Bundle to Broaden Your Security Services Package
Learn how to become a single source vendor by creating incentives for clients to purchase multiple systems, plus maintenance.
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The security industry can be an extremely competitive market. Even when an alarm company wins a contract, project managers must worry about making a profit. This is especially true when dealers offer an introductory alarm package with a price tag of $99 or less. It’s precisely why alarm companies constantly look for innovative ways to sell their products and services, and bundling is one of them. In almost every case, with almost every alarm company that ascribes to bundling, it starts with the sale of a basic security system.
“We like to bundle fire, access and video with our basic alarm systems. It allows us to charge our clients less overall than if they were to purchase these systems one at a time,” says John Larkin, senior partner with Electronic Systems Consultants (ESC), a full-service security integrator based in Columbus, Ohio. “Bundling fire with security also results in a lower monthly monitoring fee than if our clients were to deal with two separate [alarm] companies, which is all too often the case when dealing with government and corporate entities.”
For example, in government and large corporate facilities, it’s not uncommon to have one alarm company maintain and monitor the security system while a second firm takes care of the fire alarm, which always includes central station monitoring. This means the client is paying full price for two monitoring accounts instead of one.
There also are times when a third company sells and cares for the video surveillance and the access control system. By offering the option of bundling all three systems together, right from the start, not only will the client save money upfront on the installation itself, but there will be a single monitoring account which means a monetary savings over the long term. Using a single security company also means there is a single point of contact, which usually results in better service and response times over the term of each contract. Thus, when things go awry, there’s only one company to take responsibility.
Even companies that do not offer basic alarm packages – those that offer custom systems designed specific to the facility in which they are to be installed – often use a form of bundling.
“We do mostly custom installations and our clients do end up getting a discount when we do a complete custom installation instead versus the installation of a basic package with add-ons over time,” says Troy Dillard, president of Dillard Alarm Co. of Fredericksburg, Va. “Bundling all of these things together from the beginning saves them money in the long term and we use this sales strategy often.”
One of the secrets in competitive bundling is the purchase of manufacturer-packaged alarm systems. In this instance, each package comes with all or most of the items required in a dealer’s introductory, low-cost package. As an example, one basic manufacturer’s packaged system comes with the alarm control panel, keypad, an inside siren, two door switches and a single motion. This version also is available in a wireless version. Some manufacturers also include a battery and a plug-in transformer.
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Dealers can request special pricing on specified packages and save money by buying them, especially if they are willing to stock them in quantities. Sometimes the cost savings is significant. Another option is quantity buying in general where the alarm dealer purchases all the parts they’ll ever need in case quantity, thus deriving a huge savings in the process.
“We’re able to do this through volume buying where we receive additional discounts from the manufacturer or distributor by virtue of the amount of equipment we purchase,” adds Larkin. “Bundling as a sales tool has helped us to purchase higher volumes of access, video, security and fire alarm hardware, so we’re able to get a better price. We simply pass the savings on to our clients who choose to bundle.”
There’s no doubt that bundling makes it possible to provide cost incentives, thus enabling savvy security dealers to sell more for less. And let’s not forget the significance of referrals by happy, contented customers – clients who have experienced firsthand the many benefits that bundling affords.
Bundled Access Control Can Streamline Installs
It’s not a huge jump from a basic alarm system that includes door, space and hold-up protection to that of access control. Access systems are designed to institute a higher level of security within a facility and its perimeter by controlling who can come and go, through which door(s), and on which day(s) and at what time(s) access is granted. This is certainly part of facility security and it’s an easy way to sell more for less.
“We like the bundling concept in this regard because it allows us to streamline our security installations and it also offers ease of use for the end user,” Larkin. “In most cases we can achieve both access control and intrusion protection using a single head-end control panel. We also see a big advantage for the end user because they can administer, control and operate the system from a single platform.”
This alone is a powerful incentive to bundle.
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