2021 RMR Deep Dive: Recurring Revenue Keeps Industry on Top During Pandemic

Seldom has “cash is king” held more water than during these pandemic times. The least scathed security firms tend to be those with revenue streams that enabled them to save or have money on hand for this mother of all rainy days.

2021 RMR Deep Dive: Recurring Revenue Keeps Industry on Top During Pandemic

Pandemic-ravaged 2020 was a rude awakening as to the importance of focusing on recurring monthly revenue that induced sleepless nights for many installing security dealer and integrator companies as well as laying some to permanent slumber.

Most RMR model holdouts surely became believers after witnessing the strain that can be placed on businesses beholden to project-based work or one-time sales in the face of unexpected circumstances and unpredictable economics.

This realization has long been more prominent among dealers steeped in alarm monitoring than integrators immersed in sophisticated enterprise systems. However, spurred by bottom-line realities and technology enablement, that inertia had slowly been set into motion.

Now, COVID-19’s impact figures to escalate the trend from minor temblor to major seismic. Those remaining resistant to adapting may find themselves eventually done in by the aftershocks. The fact is only those providers generating recurring revenue are truly setting the foundation for a company built to last over the long haul.

As stressed before in these pages, RMR (a.k.a. passive income) is not only the gift that keeps giving in terms of perpetuating an ongoing stream of revenue that allows firms to earn money round the clock, it also delivers a raft of additional business benefits.

RMR-based accounts boost company equity and convey value investors and the financial community understands and covets. And RMR customers offer abundant opportunities to sell more products and services to, allowing for “stickier” long-term relationships that can seed positive word-of-mouth that leads to referrals and substantial growth.

Now in its fourth year, Security Sales & Integration’s Recurring Revenue Deep Dive survey assesses the opportunities, challenges and identifies key benchmarks dealers and integrators are experiencing.

During that period there has never been anything as impactful as the pandemic, which came during a year also torn asunder by a gut-wrenching election, civil rights violence and demonstrations, and a record number of hurricanes and wildfires. Against that backdrop, security and RMR had an astonishing year.

According to the study findings, the aver-age amount of residential RMR actually rose almost $60,000 annually for pro providers, and the average RMR per account climbed $7.75. Apparently, more people working from home raised customers’ interest and/or sense of value.

With so many workplaces vacated, not surprisingly commercial, on the other hand, took a hit. The survey shows commercial/industrial RMR more than halved (but still more than twice that of residential) compared to 2019.

Back to the plus side, COVID-19 seems to have stimulated access control business, with a 5-percentage-point spike in that RMR technology sector stream. Fire alarm inspections also saw a 7-point ascent where RMR-based services are concerned.

Take a closer look at all the trends, find out what product features and support mechanisms are most wanted by your peers, and read about offerings from a couple of market-leading suppliers ready to help you earn more evermore essential RMR.

View the 2021 SSI RMR Deep Dive

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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