Franchise biz grows in security

Shield Security Systems name to soon be in 11 states
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Saturday, November 1, 2003

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The owner of a traditional security company has branched into franchising his company name and is now set to move into three additional states with the company’s offering.

Ken Jezioro, founder and president of Shield Security Systems based here, began the Shield Security System franchise offering nearly three years ago. Now, with a total of eight different franchise operations in six different states, the company is poised to move into Illinois, California and Maryland with the program as well as offer its current franchisees further opportunities for growth.

The Shield franchise, modeled after Shield Security Systems here, allows someone perhaps familiar with the technical side of installations to buy into a proven model of sales and marketing, Jezioro said, mostly in the form of intense training done by Shield corporate staff. The concept does not assume, however, that franchisees are already familiar with the industry, and provides a total training package. Most of Shield’s current franchisees do not have any background in the security industry, Jezioro said.

What the training - in the form of a 10- to 12-week curriculum - does focus on is management and using a “proven” proprietary software suite for back-end functions, such as account management.

“We found that in making acquisitions ourselves (through Shield’s traditional burg and fire business) that the record keeping of most of these businesses is terrible,” Jezioro said. “We don’t want our franchise owners out there pulling wire, so we train them in depth on sales and marketing.”

Franchisee Tom Ferris, a former alarm company employee who started his own company in August, said he decided to buy into the Shield franchise because of its established marketing elements and the training required to get his burgeoning company, Shield Security Systems of Denton, off the ground.

“I feel like (Shield) is going to put me several years ahead,” Ferris said. “It did cost me money to come on (as a franchisee) and some of it I feel like I could have done it myself, but I’ll be saving money in the long run.”

While the franchise fee is around $30,000, Ferris estimates that he’ll spend around $100,000 to get started in his territory of Denton County and north Dallas, a market which numbers slightly more than 1 million people. Even so, Ferris said a realistic goal for his new company is to have 5,000 accounts at the end of the next five years.

“The beauty of it is that I own the accounts,” Ferris said.

Shield’s training includes sales and marketing training along with an introduction to the security industry for those franchisees that come from outside the industry. Franchisees also experience six days of hands-on training at the company’s corporate offices and offers an optional five additional days on on-site instruction after a franchise is up and running.

Shield Security Systems corporate operations, which monitors all Shield owned and franchisee owned accounts in its central station here, is expecting significant growth over the next few years, as it offers more opportunities to some of its current franchise owners.

In the first quarter of 2004, Shield will be offering 10 of its franchisees the opportunity to be licensed to have 10 franchises of their own in their master territory. The company estimates that opportunity will general 40 to 50 additional franchises for 2004 and about 150 franchises by 2005.