Fire marshal crackdown means business for installer

Saturday, December 5, 2009

WALLINGFORD, Conn.—With the slowdown in construction, Connecticut fire marshals have more time to inspect existing systems and that’s leading to more work for at least one fire installer.

Monitor Controls, based here, has had a good year, and one of the contributing factors to their “very stable business with predictable growth,” according to John Yusza, Jr., president of the company, has been local AHJs cracking down. They’re catching more problems that need to be fixed, and building owners have turned to Monitor Controls for assistance.

The company, which celebrates 40 years in business on Dec. 1, is family-owned and has 38 employees. It does commercial and residential security (the current mix is 55 commercial/45 residential), its own monitoring, fire, access control and video. Roughly 70 percent of their commercial work is fire. They’ve been Fire-Lite and Bosch dealers for many years.

“We violate every rule of sales. Our trucks are not rolling billboards, we do no telemarketing, no direct marketing, and we have no sales staff,” Yusza said. He and his son, John Yusza III, do the bulk of the sales work, he said. Yusza’s daughter, Deborah Yusza-Sokol is chief financial officer of the company.

Many customers come to Monitor Controls. “Ten to 11 percent of our business is takeovers. It’s usually someone who hasn’t received good service. They contact us when they’ve got a system problem and no one else can fix it,” Yusza said. However, the company does not, Yusza emphasized, go after competitors’ clients. “I don’t chase decals, and I’m not in the headhunting business,” he said.

Once someone becomes a customer, Monitor Controls works hard to keep them, and typically, they’re called in for additional or enhanced fire and security services.

“It’s business 101,” Yusza said. Like the restaurant business, “you’re only as good as your last meal and you’ve got to offer a level of service to keep them happy and coming back.”