COMMENTS ON AFA CASE - LEASING FIRE FROM FEBRUARY 8, 2016 ARTICLE
"Right to the Point" Sounds very much like Stu Gilbert.
former owner of All Service Alarm, Hewlett
West Palm Beach, FL
My company was sub contracted to install a commercial fire system in a newly constructed commercial building in Northern New Jersey. I was given two days notice of the final fire alarm inspection and had to reschedule all of my scheduled jobs to be sure I was there to have the inspection go smoothly. At this time I was told that the owner used AFA for all of their other buildings and a tech would be there to meet me, review the system and program the system to report to their central station. Obviously I prefer to get the RMR, but I had no prior contact with the owner and therefore no expectation to get the RMR.
On the day of the inspection AFA had no tech to send and a sales person came to inform me that I needed to program the panel and send signals to their central station, which I would normally do in this situation. The sales person had a multitude of excuses why they could not possibly have a tech on site and was quite condescending and belittling when we were meeting with the owner and GC. At that point I refused to program the panel to AFA stating that I was not accepting liability for doing so. I programmed the panel to my central station and left the panel codes default for whenever AFA could make it to the site.
The above incident has always bothered me, and after reading your email about AFA's handling of a 30 year old leased system, it just cemented my feelings. I am not sure why Robert Kleinman, AFA Chairman and General Counsel would want to make this case public to competitors. Right or wrong this case just looks horrible for AFA. I printed the particulars as stated in your newsletter and will be using it in my sales pitches whenever I think that I am competing with AFA, and suggest that all others do the same.
I prefer not to use full name or company.
COMMENT ON ADT'S FREE SYSTEM FROM FEBRUARY 9, 2016 ARTICLE
These guys that buy into the theory of "quantity over quality" have all but ruined this industry. And it looked like Russel Horwich was bragging about being able to put $100.00 in his pocket for a days work. Where does he live? In some turd world country where $100.00 is a lot of money? If I am going to install a system, program it, make all the connections so that the customer can operate it from his smart phone, you can be damned sure I want to make way more than $100.00 for a long days work. So let's say Russel makes that $100.00 per day, doing five installs per week, fifty weeks per year. That is a whopping $25,000.00 per year, BEFORE TAXES. Seriously, am I missing something?
I knew a guy years ago who was a high school teacher. This goes way back before cellular communication, or even before Al Gore invented the internet. This guy would do installs for the cost of the equipment. He made zero dollars profit (mark up on the equipment) and did not charge anything for the labor. His sales model was to do as many installs as he could, and then he hoped to live on the RMR from his central station accounts. The most serious flaw in his business model, was that he let the price of the equipment dictate what was installed. I don't care how careful you are, when a piece of equipment fails and you have to go back and replace it free of charge under the warranty, you haven't made anything on that job. When you are starting out making zero dollars to begin with, you really take it on the chin. That was his flaw, not mine nor almost anyone else's that I know.
I have railed for years about how the big companies have ruined this industry doing installs for "free" as a come on, and then they whack the customers for monitoring. Anyone in this industry with a brain knows that there is no free lunch. Part of the good news about doing almost totally wireless installations, is that you can truthfully tell the customer that he pays a bit more for the equipment (wireless vs. hard wired,) but the labor costs are almost negligible. Do any of these "install for free" guys factor in any of the costs of doing business? When you factor in the cost of using current business contracts, insurance, association and license fees, and the gasoline and other vehicle costs associated with it, the business cost of every job is something over $100.00 dollars per job. So what did Russel make on his last install?
I tell customers that the labor costs are way down because the wireless jobs are so easy to do. They ask "Why don't I just do it myself?" And of course I say you could, but good luck programming the system. We have to be paid something for what we know, and working for free just isn't the answer. I was watching the show "Bar Rescue" the other night, and the host/star John Taffer made a brilliant comment. This one particular bar was selling BBQ chicken wings for $0.50 each. Taffer showed the guy that his actual cost was closer to $0.80 per wing, and to do that on a regular basis was part of the reason the guys business was in the crapper. Here is what Taffer said that I thought was so brilliant. He said "You would be better off to give a customer a "free" hamburger every now and then then to sell a product at a discount/loss everyday. No one would expect to come back and get the next hamburger for free. I had embraced a business model like that years ago, and it works. I always gave the customer something more than they asked or contracted for. Even if it is just a keyfob remote they feel they are getting some value for their dollar. It creates good will, and the customer isn't getting jobbed by any hidden costs. I wasn't picking on Russel, nor do I wish to engage in a battle of wits with him on your forum. But if I can only make $100.00 a day, I would just as soon sit home and watch Oprah on TV all day and I can't stand that woman.
John from NJ