KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE

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comments on giving up your own central station
October 1, 2018
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Here is our link for the webinar on preparing your business for sale:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58NCRz74O5o&feature=youtu.be 
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link for our Sexual Harassment training webinar presented on September 20, 2018:  https://youtu.be/_sKL5bM0M0E
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comments on giving up your own central station from article on September 18, 2018
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Ken,
    We have worked with several Alarm Companies operating their own small Central Station to convert their subscribers over to our platform and save the Alarm Company hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. The key is to have in depth discussions with the Alarm Company to understand the processes they use with their customers and to implement the onto out central station platform. We know how much of a culture shock this can be to both the alarm company and to the customers, that's why we at Nationwide Digital firmly believe that a cookie cutter approach to monitoring is not in the best interest of the  anyone, We can tailor our procedures based upon the end user customer and not what works best and cheapest for us.
    The alarm company who wrote to you should thing hard and long and have several interviews with potential central stations. I can tell you that if they don't have all the information and a warm feeling going into a new relationship it will only fall apart for them in the long run. Questions of customer contracts and information can be worked out if they choose the right central to partner with. Nationwide Digital Monitoring has been in the wholesale monitoring business serving the entire United States since 1972 and we know what works for us and our alarm company partners. 
Sincerely,
Aaron Wahrsager, President
Nationwide Digital Monitoring
aaronlw@nationwidedigital.com
(800) 221-0826
www.nationwidedigital.com
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Ken,
    I read your response to “Name Witheld’s” question about shutting down his central station in your September 18, 2018 article.  As usual, your response was spot on about the economics, however, you were again too humble in only suggesting once that he let you review the central station agreement.  You should have begun each sentence with “Send me the agreement for review…”  
    It never ceases to amaze me that Owners who devote a great deal of time and attention to their customer monitoring agreements, enter into a multi-year agreement with their central station without sending it to a knowledgeable attorney.  More often than not, the Owner has never even read the agreement and most cannot even find it.  How to I know this?  The Owner comes to me wanting to sell and, as part of the preparation process, I ask him for information about his Central Station Agreement… why, because central station agreements may have provisions that can delay or severely restrict the sale.  Sometimes it is a legitimate claim on the part of the central (the Owner received six months of free monitoring for signing a three year agreement… seven months ago) but most often it is a provision (or numerous provisions) that the central station slipped into the agreement.  If Ken would have reviewed the agreement, these provisions would have been modified, or would have died a quick death on the floor of his office, while the Dealer was still a prospect. 
    What are these provisions?  Best to call Ken and find out, before you sell, before you decide to switch central stations, before you make any decisions that affect your largest and most critical supplier. 
Mitch Reitman
Reitman Consulting Group
Fort Worth, TX
817-698-9999
http://www.reitman.us
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Ken
    I would like to comment on your article on September 18, 2018 regarding alarm companies closing their own central station.  Rapid Response help’s close 12-15 central stations a year, some as small as 1000 accounts others in 100K or more class.  Over the years, we have developed a process to do these so that they go smooth. Every one of these centers is different both from a technology perspective but also operationally. Many of these operators have been running their own centers for 30 plus years and they have become living and breathing organizations, each one with unique needs and services.  
    When it comes to automation systems, while it might seem at the surface that using the same platform might make some sense the reality is that every platform can be set up entirely different between centers and not all automation software is created equal.  Just about every dealer I have ever worked with needs or wants something special or custom in the way events are processed and  what’s much more important than the brand is how is the center using the application, just because a center for example is using Bold or MAS doesn’t mean that all the features are available or that the center will allow it or even knows how to support what you need.
    As part of your interview process take the time to understand everything that is available or not available for you to use.   This is not only signal processing but dealer and consumer facing applications, reporting, SMS, voice logging and IVR just to name a few.
    Rapid Response uses the SGS Stages platform but we use it completely differently that other Stages users as we have our own development team writing all customer/dealer facing applications as well as a dozen other in-house application to help your business thrive.  We also do dozens of custom integrations every month with platforms like sales force and other CRM/ERP applications. This allows us to be able to quickly produce custom solutions where others might not be able to or could take months and months to be done by the automation providers.
    Additionally, how the data is converted or entered is equally important, if you are re-entering everything by hand you will undoubtable be plagued with "phat phinger" mistakes, alternately if the center does not know how to convert data properly then that will also create mess. Make sure the center has a dedicated team of experts assigned to manage the process and make sure they have a real track record in knowing how to do a shut down because it’s not the same as moving a dealer from one wholesale center to another.   With Rapid Response you not only get a dedicated seasoned transfer team you get a real software development team to convert the data accurately and efficiently.
    Other things to consider is a transfer team going to come to your offices before, during and after a shutdown like this.  If you are working with someone and they are not going to send people to your site first to see how things are being done then run. Every central station shutdown I have been involved with had their own ethos, culture and operators all had their own tribal knowledge that is never documented anywhere. This all has to be translated and figured out in advance of the transfer so that once the transfer is done the subscribers are the least impacted.
    I would also question your 25K number to continue to keep your own center open, I don’t think when you look at the numbers objectively you can justify 10 times that in today’s fast moving IT centric environments, at the very least someone should be looking at hosting or something to help defray those costs and let the alarm companies do what they do best with is sales and service not running a call center.
    Thanks for all the work in the industry..
Morgan Hertel, VP of Technology and Innovation
Rapid Response Monitoring
877-553-4531
mhertel@rrms.com
www.rrms.com
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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
ken@kirschenbaumesq.com
516 747 6700
www.KirschenbaumEsq.com