Long-time lender Safe bets on dealer relations

Friday, October 1, 2004

SAN RAMON, Calif. - Safe, a financial assistance and service provider to the security industry, has revamped the company’s focus and expanded its dealer programs.

The effort comes after the company’s decision nearly two years ago to move away from the bulk acquisition arena and as the market as a whole is faced with fewer financing options.

Now, the company has switched paths, by adding additional services to focus on strengthening its relationships with installers. The company plans on accomplishing this through its existing authorized dealer program and its authorized service dealer program, which offer conventional and non-conventional funding and service options. Either way, both programs are based on the flexibility it offers to dealers.

“Rather than try to fit dealers growth and business model intoour concept of what a dealer program should be, we want to work with that dealer to match their needs,” Paul Sargenti, president and chief executive officer of the company, said.

The program provides funding options to installers, said Sargenti, and has several hundred installers on board. As members of the authorized service dealer program, dealers are not necessarily being funded by Safe, but they are part of the company’s referral program. When a customer calls Safe regarding a problem with an alarm system, Safe contacts authorized service dealers to complete the service call. Those that receive funding as part of the dealer program can also be part of the authorizer service program.

Both programs, he said, have shown increased interest.

“Growth in the dealer program has been robust and consistent,” he said, “and we have built a very strong infrastructure to be able to accommodate the greater frequency of dealer program fundings.”

Safe offers a number of financial options for installers, including acquisition and loan programs, and now will add marketing materials to the mix.

“We were not putting up yard signs and stickers before and now we are doing that to raise brand awareness,” said Karen McQueen, marketing communications manager at the company. “We are now identified by our customers as responsive to all their security needs.”

The company is also planning on adding a branded product line in the future - using products assembled by major security manufacturers.

Sargenti hopes brand recognition will increase the company’s customer base and help attract more dealers to its program.

“It’s happening and that’s the good news,” Sargenti said. “We are very optimistic about embracing a whole list of new customers.”