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fire alarm repairs with no contract / more on desperate seller / ISC schedule - at booths
April 10, 2019
Notice:  At ISC West.  Private meeting times are coordinated by our  Concierge Program Coordinator Stacy Spector,Esq at 516 747 6700 x 304.  Call her to confirm your meeting. 
Open Meet and greet schedule at ISC:   Meet me at any of the below booths: 
Wednesday 11:00 am – COPS booth ; 2:30 pm – Avant guard booth; 3:30 pm – All American Monitoring booth
Thursday 11:00 am – Rapid booth;  2:30 pm – J. Krug booth 
fire alarm repairs with no contract
    What are your thoughts on this? We inherited a fire alarm account 3 years ago for service only. It’s a 5 store small strip mall. They kicked the original installer out and asked us to take over service. The system is a nightmare and we’ve been trying to fix constant trouble signals, replacing smokes, pull stations; it just goes on and on. Now they have a ‘ground fault’ signal for the past few weeks so we are re-wiring each store one by one. We just finished re-wiring the 3rd store and still have a ground fault.
    I think we should just bow out at this point. The owner is a friend so there’s no contract. From a liability standpoint this is a disaster waiting to happen, correct?
    My partner says he’ll go with whatever you say. Thanks!
    You have potential exposure for liability to the owner, who is your friend, 5 tenants, 6 insurance policies with subrogation rights and surrounding neighbors, none of whom are your friend. You have a subscriber who rightly or wrongly through the original fire alarm installer off the job. You don't indicate if there were plans and specifications filed, permit pulled, AHJ approval and inspection. With 5 tenants I have to assume there is a Certificate of Occupancy, and in most jurisdictions that means an AJH for the fire alarm.  
    Point is, you can be dealing with a difficult subscriber.
     If you stick to the edict that you are to perform no security or fire work without a contract you have your answer. You should have required this subscriber to sign a Fire All in One before you picked up a screw driver. Because you didn't install the system you would have been wise to select "per call" for the repair service option. With Per Call you get paid for all labor and material, time and material. As long as your get the subscriber's approval of the repair services you should get paid. 
    It's not clear at this point if system problems relate to original installation or your repair service, or both. You are responsible for your performance, but not the work of the original installer. If you believe that repairs required are so extensive that it would be easier and cheaper to install a new fire alarm system, then recommend that.
    The Fire All in One covers installation, repair service, monitoring and inspection. This is an essential document for any fire alarm services. You would be more than foolish to continue any work without the Fire All in One.
more on desperate seller from April 3 and 4, 2019
    As always, your emails are an interesting and informative read. As a company interested in growth by acquisition in addition to our organic growth, I found your response to Anxious Seller provided good insight on specific items that would impact account pricing. 
    You asked about possible other factors that might also have an impact on account valuation. What about the coming impact of 3G/4G (AT&T) sunset that will happen in Feb 2022 followed by CDMA (Verizon) sunset expected Dec 31, 2022, with the requirement for both to be upgraded (to LTE or 5G) by those dates? By my estimates, most alarm companies have between 30% and 70% (some even more) of their customers on cellular radio communication, and will be required to visit each of these customer locations and upgrade the radio communication before these dates.       This is a significant cost in terms of hardware and labor that would need to be considered when looking at a potential account or business purchase. Many of these accounts required a radio upgrade cycle less than 3 years ago, and if they were able to charge their customers for that upgrade, it may be difficult to charge customers again for the next round of upgrades. 
    Anyone else discussing this as part of the valuation process?
Vince Raia, President
EMC Security
    Some guys are worried about replacing their dialers .... and you're worrying about sunset in 2022. If you use Kirschenbaum TM Contracts you have less to worry about because the contracts require the subscribers to pay for obsolete equipment and replace equipment to accommodate discontinued communication pathways. If a trip to the subscriber is necessary the reduction in multiple will be 5 x. That's a significant reduction. Why so much? If you figure $30 RMR, it's $150; not a lot for a trip to the subscriber location and that doesn't figure in cost of any equipment you may need to replace at your expense. 

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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