 has provided you a good list: "Here are some of the companies I know of that may be worth a cal if that fits the description of your workl: Federated Service Solutions Wachter Crosscom National Direct Source Inc (DSI) Bailiwick"

Let me clarify, all parts for the cabling, connectors etc would be with the integrator, I was speaking on the cameras, switches, routers, nvr's, and such.

What I have found is they want to quote it all and then we have to mark it up from their mark up and find that they cant get the deep discounts we can on the product because we have purchased so much we have the advantage.

The question I have is there a way to each quote what they are responsible for with them not expecting to get anything for the hardware that we are responsible for?

Yes certainly there is a way. You will have to contact many contractors, each in their respective market and negotiate with each individually. One of the issues you will have to face is that many states typically have licensing requirements. It is difficult this day and age for one company to be licensed in so many different jurisdictions. Then you can factor in insurance requirements of all kinds (liability, health, auto etc), training (very important considering IP is far different than analog), the cost of having a location, and so on. That business or partner has most if not all of the same cost that you have multiplied many times over. That is a very expensive proposition. It is overhead and as you know, overhead has to be paid by the customer. In this case, that is you.

Any and every business; yours, mine, ours is in business to make a profit. Undisclosed 1 makes this case quite well. Austin has offered the name of a few that do it (thank you Austin). Most choose not to make it work. The rewards (profit) just don't justify the risk and/or effort involved. Your best alternative is to do what most of us do; establish relationships with a number of vendors in each area that are reliable and make sure you keep them happy. Pay them what the market demands in their area and pay them promptly (Net 10). It is not called a vendor/partnership for the sake of convenience. Make it worth their while and they will work for you. It will likely require you reaching out to more than one.

Carly : usually the reason is for non compete and client relationships

Integrator s want to own the job , not just perform labor

I have worked for a few IT company's who fly anywhere for a price to complete the projects , Install only and it works for them.

Not everyone wants to be the ghost in the shadow and work after hours with no light on them and what they do. Most want the notoriety and name for the work.

We would be more than happy to review what your offering and possibly connect you with others like us who would do the same. But we don't want to slay the dragon and travel the country. We only want our little notch here in Ca.

Send me an email @ ppp@ssctv.net, I will get back with a reply and Quote for local work

In reference to John and PSA, my last company was a member of PSA, and we reached out to other integrators every now and again when we had a need for someone to perform an install for one of our customers who had a bulk of their business within our service area, but maybe one or two locations just out of reach. We would hire companies that were similar to ours (ie. Honeywell Dealer) to install the equipment, and we would utilize them if something needed to be serviced. We had some great partners through PSA, some that were not so great, but it was far less expensive for them to perform the install with our equipment and drawings. But its worth reaching out to PSA, its really a unique organization.

Carla's question is an interesting one and perhaps should be considered forward looking with many flags for concern. Procurement individuals are generally the least educated when it comes to understanding the total cost of ownership and how Security adds business benefit back to the company they work for.

As an Integrator we have signed agreements with many product manufacturers to represent, sell and service their products. The cost of signing an agreement is much more than the ink. The onboarding costs include training for technicians, sales force, often procurement and logistics. These costs along with normal business costs (office rent, utilities......) safety, local licenses and other direct costs are then applied to the gross margin we must recover when selling parts. Becoming the low cost provider of parts now becomes difficult when you understand why margin needs to be where it is.

Now, looking at being a Smarts Integrator rather than Parts and Smarts Integrator is a different model. How would a Smarts integrator ever get product knowledge? Without meeting sales terms of the dealer agreement you would not have product lines. Without product lines you would have no manufacturer support. With no manufacturer support the end user would be left hanging on problems and get mad at the Integrator when the end user made the choice to stand alone.

The Security Product Industry needs to start behaving like this market and their products will be around a long time rather than running in desperation. It is only at that time we will start to see mature behaviour and end users become consistently directed to qualified Integrators for both Parts and Smarts.

