A little bit Loud-er now

Loud Security makes three acquisitions, gets new $1.5m credit line
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

KENNESAW, Ga.—It used to be that Loud Security paid for "Let's get Loud" segments at the Atlanta Braves' home games. At certain points during the game, the Loud Security banner would flash and the crowd would be prompted to chant, "Let's get Loud."

Now, company founder John Loud says he'll go to sporting events he's not sponsoring and the crowd will be chanting "Let's get Loud." It's the kind of branding most companies can only dream of, Loud acknowledges. "My real name is Loud. I did not change it. I've had it my whole life, suffered with it, and now I've figured out how to cash in on it."

These kinds of marketing ventures have helped Loud Security, a regional installation and monitoring firm, thrive during good times and survive during the down times, he said. Loud made three acquisitions thus far in 2010 and last month he secured a $1.5 million line of credit from Jim Wooster's Alarm Financial Services. It's the first time since he started his company with a $20,000 personal loan—paid back within six months—that he's sought financing. "We got the funding in March and now we're seeking additional acquisition opportunities here in Georgia. We've got a few on our radar," Loud said.

Loud Security is 70 percent residential, has about 5,000 accounts and 25 employees. On the commercial side, he does a lot of access control and camera systems. He also does managed access, something he started doing on an informal basis years ago, "before it was called managed access," he said.

In January, he acquired Total Protection Systems of Atlanta, which included 650 residential accounts. In February, he bought a smaller company, Adonai Security of Blue Ridge, Ga., and its 150 accounts. The owner, Larry Degrie has joined Loud Security and will continue to service accounts in that area.

In March, he acquired Southern Security and Communications' security accounts (about 240). The company was formerly heavily into the builder market and did a lot of residential wiring. With the builder bust, the company is now concentrating on other parts of its business, Loud said.

Helping out with the financing and deals were Steve Ruben of Davis Marketing Group and John Colehower of Pennington, N.J.-based Mergers & Acquisitions.

Loud said that his involvement in the state association (GELSA), helping out with local false alarm ordinance efforts and being part of Honeywell's First Alert Professionals business has been extremely helpful to his business.

Loud was involved in the builder market, with high-end custom builders, but "not with production builders, thankfully!" he said. As the builder business started to fall off in 2007, he started turning to local home shows to generate business, an idea he got through the First Alert Program's Dealer Development Group.

 "At my first show, I had 22 signed monitoring agreements and 21 at the next one ... those are signed agreements. You also end up with another 400 leads and maybe 50 appointments," he said.