Was at my sister In laws this week helping her with new horse arena and saw a alarm company called Alarm Force advertsing alarms which stated "They never send a salesman to your home which trys to jack up cost of alarm and sells you items you do not need"
Intresting concept what do they do sell one kit does everyone get all deatails over phone pay installer when done deal?
Nick, Alarmforce has a very high presence here in Canada. They are a very large player in the field, who promote the "two doors and one motion" security concept very heavily, and have been very successful selling what you and I would consider to be a terribly deficient system into the low end residential market. Their systems are typically non-supervised wireless systems, installed as rental units for $25 a month, with their "installers" doing as many as ten systems a day. They are all about RMR. I suspect, just about every professional in the business would look at their "systems" and gag !! Surprisingly though, their customers remain very loyal to them having been well sold what in my opinion is a very poor bill of goods. I have come in after the fact and installed a proper system many times after the client became very disillusioned with their system coverage or poor service (they don't change batteries; that is a customer responsibility, and the equipment is non supervised, so guess how well that works !! )
They are currently heavily into expanding into the US market so you should expect to see a growing advertising campaign in large metro centres. IMO, they are the classic case of the 'lick and stick" crowd, and the company is a triumph of slick advertising over common sense security ! But if the client is stupid enough to believe their approach, then frankly, he gets what he deserves !!
Such advertising tactics as you describe would certainly fit the picture I have of them up here...
R.H.Campbell Home Security Metal Products Ottawa, > Was at my sister In laws this week helping her with new horse arena and saw
On AlarmFarce protected homes, you're supposed to properly identify yourself if you're the burglar. The scenario goes like this...
AlarmFarce "operator": This is the Alarm Farce central station. Identify yourself immediately!
Burglar: Well, my name is Joe and I'm the next door neighbor.
AlarmFarce "operator": What's your pass code?
Burglar: Well, jeeze... I don't know... I'm here to pick up the mail and feed the cat.
AlarmFarce "operator": We'll have to call the owner and verify this.
Burglar: Feel free. Get back to me when you've talked to Fred and Ethel.
AlarmFarce "operator": Fred and Ethel?? That's not the name on this account.
Burglar: It's the name on the envelop I picked out of the mail box.
AlarmFarce "operator": The police are being dispatched. Stay where you are!
Burglar: Yeah, sure... sure... Send the police. Like I'm going to "freeze". What movie you think this is? "Home Alone"?
AlarmFarce "operator": This is a state of the art security system. The authorities have been dispatched.
Burglar: I'm gonna leave this here business card I got off the Internet by the phone. Maybe Fred and Ethel can get a better system from this guy in Florida and install it themselves for the next time I visit. After all, it sure ain't rocket science.
Fix-O-Dent never worked for me. I use RTV Silicon. I don't have a problem with my teeth.
Kind of figured it was a lick and stick outfit. Oh well glad Im not in residential field. I enjoy watching the companys that play the residential game blow each others brains out around here. It gets even funnier and tragic when they think they can all of a sudden tacle commercail and industrial.
Yeah, for quite awhile now, I've also been "cherry picking" the accounts I'll take on too. After awhile, you get a good feel for the ones that give you the most bang for your buck. Leave the troublesome ones for someone else.
Some just don't give you the up front profit margin for time expended either, versus spending labour somewhere else where you can pick up the same level of RMR for a lot less time and effort. Also, some of the pre wire companies do a good job, many others don't. After awhile you begin to know which company does a good job, and their project homes make for good installations with no follow up troubles because of poor wiring and drywall nail problems.
Takeovers can be a good source of revenue (and troubles) if you don't preview the job before deciding to take it on. Most ADT customers have alarm systems that have been pretty well done, and are a delight to take over. Most of these customers have been so conditioned to paying excessive prices for monitoring and service, that the biggest problem is to convince the client that you can do a far better job for less than half the price they're paying !! (ironic isn't it...) On the other hand, some of the smaller companies around don't seem to apply the same dilligence to the quality of their installations and these systems present much more of a "risk" (but not all of course...)
But I guess we all only find out these kinds of things after a few years in the business. I like to think of it as working smarter, not harder.....
I'd like to know how this differs from any other type of monitored alarm?
The AlarmForce "brain" unit basically includes a speakerphone that dials the AF operator and blasts him through the room... as opposed to any other monitored system I've seen where they call back and expect someone to pick up the phone... like Frank's burglar here is going to be dumb enough to pick up the phone?
And assuming he is that stupid... don't these other systems ask for a pass code as well? Or do they just assume that anyone who DOES pick up the phone MUST be legitimate? I really don't see a difference in procedure here.
No, I'm not defending AlarmForce or their business practices or the quality of their systems, I'm just pointing out that this argument is patently absurd.
And by the way... for someone on a tight budget who can't afford a couple of grand to have a "real" system installed in a rental unit that they're not going to be in forever... even an AlarmForce system is a hullava lot better than nothing.
Matt, I think that you and I will have to agree to disagree on that point ! What's the point of spending even this small amount for something that is inherently faulty in design and quality and only succeeds in giving the client a false sense of security. He'd be far better putting his limited resources into quality security products like decent locks and strikes.
