Industry veterans take boutique approach to monitoring

Thursday, August 21, 2003

August 21, 2003

LANCASTER, Pa. - Patrick Egan and Ron Bodnar are launching Security Partners, a new wholesale monitoring company they say will strive to provide more personalized service to its customers.

The two are not new to the industry, having been involved in monitoring for a number of years. Egan was the founder and president of Commonwealth Security Systems Inc., which he sold in 1997. He currently operates Select Security Inc., a commercial and custom residential security systems provider. Bodnar, who Egan said will be running the show at Security Partners, comes to the company from Criticom International.

The two decided to found Security Partners as a means of taking on what has become the norm in the industry, Egan said.

"I am 100 percent convinced that the typical contract/wholesale monitoring company cannot provide what we call the boutique central station services, particularly to high-end residential and commercial and industrial accounts," Egan said. "It didn’t take us long to decide we wanted to go out and locate guys who want real high-quality service, are willing to pay for it at a competitive price and we’ll give them really good service."

By providing a cafeteria-style list of options to customers for monitoring services, Bodnar said, the company hopes to avoid some of the pitfalls that others in the business have encountered.

"The problem with the big guys is that they do really well at just handling generic alarms," Bodnar said. "The problem is that they have so many accounts that their operators deal with those generic accounts 99 percent of the time. So therefore, anyone who has any type – and I mean any type – of specialized need, when that call comes in to an operator, because they’re so used to those generic types of alarms, they don’t have a clue how to process that specialized need."

Security Partners has invested what Egan described as "a substantial amount" in state-of-the-art equipment, including two backup generators and three separate providers for telephone and T1 lines.

John Mack of USBX Advisory Services, said that, if done right, new wholesale monitoring companies can do well, even in down economic times.

"I think successful wholesale monitoring businesses are reasonably profitable when they’re well-run," he said. "It’s certainly a field with plenty of players, though, so it’s not going to be as easy to make it work, but I think there’s still room for it."