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Smith and Who?

I recently learned that Smith and Wesson was getting out of the perimeter security business in order to focus on its core firearm business. Frankly this comes as little surprise.


October 18, 2011
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I can recall when years ago they started dipping their toe into the alarm business arena.

Their plan was to amass accounts from a fragmented industry and aggregate them and cash in on the extremely powerful Smith and Wesson name. Of course we in Canada have a different attitude towards gun ownership and gun control, which I felt would dilute the value of the brand and its potential for licensing.

However they did embark on an aggressive acquisition campaign and in 2008 they had an exclusive agreement with Nationwide Digital Monitoring to design and market Smith and Wesson branded security system equipment. So their program ended up being more of a dealer program that was focusing on leveraging existing security companies that were using the services of a 3rd party monitoring station. It turned into a type of dealer program with the hardware branded as Smith and Wesson.

In March of this year the program was abruptly cancelled with the approximately 70 dealers informed of the program cancellation with less than 45 days notification.

There are many companies that offer dealer programs – financing, equipment programs, monitoring programs, affinity programs and creative ways on how to finance those new accounts.

Some of those companies can be found on the CANASA Show floor. While there is certainly no harm in listening to find out what each of them can offer to you, just remember that these programs are in no way, shape, or form meant to enrich you.

I am fully aware that many industry experts will tell you that ridding yourself of those pesky clients will not only allow you to lead a fuller, more enriching life, grow your hair back and reverse the clock, but also lead you down the path of untold riches, a stress free existence and you will be that much more attractive to your spouse. Actually none of these things are likely to occur.

The value of your business is your clients. If you are selling them for someone else you are essentially a salesman. You may or may not be well compensated and there will likely be a predetermined period of time that you and your company guarantee the proper operation of the security system and the length of time that the client will continue to pay the monitoring revenue. Your equity is not being built, and you are giving away, or selling away, your most valuable asset – the client.

This streets of this industry are not paved with gold. It is tough and demanding and currently in a state of great transition. What a great time to be involved.

Ivan Spector is president of Sentinel Alarm in Montreal and a member of the Central Station Alarm Association’s board of directors. He can be reached at ispector@sentinelalarm.com.


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