IPVMU Certified | 08/13/13 02:54am
I don't think there would be a right or wrong group to talk to... relationships with general contractors, architects and engineers are all extremely helpful in getting opportunities of course just being aware if bid opportunities is huge also... having a relationship with the engineers is very helpful in getting your company and products specified in the jobs they are designing...
It really depends on the job - sometimes the customer will hire security integrators/installers directly; sometimes it's handled as a sub-trade of the general contractor; security may even be done as a sub-trade of the electricians, or of another low-voltage (data/phone/access control/alarm) contractor.
Best way to start is probably network, network, network (the personal kind, not the data kind). The more people you know, and who know your work, the more likely someone will say, "Hey, you need cameras, I know a guy..."
Has anybody had success with phone calls or sending letters or cold calling, has anyone been frowned upon for cold calling on some of these engineers or architects type companies. Thank you Keefe and Matt, I will start knocking on doors here shortly, I appreciate your input. Thanks Again CS
In my experience a lot of these projects end up going out to public bid. Like someone said above do some networking and try to get your products in the spec. This only works though if you are dealing with a manufacturer who limits distribution of their equipment to certified resellers otherwise anyone can bid on it anyways. Otherwise for the most part you have to respond to RFPs and either be prepared to lose money or undersell the bid spec and hope you get away with it.
I went to fedbizopps.gov and searched for current RFPs containing "video surveillance" and didn't have much luck. When I expanded the search to recent but closed RFPs, I found one for the US Naval Academy Prep School which read very amusingly, in that it didn't provide a site plan or any information about the extent or construction of the buildings, but wanted bids on video surveillance system installation. I recall a previous discussion on a similar residential case where some said, no site survey, no bid.
Bottom line, federal opportunities aren't what I expected them to be. ...Or else that lost 15 minutes of my life with 1 search term was inadequate or irrelevant...
Following up, fedbizopps.gov actually had current RFPs asking for pricing of piece parts. Basically they provided laundry lists of parts such as particular cameras, servers, storage, etc. and asked for quotes. I ignored those because they seemed to be ill suited to integrators.
IPVMU Certified | 08/15/13 05:08am
Attempting to approach this through General Contractors or architect firms would not be the best bet for cold calls but if you already have a contact point it would not be so bad. Most medium to large commercial projects are managrd by a leasing company or they might part some of the work out to a property manage Management company. Those would be a better bet during the development phase or even already finished projects.
Most often though on the multi tenant locations the management company leaves camera security to the individual businesses on the site. It might be worthwhile to see who the major leasing agencies and property management firms are in your area.
Thanks guys a lot of good input. In any case I will get my wheel turing to see what catches the clutch to drive the sales. Best regards and have a great Weekend!
Silva Consultants | 08/18/13 03:16am
Many owners of large new construction projects use a security consultant to design and specify their security/surveillance systems. If you haven't done so already, I would suggest reaching out to the consultants in your area to introduce yourself.
If you are a newer or smaller company, you might not be given a shot at the big jobs right away, but if you stay with it, this can eventually pay off for you. I am always happy to learn about the capabilities of new integrators in my market area. I often come across jobs that are too small for the big boys and need to find integrators that are a good fit for these projects.
I wrote a short article on how integrators can succeed working with consultants a couple of years back.
Michael, what do you think about integrators going to the IAPSC annual conference? Are they allowed? Would that help them to learn and network with consultants?
Silva Consultants | 08/18/13 03:49am
I'm not sure that the way that the annual conferences are presently structured would make them a good venue for integrators. The primary focus is on educating consultants on the latest developments in security and on how that they can better run their consulting practices. In addition to established consultants, we also get quite a few people from other parts of the industry who are considering entering the consulting profession themselves. I'm not sure how integrators who were seeking business would fit into this mix, and any attempts at self-promotion might be met with resistance.
However, you raise a good point - I think there is a need for a place where consultants and integrators can network. In addition to the annual conference, IAPSC is rolling out more regional conferences and perhaps these could be structured in such a way in the future that they could include integrators.