Monitronics reaches into Canada with new dealer program

Thursday, April 19, 2007

DALLAS--"Dealers can sign up today" for a new Canadian dealer program being offered by Monitronics, according to president and chief executive officer Michael Haislip. Although Monitronics has been talking about migrating north of the U.S. border for a couple years, it hadn't been able to focus on the expansion, according to Haislip. Then Patrick Soo, a former Monitronics dealer with connections in Canada, became available and the move began in earnest. Soo is now the director of Canadian operations for the company.
Leading the operation "was a tremendous opportunity," said Soo. "The timing is excellent. There are a lot of dealers in Canada struggling with corporate offices competing with them--and we don't compete with our dealers."
Haislip concurred: "We bring a very flexible program. We let the dealers keep their own names and work their own way. We offer competitive multiples, operational support and training. And we would continue sharing information across the board. We bring something a little different--we don't compete with our dealers and we focus on them."
Monitronics had a "small presence in Canada last year--we have a few hundred accounts right now, but have dealers that we're negotiating with, that are currently in our due diligence process," said Haislip. "American dealer Pro Alarm went up there last year with a summer program and has established offices; they're going to do it again this summer."
Canadian accounts, which will include the whole nation except for Quebec, at this point in time, as the company works to put French-speaking operators in place, will be monitored in Dallas at the Monitronics facility, which is ULC-certified, said Haislip. "We did that in the last couple months, we knew that was an important feature. We worked with the authorities [at Underwriters Laboratories, Canada] to get it done." However, it's the company's intention "at the first time that it's economically feasible" to build a central in Canada.
As for the future success of the company as it moves north, "There are a number of dealers up there, a lot of regions that are expanding quickly--Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario," said Soo. He claimed Monitronics has an edge "because we offer strong support that is lacking in Canada today."
Currently, Monitronics has 450 dealers and monitors more than half a million accounts across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.