Carla, did you buy your car in parts and find someone to assemble it or buy the finished product ready to use from a dealer?

5, can you clarify here:

"How would a Smarts integrator ever get product knowledge?"

I am not sure I understand. Couldn't a 'smarts' integrator get product knowledge without selling parts?

Many manufacturers tie together education with the dealer agreement. Training is not provided to non-reselling companies and individuals. Only certified active Integrators can call for technical support. This ensures the manufacturer knows the level of education the calling person will have.

That's a solid point. Certainly, with many manufacturers a non-dealer can learn a lot, based on the manufacturer's publicly available material and one's own expertise / experimentation but there are certainly issues that come up that having direct access to a manufacturer is beneficial.

That model though has its own drawbacks / concerns. Could you imagine a doctor / lawyer / accountant / architect etc. who could only work on products that they were authorized by suppliers?

Could you imagine a doctor... who could only work on products that they were authorized by suppliers?

Point taken, but actually they have many of the exact same issues, and the stakes are higher...

Edit: Funny text from that link on conflict of interest:

Q. I have lunch provided by different companies each day. Doesn't the bias cancel out?"

A. No.

Re: funny text, that sounds like a trade mag editor.

And yes, these issues are a concern across professions but the security industry has traditionally been quite casual about them, more so than what I have seen with others. For example, it is a well accepted and uncontroversial practice for integrators to go on vacation / events paid by their manufacturer vendors.

Could you not get technical training as a sub-contractor of the one supplying the parts? The way I read this whole situation you're representing the company selling the parts, and are their field experts. I know many security companies who do this will installers. Don't hire them full time, pay them as sub-contractors. I've met a few individuals who prefer to work this way. They get training as a contractor of ABC Security Company.

This situation is a little different, but pretty much the same, on a larger scale.

Coming from the pt of view of 30 years in the industry, Experience has its advantage and yes it takes a lot to get certified, keep your certification up.

If not kept up with they will remove you from the list. No references for future busines

But what the issue is as Carla is asking for a Co. to just install for them.

Many Company's want the whole deal because it takes a lot to Train, Certify and keep professional people.

Factory certification, overhead to send a tech to training requires a return commitment to the company. The benefits are on both sides of the road. not just the business.

Some require the certification to stay with the Technician to maintain continuity in industry.

As listed above many will not support, supply, or even talk to no certified individuals.

Dealer Protection, good relationships

And they want you to only sell their product line. its a win win for both sides

I have seen many company's come to town with management personnel and acquire installers locally to perform the install, then their techs setup, program, test, hand off the package.

It does not take more than laborers to install most products today. Just good oversight

We sub out most of our labor to others and it works great.

Parts & Smarts is a known industry practice and should not be taken lightly.

Many small company's get a lot of work this way. Its a Circle that works

I guess there is a lot of fear and perspective in this idea of loosing to the others to install.

Unions, Non union, Trunk slammers, Street Labor

Thanks for all the input, just understand when I stated an integrator, I really meant someone to pull cable, mount. Not actually do the configurations or add to the software.

I was corrected on terminology.

Carla, and you also learned that many integrators are super super passionate about selling products and labor together :)

If an integrator has fully utilized staff and a pipeline of business then it is OK to be super passionate about selling products and labor together. But if you have installers or techs who are on fixed salaries and are not fully utilized on in-house business then, from a business perspective, it would be pretty foolish not to sub them out.

Carla, the problem you will have is with the "national" part of your request. Many cabling contractors claim to be national, but they just subcontract the work to someone else. There goes the margin you are trying to redeem.

You need to make individual relationships with cabling companies in different regions where you will performing most of your work.

I for one, and I'm sure others here, can recommend good companies in different specific areas that you can contact and negotiate with for the "hands on" or "physical labor" portions of your projects.

Summary- I would steer clear of any of the "national" cable companies. Or at the very least, make sure they have a brick/mortor office or mailing address in the city you are doing the work. This will result in better pricing and better work.