Interesting article and topic. This brings me to a couple of questions based upon our company leaning into supporting other integrators who are asking us to partner on providing the access control portion of their customers' security needs. We have known that many video-centric and telecom integrators are getting more requests for access control and have presented ourselves as a partner under the hood to perform the electric door hardware specification and installation as well as all of the field wiring and such.
Observation #1: While this endeavor has been relatively successful, we find that we are having to spend more time asking questions, requesting more details, and basically educating the lead integrator on how doors and access controls works. It is mostly worth it since we often do get the work but it often results in what seems like doing things multiple times and spending more time than normal coordinating the access control rough-in and cabling work with the lead integrators' vision of how their cameras and AV equipment is going to be installed.
Observation #2: Non-access control integrators often grossly underestimate the complexities and expense of access control and the steep learning curve. While this does play to our advantage, it leads to observation #3:
Observation #3: When partnering with video and/or telecom integrators as a sub, it is challenging to make the labor rates work out, i.e. we need to leave room for them to mark-up our labor and materials, but we still need to make a fair profit to cover our inherent risk and warranty exposure for call backs, truck rolls for door and door hardware issues (most of the jobs are retrofits which have a higher incidence of door issues). Video and telecom integrators labor rate structure is sometimes very different than what it has to be for an experienced and seasoned access control tech who knows the mechanical and electrical aspects of door control and also can perform some or most of the locksmithing. This leads to my question:
Question: For access control integrators that function as a sub to a lead integrator on retrofit projects, where you are doing the site surveys, producing a detailed quote, and performing the installation and providing the materials, what are your labor rates to the lead integrator? How much do you mark up your materials?
Essentially, how much do you discount your labor and materials from where these would be if you were pricing the job directly to the end user?
One last note to the old timey locksmiths out there ... I have learned so much from you guys over the years and appreciate your willingness to share knowledge and tips and all of the things "that aren't in any books". Maybe you guys have it right in that if the list price of a lock is $300, you are going to charge $300 whether it is the end user or me!