Sonitrol of Evansville launches video company
EVANSVILLE, Ind.—After “dabbling” with different video verification products and services and seeing that grow into a profitable initiative, Sonitrol franchise owner Ken Krapf this month launched a new integration company called Action Security.
Krapf estimated that video verification services currently account for 15 to 20 percent of his overall revenues. “Our goal is to continue to gain market share [with Action Security],” he said.
Krapf, who has Sonitrol franchises here and in Muncie and in Louisville, Ky., said the birth of Action Security had been a long time in the making. “It was a long pregnancy,” he said, laughing.
“We started as an early adopter of video verification products,” he said.
There are strict guidelines about what is sold under the Sonitrol name, so when Krapf’s video verification offerings started to gain traction, he decided to launch Action Security as a separate business, located here.
“It’s my baby, so I oversee both [the three Sonitrol franchises and Action], but they are separate entities with [separate technicians, vehicles, websites and] separate income statements,” he said.
Krapf predicted that in the next five years, video verification will be required to dispatch an alarm in 90 percent of the country.
In addition to the three franchises and Action Security, Krapf also has a UL-listed central station. All told, there are 50 employees.
Action Security offers indoor and outdoor video monitoring using camera technology from VideoIQ, Videofied, Check Video, I-View Now and Axis Communications. Krapf offers some additional video analytics, DVRs and off-site cloud video storage.
All of the systems offer text alerts, video clips and other alert options, and all except for one option enable customers to view live video via a smartphone, tablet or PC.
So instead of the standard integrator model of selling camera systems on the install margin, “we slash the margin to accelerate growth on the RMR side,” he said.
The RMR for Action Security services is “three or four times what we used to sell conventional stuff or even Sonitrol stuff for,” Krapf said.
The range is wide, but Krapf said the average is “over $100 per month,” even for a small system. Add a maintenance agreement on top of that and the RMR is substantial. “Even our standard systems come with a robust maintenance agreement,” Krapf said. “We provide updates and replacements as technology changes.”
He also offers a zero-down option for small video systems. “We’ll do in-house financing under the right circumstances,” he said.
Krapf said that as a Sonitrol dealer, his employees are good at selling RMR-based systems and services. They use iPad presentations that make those sales even easier.
“We have smoking-hot presentations,” he said. “I have a guy who is a wizard with these. He does really cool presentations that are four minutes long that help customers understand the concept [of video verification and the options we offer].”