Electrical shop turns to fire, security

Firm partners with manufacturers to boost fire revenue
Tuesday, April 1, 2003

PORTLAND, Maine - A small electrical contractor based here is making its mark in the local fire systems installation market, signing on with national equipment manufacturers and adding some additional staff to help grow the business.

Town & Country Electric, based here, now brings in about 20 percent of its gross sales in fire installations, but would like to boost that number up to 100 percent, said Larry McMahon, president of Town & Country. To that end, the company has partnered with Fire-Lite, which the company will use as its major panel offering, Harrington Signal and Gentex as a product distributor.

With its main office centrally located in Maine’s largest and mostly densely populated city, the company is also beginning to add security alarm accounts as well. In February, McMahon signed on as a dealer with a handful of accounts with Alarm Central in Quincy, Mass., for Town & Country’s monitoring.

Town & Country’s strategy, while staying in the commercial fire and security realm, is to tackle many of the area’s smaller commercial jobs, ones that other larger companies in the area don’t actively court.

“Most of the other people go after the really large jobs, large stores at the mall, the new civic center,” McMahon said. “You can make more money selling five $20,000 jobs than you can with one $250,000 job.”

To enable that strategy, McMahon was set over the next few months to launch a series of new yellow page ads and plans for a direct mail campaign to target commercial property owners in the greater Portland area. The ads will highlight Town & Country’s new distributorships.

“We prefer to stay with the commercial fire alarm systems,” McMahon said. “It’s been my experience that profit margins are lower in residential all around.”

With one full-time technician and two part-time installers added over the past few months, Town & Country is also tackling commercial security installations, such as two recent installations that featured CCTV systems with nine cameras in each.