Indicated by the 79 members of the CE Pro 100 earning some sort of recurring monthly revenue (RMR), with the most obvious being security-related in terms of monitoring and service agreements, vast opportunity exists for consumer electronic (CE), audio visual (AV) and networking professionals in the electronic security and life safety space.
Many companies are just starting out, incorporating RMR into their business models which leaves major RMR growth to be had within the security market. Even high-volume smart home players earn most of their revenues from smart home monitoring services – we are talking billions of dollars here – offering alarm, integrated fire, access control, video surveillance, and lighting and thermostat control consultancy, installation and on-going services and maintenance.
As the oldest and largest professional association in the United States, representing the electronic security and life safety industry, the Electronic Security Association is THE VOICE of the industry, with member companies employing more than 500,000 industry professionals who rely on the association for brand agnostic technical and management training, advice, tools and services to grow the businesses and prosper to better serve more than 34 million residential and commercial clients. Just celebrating operating for over 73 years, ESA is still going strong and is delighted to share how you can break into the security industry.
Here are the five steps to become that valuable, one-stop resource to already-established and potential customers, and start earning RMR in your CE, AV and/or networking business with security-related offering:
1. Learn about the Industry
Take time and due diligence to learn about the industry itself. The Electronic Security Association (ESA) offers FREE weekly, e-newsletters that keep readers in-the-know of what is going on in the electronic and life safety industry. ESA also gifts its members with a glossy, bi-monthly print magazine — Security Nation — that contains top industry knowledge, statistics, the hottest industry topics explained, best practices within the industry, and more.
ESA’s online platform alarm.org offers an interactive map — with a location-specific search tool — of all ESA members’ locations and contact information across the United States. Choose some member companies near you, reach out and see why they love the electronic security and life safety industry, how they participate in it, what business model they use and why, why they chose to become ESA members and how they are successful in the industry, etc.
One thing is certain about the security industry — people are friendly, helpful and relish in forming strong business relationships with others.
3. Become a Member
While ESA contributes the industry with a variety of FREE valuable information, data, tips and tricks, access to professional security and fire companies, and more, a small investment into ESA membership will position you and your business for maximum growth potential.
Member benefits — networking and best practices exchanged with other members, company exposure, discounts on training, events and industry-specific insurance (up to 20 percent), and the member savings program — allow monies invested into membership to not only be paid back, but value received in access of the dollar amount initially invested.
4. Get Certified
To ensure homeowners peace of mind that theirs and their family’s safety, security and privacy is of upmost importance, become a certified security professional — someone who adheres to and practices a strict code of ethics and quality standards. ESA-Certified Security Professionals receive training developed by industry professionals with in-depth experience in security integration within courses that are focused on practical skills and knowledge relevant to required jobs and tasks.
ESA’s National Training School is open to everyone — no ESA membership needed unless you want to save up to 30 percent on courses — serving students virtually and in-person (pending COVID rules.) The following courses are highly recommended for you and employees to get started in the security industry, get certified, sell and begin earning RMR as quickly as possible:
Certified Alarm Technician (CAT) I – Completion of this foundational course allows your employees to perform high-quality work more efficiently, leading to greater productivity and high profit margins. Students will leave this course with an understanding of the industry and their role within it as well as have the essential knowledge and skills of all forms of electronic security: intrusion and fire detection, video surveillance and access control. (This course is also offered in Spanish.)
Understanding Electronic Security Systems – Learn basic system elements, including sensors, control panels and communications with an emphasis on the need for an adequate site survey. Upcoming course dates include May 25, July 29 and August 18 of 2021, taught virtually with a live instructor.
Sales Courses – While your techs are getting certified, put your sales team through training with the essentials of security sales, a comprehensive, modular program covering the complete sales cycle. Other, more specific sales training is offered as well, allowing your sales team to hone in on the exact type of security offering you would like to add to your portfolio including:
- Commercial Access Control Systems
- Commercial Fire Alarm Systems
- Commercial Intrusion Systems
- Commercial Video Surveillance Systems
- Integrated Systems
Certification shows employees, customers, competitors and the industry that you are serious and dedicated to incorporating electronic security and life safety products and services into your business model.
Create a plan to communicate with already-establish customers as well as new and potential customers that your portfolio now offers security-related products and services.
A popular way to break into the security industry is to start serving the residential market. Homeowners are connecting with their houses more, especially in our current work-from-home, school-from-home way of living, and in ways previously not available such as virtually controlling lighting and thermostats; the home communicating via an app to homeowners should a toilet or faucet be leaking; scheduling window curtains and shades to open and close at certain times on specific days, and more. Consequently, homeowners are looking for a “smart home tech specialist” of sorts — a single, go-to resource for all things electronically and virtually connected — rather than a variety of different companies that only offer a single service.
Whether you decide to identify as a “smart home tech specialist” or some other sort of title, establish yourself as a professional one-stop-shop that customers trust and rely on to fulfill all their electronic needs to reap the benefits of RMR.
Ginger Hill is a marketing and communications specialist at the ESA.