Quick question for your  forum.
    I've had issues lately with what appears to be another security co. targeting my accounts. They go in and try to entice my contracted clients to switch over to them even though they know they're under contract. 
I have already lost about 10 accounts to this competitor so I'm taking this matter extremely serious.
    I have consulted with a local general attorney anf he advised me that this could be considered tortes interference.  He said it is hard to make a case unless the competing company is telling falsehoods or misleading facts about your company. Is this true? Isn't the fact that I have a term contract in place(and they are aware of it) sufficient for them to back off?
    They are basically romancing my customer into breaking your contract!
    What is the best way to address this issue.
     Very much value your opinion and would be very thankful for any input or help you can give me on this.
    It's called Tortious Interference of Contract.  It's actionable.  Your competitor can be liable even if not telling falsehoods or misleading facts, but the case is very difficult to prove because the best witnesses are the customers you lost and they aren't going to be too excited about helping your case.  
    The facts in each situation determine if there is a viable cause of action.  Mere competition is not enough.  A competitor who has access to your customer list and knows your pricing and knows the customers are under contract may have liability.  
    If you are using our Standard Form Agreements, an updated version that has an arbitration provision, my office will support you can bring proceedings against your customer for breach of the contract.  Contact our alarm collection department by contacting Gene Rosen at GRosen@KirschenbaumEsq.com, 516 747 6700 x 303 or Jesse Kirschenbaum at Jesse@Kirschenbaumesq.com, 516 747 6700 x 307 or call our Managing Paralegal Kathleen Lambert at 516 747 6700 x 319 for our Commence Litigation Form to get your matter started.
    Most all of our subscribers are under a service plan. Does it cost us more, probably. However, if we are as an industry want to reduce or eliminate false alarms due to equipment issues then we need to step up to the plate and ensure the systems we installed don’t cause our ‘partner in crime’ ie the PD to want to further enact onerous ordinances.
    Just my 2-cents.
Joe Pfefer, President
Jade Alarm Co.
    Regarding service plans:
    Alarm and integration businesses tend to take two different views on this. One is that service makes money. This is reserved for larger firms who have dedicated service personnel and track costs on service separately. $5.00 per month is ridiculously cheap if it includes equipment. I wouldn’t sell that. Service including equipment has to be based on the amount of equipment and replacement costs of it. Perhaps for DIY or “freebie” alarms with a cheap control and a couple of motions, your worst case is probably $50 in outlay. And then have to argue with subs when it gets hit by lightning or a surge. Pricing is up to the alarm firm owner, but why leave so much money on the table? From what I’ve learned. $15 per month is closer to average on small residential systems. If you have thousands of accounts, each one paying $15 for resi systems, then you have a money maker if your installations are solid and use good equipment. Otherwise, it isn’t a good idea in my opinion. Larger commercial is different. This is priced for the amount and cost of parts. $X for each camera, $Y for each access door, etc. This can add RMR at a realistic profit.
    On the other hand, there are alarm firm owners that don’t want the service or believe, like I do, that it’s difficult to make money on service work. It takes an installer off task, and actually slows the addition of increasing RMR. But that’s also related to company size and we are a small shop. There are many subs that don’t want to pay monthly fees. These are the firms that keep unlicensed and hit and run type firms in business. No growth strategy and no company equity. There are many subs that also don’t want to pay traveling time. We have our own pricing structure that accounts for the first 1.5 hours on site. It’s high enough to cover travel time, without even mentioning it. Considering most service calls take less than a half hour. It looks good and we win.  We will write commercial service contracts, but not small residential. And we always have a trip fee, once the sub exceeds 1 per quarter.
    Bear in mind that the alarm firm is responsible for service on its owned equipment. We lease (rent) some equipment as part of the system, including redundant on site and transmission equipment to our host for cloud based video. It’s downright cheap to the sub, but it also acts as a hook to help retain the client.
    In reality, service for wear and tear is rare. Almost all service calls are the result of outside forces on the system, either physical damage or a surge. Unless you are content to absorb these costs in your monthly fees, be prepared to either eat them or have time for arguing with your subs.
    Thanks for your great work and for all the help you’ve provided us and the rest of the industry.
Mitch Cohen
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