Catalyst offers advice to prospective PERS dealers

Affiliated Monitoring’s new conference gives attendees ideas for starting or bettering a PERS business
Tuesday, June 14, 2016

NAPLES, Fla.—Attendees at Affiliated Monitoring’s Catalyst conference walked away with advice on how to start or advance a PERS business, such as devoting resources specifically to PERS sales and marketing and understanding which technology to sell.

“I think you’ve got to have a dedicated staff for it, whether it’s sales or customer service,” Bryan Stapp, president of Medical Care Alert, a PERS provider based in Northville, Mich., told Security Systems News. “If you’re going to get into it, you really need to set aside a separate team who’s going to focus only on this area. Leverage your backend infrastructure for accounting [and] payroll but the front end for customer service and sales needs to be separated.”

“When I talked to people, particularly security dealers who are looking to expand from traditional residential security and maybe get into PERS, they realized very quickly that PERS is a very different animal,” Stapp said. “You can’t just move into with the same people, processes, procedures and products—it really requires a separate dedicated effort.”

ARM Security was one of Catalyst’s attendees from the security space interested in advancing its PERS business, company president Zach Odani said.

According to Odani, security companies looking into the PERS space “need to do some research before just jumping into it [and] pick out the right equipment that will be somewhat future-proof.”

Acquisition is one way for security companies to enter the PERS space, Stapp said.  “If I’m a large multi-state alarm dealer, it might be quicker and easier for me to buy a PERS dealer and integrate them into my operations as opposed to trying to grow it organically. It’s a buy versus build decision.”

Odani said the conference gave him “a better understanding of how it works; who are the big players in that portion of the industry, which way … to go about getting PERS more into the company, getting more statistics, seeing—population wise—what’s out there.”

Ronnie Adams, president and CEO of ihelp, told SSN that Catalyst demonstrated the opportunity in the market. “I think, during some of the presentations, the dealers learned that there is a big customer base out there … and there’s a huge base of the population that has never been tapped or approached. These people are all in need of this particular type of product.”

Stapp said the diverse base of attendees were all focused on PERS. “Looking at the make-up of the audience, there were so many people there who are either already in the security business, looking to get into PERS, or they’re in a completely different industry, thinking about getting into PERS.”

Manufacturers benefited from attending the conference and talking with current or prospective PERS dealers. “We learned some things that we really could use to enhance our product,” Adams said. He cited tracking PERS units that are moving as an example.

Ihelp will be in its pilot production run in June. “We plan on having the full production run available … the beginning of September, end of July,” Anthony Chetta, ihelp CTO, told SSN.

The conference served as an affirmation for Medical Care Alert’s business practices, according to Stapp, particularly in its approach to PERS technologies. “Some of the new hardware that was being presented showed a desire to overcomplicate the process by adding too many features. Our belief has been that it’s always about the button, and the ease of access to press the button,” he said.

ARM Security, ihelp, and Medical Care Alert each said they plan to attend Catalyst 2017, which will be in Florida next May.