Getting Your Foot in the Entry Controls Door


As a nation, we have never been more mindful of security than we are today. This new level of consciousness has created a world of opportunity for companies that can help people and businesses feel safer and more secure.

The market for entry control systems includes everything from single-family homes to multibuilding commercial and industrial complexes. There’s plenty of room for smart dealers and integrators to carve out a profitable niche and lock in a share of a market that’s expected to be booming for a long time to come.

Who’s in the market for entry and access control? Just about everyone from security and safety-conscious homeowners to the operations and logistics managers of your community’s largest companies, industries and institutions.

With today’s entry and access control systems, you can offer your customers a new world of possibilities that make their lives easier and their homes, businesses and communities more secure.

Gates that open automatically can control access for a single-family home, a gated community, the parking garage for a condominium or office building, or shipping and receiving at a warehouse. Systems can be as simple as a keypad or card reader, or as complex as a fully integrated system programmed to recognize tenants or employees, admit authorized vendors or service people, greet visitors or immediately report security breaches.

There’s an ever-growing array of smart products that can take over functions people used to have to do manually. This ranges from granting or denying access, to automatically opening and closing certain entry points at certain times. This allows for areas like a health club in a motel or the employee break room to automatically open and close at a preprogrammed time each day.

With technology advancing, the commercial construction market once again booming and the residential construction market expected to be strong and healthy well into the next decade, now is a great time to get your foot in the door of the entry control business.

How to Get Started and Where to Focus Your Energy
Although most dealers tend to specialize in either residential or commercial installations, products and applications are usually dictated more by the size and complexity of the job. Still, specializing in one area or the other may make good sense because it will help you make the most of your resources and marketing budget. Focusing on one particular area gives you an opportunity to really become an expert in the segment you’re targeting.

How do you decide? Part of your decision may be driven by the kind of customers you’re serving now, the economy and composition of your local community, and the network of people you do business with.

Despite rising materials costs and climbing interest rates, the construction forecast for 2006 calls for nonresidential construction as a whole to grow almost twice as fast as 2005’s 3.7-percent pace, according to Kermit Baker, the chief economist for the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Commercial construction is expected to grow a whopping 9 percent, with double-digit gains in office and hotel facilities. Institutional construction is expected to be up about 4.4 percent, with education and health-care construction growing around 6 percent.

Homeland Security grants have also injected a welcome dose of funding into the commercial market, with nearly half of installing dealers reporting they’ve benefited in some way from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funds.

The residential market includes everything from single-family homes to condominium and apartment complexes. In many parts of the country, particularly in suburban and rural areas, there’s a strong trend toward gated communities that offer their residents a higher degree of safety and security — along with the prestige of living in a limited-access community. There are also a growing number of multiuse communities where single-family homes rub elbows with townhomes and condos, and huge complexes that more closely resemble mini-cities than housing developments.

These days, many single-family housing communities include a wide range of facilities, including community centers, pools, recreation centers and other areas that need controled entry. Aging baby boomers are also changing the face of housing, as 55+ communities tend to be so heavy on amenities it would be easy to mistake them for a resort. All of these communities have multiple access points that could benefit from your expertise in providing systems to control entry.

Residential construction is expected to slow down somewhat from the blistering pace of the past few years, but according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the nation is still expected to add about 2 million new single-family homes in 2006.

Based on population growth and the need to replace aging homes, the nation is expected to need more than 50 million new homes by 2030. You can get a good idea of expected construction activity in your area by checking with your state homebuilders’ association.

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