I know that a lot of people don't have a lot of money to budget for security purposes, but why literally waste what little you do have.
equipment, with minimal coverage, and it is always wireless to minimize the need for competent installers. This is a slick, highly advertised marketing approach that has little to do with real security and a lot to do with getting the client's monthly revenue flowing into their bank account.
Around here, a decent alarm system goes for about $600 installed...doors, motions, basement windows kind of thing...and it doesn't take too many $25 payments to pay for that, even with regular monitoring from $15 to $20 on top of that.
However, I do realize that no matter what you or I say, or agree or disagree on, this sort of money machine will trundle on and be successful simply because of the propensity of some people to buy into their slick advertising. Personally, I've given up caring about this kind of thing any more because you simply can't protect people against their own stupidity !!
But I do believe that even that little bit of money is a waste when you really don't get squat for your money. However, it doesn't affect me or my business in the slightest...
And if you're in a rental, and end up moving out in a few more months, you have to leave that investment behind, and potentially RE-invest with the next place you end up.
Alright... you go live in low-rent housing where you're barely making ends meet, then discover because of the wonderful neighbors you have, that you have the need for an alarm system OF ANY KIND immediately, and then figure out how yer gonna come up with the $600 or so to get that system installed within the week.
Stupidity? Gee, thanks. How about circumstances? Fuck, a "real" alarm woulda been really nice... and wholly impossible to afford at the time.
Meanwhile, despite everything all the "pros" here say, we never had an issue with our AlarmForce setup for the remaining year we were in that townhouse, and were lucky enough to find a place that already had a built-in alarm when we moved on. Transferred the contract to a friend who lived in a basement suite, the system was moved over easily, no fuss, no hassles from the company.
The business does well in large part because they fill a void that's missed by the bulk of providers of fully-installed systems. Maybe if the "pros" realized that instead of simply dismissing them as low-rent shysters that existed solely on the "stupidity" of their customers, they'd be a little more effective in combating the "scourge".
Just consider yourself lucky that your circumstances haven't outweighed your "stupidity".
I don't know how the bulk of alarm companies have missed the boat so to speak when there are hoards of companies offering these low down two door and a motion systems on the open market. I would expect there are probably a few that would put in a rental for the same kind of money. The difference though is they work properly, and use conventional alarm equipment, and in spite of the poor coverage, would likely catch the majority of break ins. They are usually properly installed, supervised and monitored as opposed to the "lick and stick"approach that Alarmforce uses.
My comments were not meant to disparage those who cannot afford a decent alarm because of income. No one would suggest these people are stupid, least of all me. However, I will stand on my comment that the decision to go with them versus a legitimate security company IS a stupid, poorly researched decision. And just because someone had no problem with their Alarmforce installation doesn't mean it's a worthwhile system. But I grant you, it certainly IS much easier to take over an existing system already in place rather than start the sometimes onerous, high pressure process of finding another company to fit the bill.
It actually amazes me to see how very successful they have become. They are actually moving to open franchises in the US, having been quite successful here in Canada. Wonders never cease !!
Of course the problem is ..... some people take longer to learn what's smart and what's not.
Working smarter is good. But so is working hard. If nothing else, working hard places a higher value on what it is that you derive from your vocation. A very smart man once taught me a lesson that's held true in both my business and personal affairs. " If ya get it for nuthin, it's worth nuthin"
However, I've always been an advocate of working smarter and harder.
I've come in contact with many people who do work smarter, with the purpose of leaving them with time to persue what they really want to do. I'm fortunate in being someone who is doing what I really want to do. Being in that position, the harder/smarter attitude puts you in a unique category of successful people. Some people would describe that as greed or compulsive or whatever. I describe it as contentment, self satisfaction, and being happy with my lifes choices.
Those are the kind of customers that certain alarm companies prey upon. They use the same tactics as "rent to own" furniture dealers, another group of predatory companies who take advantage of the poor. The customer ends up paying what amounts to usurious interest on a cheap, ineffective system. The contract is just a tad less flexible than Lucifer's standard deal and it auto-renews until Jesus comes back.
Yes, our industry is no different than any other industry in that there are these kinds of companies around that prey on the gullible and those who unfortunately don't have the funds for anything better. Up here, there is another growing market in companies that give cash advances on your next pay cheque and who's interest rates would make the Mafia blush.
It seems, natural forces come in to play when there is any kind of market vacuum and the "lowest common denominator" always seems to win.
We have the same kind of rotten companies doing the same thing. The US government has been making noises about regulating these paycheck lenders. I'm not sure if they've done anything yet though. If they make it too difficult to rip people off with that scam I suspect we'll have a bnch of new alarm salesmen running around. :^)
They may seem to be winning but in the long run they never last. I competed with some of the worst jerks in the trade for decades. These guys would bad-mouth decent alarm companies to make the sale, then rip their customers off at every opportunity. They seemed to be making lots of money for a while but after a few years they almost invariably were gone. Those of us who tried to do the right thing are mostly still around.
It's the same way with online sales. The bad apples make a big splash but they don't last. Remember that moron selling Tane switches? Remember the idiot with the Lox-a-Matic? Nassau and Alpine? They're all gone and good riddance. Though I'd never wish death on anyone, Sabodish is also gone and it's not exactly a loss to the trade. I have had numerous ex-customers of his contact me. Most of them complained of being cheated.