Custom Alarm recognized as a women-owned business
ROCHESTER, Minn.—Custom Alarm, a super-regional security company based here, has been certified as a women-owned business on the state level and on the federal level through the Small Business Association.
“Our ownership has changed over the years, so we really wanted to maximize some of the benefits of being women-owned,” Custom Alarm CEO Melissa Brinkman told Security Systems News.
With its new designation and increased connected-home offerings, Custom Alarm has “seen some really good rewards from all of the efforts and changes we were making in 2015,” Brinkman said.
As far as RMR, she said that in the first quarter of 2016 the company has seen significant growth—10- to 15 percent compared with the first quarter of 2015, she noted. “We hope to continue on that trend,” she said.
Founded in 1968, Custom Alarm has 63 employees and 5,500 monitored accounts (65 percent commercial, and 35 percent residential). It has just under $10 million in total revenue, and $2.5 million in annual RMR. The company has its own UL-listed, FM-approved and CSAA Five Diamond monitoring center in Rochester.
The new designation is creating more opportunities in the area of new construction, as businesses and contractors are being encouraged to use minority-, veteran- and women-owned businesses. “We wanted to make sure that we could get that designation since we fit that criteria, which has given us some new opportunities with some projects that we previously wouldn’t have been able to work on,” said Brinkman.
Custom Alarm is working closely with general and electrical contractors “to make sure that they understand that we can help them get projects, too, because of our designation, so it helps them to differentiate themselves when they are bidding on projects,” she explained.
“Even though it is a bid job, we still are working on how we can develop the relationship, because in the end it always comes down to relationships,” Brinkman said.
The new designation is also increasing opportunities with new construction on the residential side, and Custom Alarm is working closely with local realtors and builders to show how connected homes can make people’s lives easier.
“We are very involved in our local builders’ network and the chamber of commerce, and the community in general, as we like to give back,” she said. “I think people do recognize a business that is community-focused and is giving back, so we really try to be folded into the community in many ways.”
In the connected home area, Brinkman said awareness of the connected home is growing, and that’s translating into more sales, she said.
“Even existing customers are adding services, as we have an inside sales person who is really reaching out to our existing customer base to show them what is available in the connected home,” Brinkman noted.
The company recently added video and alarm verification to its package of connected services with the launch of I-View Now last month. “We are really going to be focusing on that side of the business,” she said. “We feel the opportunity with video verification to be able to integrate, whether it is just a wireless IP camera or full camera system, it gives our customers many options, from a basic package to one that has more interactive things like the locks and the home automation and the cameras.”