AlarmWatch handles back office and monitoring for AFA

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

HUNT VALLEY, Md.-- AlarmWatch partnered in January with Alarm Funding Associates to provide back office support and monitoring services for its accounts.
Alarm Funding Associates, of Exton, Penn., conducts bulk acquisitions. "We will go in and buy all or some of an alarm company's recurring revenue and let the company stay in business," said Greg Westhoff, chief executive officer. "The company keeps their name, and any signage. We bill and collect under their name." (See related story, this page.)
This is when Robert Lepczyk's company, AlarmWatch, a wholesale central station comes into the fold. The two business leaders have had an industry rapport for many years and started working on the project last winter.
It was a "seamless transition with respect to the monitoring part of it," Lepczyk said. Already AFA secured two acquisitions in the Sun Belt region totaling 4,000 accounts. "It's not a big impact at least at the level that AFA is at now, but it can be significant if Westhoff is able to meet his objectives, or acquire 25,000 accounts in the coming years. It will be a significant piece of business for AlarmWatch." With the accounts from the partnership, AlarmWatch now monitors roughly 85,000 customers.
The larger business objective is that "we are doing billing collections, some back office support with respect to customer interaction mailings that need to go out," Lepczyk added. He noted typical administrative functions, "when information needs to be disseminated by customer base as a whole or by dealer."
AlarmWatch provides the software platform to run AFA's business remotely. "We are tied in live with any information, whether it is account, billing or monitoring. We have a monthly staff meeting with AlarmWatch to go over information. They are an extension ofwhat we are doing here," Westhoff said.
The growth in accounts will be determined by AFA's pace of acquisitions, Lepczyk said. However, to prepare for the growth, Lepczyk created a new department to manage everything from administrative data entry to bill collection for the AFA accounts.
The company mapped out how the department will function for 25,000 accounts. Currently, AlarmWatch has a few employees staffed for this venture, but in the future it will add more based on AFA's acquisitions.
Westhoff took accounts to AlarmWatch in the past from another business enterprise and found the central was personalized. "They have good management in place and are kind of an old throw back because they really care about all the customers. That's what pushed us to take all accounts there."
AFA's business model appealed to AlarmWatch because the relationship between a wholesale central station and an independent alarm company is unique: "He does not service his own subscribers, and doesn't have an authorized dealer; the selling dealer really maintains that independent identity," Lepczyk said.