Supercircuits to OEM for MonitorClosely franchisees
TAMPA, Fla.—Upon purchasing the company in March, Home Service Franchising’s first goal for IP surveillance franchisor MonitorClosely.com was to establish new partnerships and “do some of that heavy lifting foundation stuff that had fallen by the wayside,” said MonitorClosely.com president Steve Kloppenberg. With a full Web redesign and new marketing materials out of the way, the newest step is a manufacturing and support partnership with distributor Supercircuits, who will be OEMing a line of cameras and DVRs for MonitorClosely.com franchises, along with providing training and technical support.
“This provides a true competitive advantage for our franchises,” of which there are currently 52, said Kloppenberg. “We want to change the focus from surveillance being a commodity, to one of a value-add relationship. For our independent franchisees it’s a key differentiator from some of our larger competitors. It makes us a little more agile and quick, and we can seize the customer a little better.”
MonitorClosely.com franchisees generally work out of a home office or non-storefront location, and have virtually no inventory on-hand, which keeps overhead low. “This is what makes the business model attractive,” Kloppenberg said, “and it helps with the net margins. If we had someone who wanted to open a store front, we wouldn’t stop them, but we’d have a consultative conversation with them to make sure they knew what that involved.”
For Surpercircuits’ part, Mike Compton, VP of sales, said the company would be supporting the franchisees much the same way it supports all of its dealers in its SC Black program, but “the thing that’s unique is that we’re OEMing the product for them. It’s a MonitorClosely.com branded product, and it allows them to get more brand recognition. If someone walks into an installation and all the cameras say MonitorClosely.com on them, it gets their brand out there in a hurry.”
Further, because of the way Supercircuits manufacturers its products, Compton said MonitorClosely.com doesn’t have to constrain itself to one or two popular models to OEM. Because every dome camera comes with a detachable ring, for example, MonitorClosely.com franchisees can select any type of dome camera Supercircuits makes and, because the brand is on the easily attached ring, quickly get that branded camera delivered.
“They just order what they want and we put that ring on there and ship it out the door,” said Compton. Box and bullet cameras are branded in similar fashion, leaving franchisees with a wide line from which to sell.
Kloppenberg said the company hopes to add 200 more franchisees over the course of the next five years, and said a down economy is good for franchising. “Executives are being downsized, and often they turn to franchising,” he said. “They have the business skills, and the business savvy, and generally they have the capital to get into franchising. A lot of these people are later in their careers and they’re looking to control their own destiny.”
Compton said he thinks the franchise model could be successful in security, and he expects it to be a successful relationship for Supercircuits: “When you’re out there talking to these folks, you can have a common message and common support program, and when there’s consistency, there’s the opportunity for more success. That’s what I like about it.”