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Does DYI mean doom and gloom for residential market
September 14, 2019
Does DYI mean doom and gloom for residential market
            Being in the Alarms communications delivery business I have the opportunity to speak with both Alarm Installing Dealers and potential End Users.
            An interesting thing I hear a lot from End Users is that the DIY guys are hammering to potential end users that the tried and true monitoring model is a bad deal for a couple of reasons
            1) Expense, Residential Burglar monitoring was a service many people found necessary and almost required.  Both adults had jobs and without a MONITORED alarm system, their property was easily broken into.  End users wanted the peace of mind a monitored system provided; it was almost like someone was home watching their greatest asset.
            2) DIY sales hammer on the fact that when a signal is received the Central Station does NOT call the Police, they go down the call list and may try 3 or 4 contacts before they notify the Police.  Nowadays many Police want verification prior to traveling to a location. The SimpliSafes and others of that kind ask “Can’t the alert go to YOUR cell Phone and you make the call?” You are paying $35.00-$45.00 a month for the off-hand chance that someone may have to make a call to the police on your behalf;  you can avoid that expense.
            The DYI’ers also are making sure that the prospects are aware that most alarm monitoring contracts contain language that insures that unless the installing/monitoring company is drastically incompetent, their indemnity is limited to about $100.00 and that leaves a really bad taste in their mouths;  the juice is simply not worth the squeeze.      Understand this not NOT my of point of view, just something I hear so often that it has to be part of a script, and a marketing plan by these alternative forms of Residential Burglary protection.
            The residential Burglary Market has been the biggest casualty of the technology explosion, and I sincerely doubt it will rebound anywhere close to the volume it experienced in the past.  A different mind-set is going to be needed to keep these accounts,  The Baby Boomers which were the principle customers are becoming a smaller segment of the population, and taking with them this business model.
            If Possible I would ask anonymity on this, I don’t want any of my dealers getting mad with me for telling the truth!    
            A lot of alarm companies share these very thoughts.  Some alarm guys are frantic to dump their business because they think the rug is about to be pulled out beneath their residential market because of DIY.  
            I think the demise of the traditional residential burglar market has been greatly exaggerated.  Look, you have to adapt; goes with the times, or in this case, new technology, new live styles, and also new threats.  In case you haven’t noticed, we don’t live in a gentile society.  I don’t know about you, but I lock my doors, even when I’m home.  And so do most people.  Inadequate police response calls for more home security, not less.  The police want verification to prioritize the alarm, so offer that to your subscribers.  
            There were great arguments for using foil on windows.  Since the alarm was intended as a deterrent, not preventative measure, the foil was more obvious than the alarm sticker.  Only someone in [or a lawyer who represented the industry] would notice when the foil had a break or the wires were broken at the contact.  When foil became passé the burglar alarm market didn’t disappear, unless you manufactured the foil.  
            DYI offers cheaper alternatives to traditional alarms, but they don’t replace the professionally installed systems, they augment them.  I haven’t look at the statistics lately but my guess would be that it hasn’t changed dramatically.  Professionally installed and monitored alarms are in about 15% of the residential market.  Do you think DIY has reduced that percentage?  Or, is the DIY market different than the traditional market, perhaps with some overlap?
            I’m a subscriber.  An alarm customer.  My home has a traditionally installed alarm.  It includes hard wired cameras.  It also includes a DIY wireless device.  My circle of friends have similar systems.  Insurance companies still offer discounts for traditional alarm systems, and there must be a reason for that.  It’s obvious that a traditional alarm system offers a better deterrent to loss than just the DIY devices.
            If you think times are not changing then of course you are going to be lost in the dust.  You have to evolve your alarm business, and like it or not, that means embracing the wireless products and services.  Your job is to increase your RMR and it doesn’t matter which systems or services you are offering to continue that RMR growth.  Get with the program.  And, keep in mind that your RMR growth means exactly nothing if you don’t have updated proper contracts, so get them and use them.  

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301