PERS Provides Path to New RMR

Welcome to the inaugural installment of “Monitoring Matters,” a column dedicated to the business of and issues related to central stations. Let’s kick things off by taking an up close look at one of the monitoring industry’s burgeoning revenue opportunities, the personal emergency response system (PERS).

In a time when PERS sales are growing at a rapid rate, many dealers remain unsure whether or not they should enter this space. Even security dealers who own and operate their own central stations are conflicted about throwing their hat into the ring.

The reasons for the indecisiveness vary, but all have the common philosophical tone of questioning whether or not it makes logistical and strategic sense to blend the PERS business with the alarm business. When you peel away the layers, you’ll find that this overriding question can be met with more than one answer depending on a company’s existing structure.

Despite Promise, Challenges Exist

If you’re an independent dealer and you do not own and operate a central station your options are easier to consider, especially when it comes to deciding who will monitor the PERS accounts in the event you enter the market. For those who do own and operate a monitoring center, the challenges are a bit tougher. For example, if you are not structured to monitor two-way audio verification and don’t want to add the   infrastructure required to deliver PERS service, you’ll have to come to terms with outsourcing the monitoring. The delivery of the service is only one of the decisions to consider; others also exist regarding marketing, sales and economic structure.

The PERS market tends to be alluring to newcomers for a variety of compelling factors. Many are attracted simply because a professional installation is not required, which also opens the options on marketing opportunities. Although these factors are attractive and can add meaningful results, it’s important to consider all aspects of the business. For instance, you will need to make certain that your liability and errors and omissions insurance covers these new services.

It is important that dealers not proceed so hastily, given the relatively low barrier of entry, to the extent of not giving this element of their business the requisite attention. Once all of this is clearly understood, PERS can be a valuable addition to a dealer’s arsenal of services and contribute noticeable dollars in overall recurring monthly revenue (RMR).

Mine the Various Lists of Contacts

The hidden value of an alarm dealer’s business sometimes goes unnoticed. Through the years an alarm dealer collects a vast database of contacts. To uncover some of these great resources, start with the active subscriber list, previous subscriber list, central station call lists and employees of various commercial accounts. These are all great prospects for PERS sales or recommendations.

In addition to these warm leads for new sales, many dealer service organizations and individuals who have a direct influence on the marketplace should also be targeted. Clients or friends who are in the home health-care business, durable and medical equipment sales and supply, nurses, doctors, health centers, etc. are all great channels as well to sell to or through.

Along with a well thought out and documented business plan, the economics of marketing, sales and delivery of services needs to be detailed to understand what it takes to maintain profitability. Starting off slow to get an idea of the logistics could work well, especially if you have the basic infrastructure in place.

It’s been stated that about 300,000 new PERS are activated annually in the United States alone. Most alarm dealers have the competency, infrastructure and channels to enjoy a share of this profitable market.

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About the Author


Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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