Focus on fire

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

MILWAUKEE--Able Security Systems changed its name to Able Security and Fire Systems to reflect its increased capability in fire installation and inspection, John Evans, Able president told Security Systems News on June 18.

“Over the past six years, commercial fire alarm systems have become a larger and larger part of our business. It now makes up 30 percent of our commercial business,” he said. In addition to changing the name, Evans decided that his field technical staff should be NICET certified.

“We started in January with an all-out effort to get the technicians trained, tested and certified. The guys probably spent 50 hours of their own time studying evenings and weekends and we invested a couple thousand dollars in each [of the four] for the course and materials,” he said.

Evans founded Able Security and Fire Systems in 1973. He’s a Honeywell First Alert dealer who monitors about 1,000 mostly commercial accounts and does about $2 million in business annually. Able’s footprint includes Wisconsin and Illinois.

He has expanded the fire business “because there’s a little less competition than in the traditional security business and slightly better profits.” Able’s increased fire expertise helps the company land more and larger jobs. “We don’t have to leave money on the table when we’re doing alarm, access, burg and video,” Evans said. “Now we’re in a position to compete on the fire alarm, too.”

Evans said he also likes the inspection and testing business that comes along with fire jobs, too. “That’s the recurring revenue side of the fire alarm business,” he said. And that’s something that’s important these days, he said: “The inspection and testing doesn’t go down with the economy.”