Peak Alarm finds silver lining in slow down

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah--No one likes a slow economy, but it can present certain opportunities for a well-established alarm company, as Peak Alarm has discovered. This summer, Peak Alarm had time to do some internal housekeeping, open a new satellite office, and it's found more companies looking for buyers of books of accounts.

"You have time to assess different departments ... and upgrade processes during a down economic time," said Rick Howe, president of Peak Alarm.

Founded by Howe's father, Peak Alarm has been in business for 30 years. It has 300 employees, 220 of whom are involved in its guard business.

Peak's guards do direct response for its commercial and residential customers in Utah. Howe noted that Salt Lake City police do not respond to any alarms. In places like Park City, Peak guards do direct response for high-end clients.

The company monitors more than 12,000 commercial and residential accounts in the intermountain area of Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming.

In addition to its headquarters here, Peak Alarm has offices in Boise, and Idaho Falls, Idaho; Park City, Utah, and its newest office in St. George, Utah.

"It's a small satellite office. We've been in business down there for three years, but we were just renting space. So we bought our own building and had it renovated," Howe said. Peak employees moved into the new office in July.

Dave Rosales, branch manager, oversees operations and sales for the southern Utah branch office.

On July 1, Howe completed "a small acquisition of accounts" from Security Consulting & Contracting. It was the second acquisition of accounts this summer (the first was from a different company). "And I'm working on two more acquisitions that I should finish in the next two weeks," he said. "We are starting to see a lot of companies selling accounts because they need extra funding."

How do you ensure the accounts are good? "You do your due diligence and I know our [coverage] area really well."

Howe said he's looking forward to the economy picking up, but things are going pretty well for Peak right now. He credits his company's success to his employees. "Our core people are top notch," he said. Another big asset is Peak's alignment with Security Network of America.

"You get a lot of buying power with them, [at meetings and networking with members] you learn about strategies and statistics, find out about trends and new products that these companies are using and like."