Oct 13 - see below
advice and comment on DIY
I’ve been reading all of this dialog about DIY and the alarm industry and I’m kind of wondering what all the hoopla is all about. I could be wrong and I’ll stand corrected if I’m being naive about this ....... but
I know that RMR is the golden egg of the alarm industry and from a given standpoint any threat to it would seem to be reason for concern. Yet, ..... if you really stop and think about it, what home or business related hands-on trade can you think of, that doesn’t have DIY’ers performing their own work? Thousands of Home Depot, Lowes and hardware stores thrive because of DIY .....don’t they? Also, ( only remembered by those of us who have been around for longer than we perhaps should be) there was a time before RMR, that alarm companies existed and thrived. Many/most of the people in the alarm trade today don’t have that memory because they joined the trade after RMR had been established and it’s understandable that they would be concerned about a (perceived) threat to it. In addition, pricing has de-volved to the point that installation prices are based on the future profit and income from RMR. However, plumbers, carpenters, HVAC, masons, landscapers and all the other trades still thrive and the world moves on ...... doesn’t it? There are always going to be people who do their own work .... in every trade. So what’s so different about the alarm trade?
Will DIY affect it? Sure, but I don’t think we’ll ever be able to measure how much because we’ll never know how many of those that do their own alarm work would ever have had a professional alarm installed. But, on the other hand, we’ll never know how many of those who wouldn’t have had a professional system installed and after failing to be satisfied with their DIY project or those who have been made aware of security because of the advertising, but decide to have a system installed .... instead. I’ve run into a few of both.
I think that the DIY phenomena in the alarm trade is notable only because it’s new to THIS trade and those in the trade who are of the newer generation, that were never without it, have not built their business based on using their RMR as a separate profit center from their installations. But as understandable as that is ... it doesn’t mean that DIY.... IS a threat that will materialize into the destruction of the alarm installation trade.. All in all, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to measure how much it will affect the bottom line and there’s not much we can do about it. It’s just like the "free alarm" craze that happened so many years ago. It was going to put everyone out of business and all the other unrealized predictions ( some WERE realized :-). Some have fallen by the wayside but probably would have anyway .... but regardless, a whole new aspect of the alarm trade was created ..... and we’re all still here. I’m thinking that this DIY surge will do the same thing and it too won’t be a total and absolute detriment. As with the "free alarm" model, some will join it, some will not, some will fail and some will excel. What’s new?
As far as DIY monitoring ..... I think that will take some time to sort out. Most DIY’ers only learn what is absoluetly necessary to install their particular system. They never consider the cost ( in the amount of their time spent) of their learning curve compared to what it would cost to have a professional do the job. Avoiding the monthly monitoring fee is, I think, the biggest incentive for them. However, it's typical that once they learn the minimum amount of information about what it takes to install their system, it is quickly forgotten by most of them. When a problem occurs in the future, they’ve got to almost start from scratch and learn much of their information all over again. This often means a deteriorating system over time. This also says that they’ll likely not consider learning enough about the "standards" of the alarm trade, nor consider what the overall and cumulative consequences of their false alarms and alarm troubles will have on their community services. So .... I’m speculating that it will likely and ultimately involve a growing wave of legislation and legal maneuvering as a result of unsupervised and uncontrolled installations by end users who have no feel, understanding or knowledge of what the results of their lack of understanding ( or concern) of the effects on neighbors, police and fire responders in their community. It’ll take awhile, but it’s inevitable that it will travel the path of bureaucratic rules, laws and legislation. And the insurance companies will have their say also.
To me, if anyone is really worried about DIY, then I’d suggest that you take steps to not be a "one trick pony" and diversify. Educate yourself in all of the new technology. In all of the 45 years I’ve been in this industry I have not and never have been affected by recessions or by any economic declines in spending. I find that if, during a presentation for installing an alarm system I begin to mention the fact that I can give them remote control of their alarm system and their overhead garage door and that I can install computers and enhance WiFi computer networks so their Ipods and Cell phones will work better, install CCTV cameras, TV’s, home theater systems and IPhone controlled whole house audio, garage doors, thermostats, locks, along with automated lighting ........ and integrate it all, ..... they quickly realize and ultimately know that they don’t have to call in half a dozen other people to provide these services and they themselves would hardly have the skills, knowledge and ability to perform all of these services, installations and integration themselves.
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