GMS rolls out dealer financing program

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Friday, July 1, 2005

LONG BEACH, Calif.--Third-party central station General Monitoring Services introduced its first financing program this spring.
The service enables dealers to retain ownership of their accounts and the company to drive more revenue to its central station. GMS targets renters, homeowners and small- to large-sized business operators as potential customers of the service.
The company designed the program so that dealers can offer clients access to credit of $1,000 to $10,000. The money can only be spent on installation, security equipment and related services.
"It's a win-win for everyone," said Tim LeBlanc, president of GMS. "We win because we get monitoring contracts, dealers win because they own the accounts."
The company spent approximately one year developing the program and began a beta test in the beginning of the year. Twenty-five dealers had signed up as of late May.
"The response so far has been phenomenal from dealers," said LeBlanc.
GMS operates a national third-party central station that monitors 95,000 accounts and works with 250 dealers.
Once dealers identify their client's security system needs, they generate an estimate. With the price agreed upon, the customer completes a credit card application, and the dealer contacts GMS for approval and credit limit. LeBlanc declined to discuss any specifics of the partnership the company formed with the bank.
With credit approved and a spending limit determined, the customer then uses the security services charge card to purchase the alarm system and pay for installation. The customer alone is then responsible to pay down the debt.
"What we have is the only program available for dealers to finance their customers and retain ownership of their accounts," commented Dave Hill, vice president of sales at the company who oversees the financing program.
Built into the consumer financing is three years of monitoring fees that GMS receives up front.
A program such as this one is a strong fit for the company, according to LeBlanc, considering the company is already staffed with employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The credit card is for security services through GMS only. If a balance remains on the credit limit, the customer can use it for additional services from the dealer, such as new door sensors.