Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all. Hard to believe another year has gone by. Hope you took advantage or yesterday's discount on contracts. It's that time of year again, so here's some thoughts on New Years Resolutions for 2015
1. Update your contracts if more than 1 year old. We made substantial changes in 2014. You should be using the All in One forms. These contract forms are continuously being updated based on changes in technology, services, laws and court cases. As recently as last week the agreements were updated to include issues regarding encryption. This change was of course encouraged by the recently filed class action against ADT. Technology continues changing at a pace faster than than we can keep up, requiring contracts to undergo revision. Your contracts are the most important asset you have in your business. It's your contracts that will protect you from liability and build equity in your business. Your goal for 2015 should be significant RMR growth. Check out what your alarm company is worth at WhatsMyAlarmCompanyWorth.com
2. RMR growth will depend not only on aggressive sales efforts but diversification of your services. There are many different security related services you can provide, intrusion, fire, CCTV and video streaming to name a few. Manage your cash flow better and try and retain your RMR accounts. Charge for installation and keep ahead of the monitoring charges by charging quarterly, semi annually or annually in advance. If you've been selling off your RMR contracts cut back as best you can.
3. Check your insurance coverage. I recommend E&O from Sarrg and Zurich NA. [ which you get through Zurich Alarm Program. Call Peter or Brian Costanza at 800 346 0942 or email them at email@example.com www.CostanzaInsurance.com ] SARRG is available to you if you're a member of ESA. Not all insurance companies are the same and not all premiums are equal. You need to have confidence in how your carrier handles your claims. The last thing you need is aggravation from your carrier's claim's department when you have a claim. Carriers I don't particularly care for are First Mercury and Hartford. Look elsewhere. You want to be sure your E&O coverage is current and in sufficient amount. Take some time to evaluate your life, health and disability insurance needs and be sure to look for competitive pricing.
4. If you are still conducting business in your own or an assumed name you need to incorporate; do it now. You don't want to continue to invite personal liability for your business activities. I recommend a business corporation, sub chapter S election, and despite some accounting advice to the contrary, elect to be on a cash basis.
5. Make sure your license to conduct your business is active and up to date. If you are a qualifier for someone else's business then make sure you have a Qualifier Agreement. Don't be foolish to take on that responsibility without an agreement. And if you're the business owner and not the license holder you need the Qualifier Agreement too so that you can be more comfortable with the arrangement with the license holder. Be certain you know all of the licensing requirements in all of the jurisdictions you do business. It's not enough to get the license. There are all kinds of regulations that go along with that license, many of which affect your employees. Be license compliant and avoid heavy fines and possible suspension or loss of your license. If you need a Qualifier Agreement - call us to get it done right.
6. Review your accounts receivables. It is essential to stay on top of your receivables. You may need to become more aggressive with your collection efforts and procedures. Don't carry subscribers who are in default, which means falling out of their regular payment schedule or more than 30 days in arrears.
7. If retirement or sale is remotely in your future start thinking of an exit strategy. If transition to family members is your plan then perhaps you need a Trust and should start transferring stock to that Trust, or to your kids now. If you think you might sell out then you need to start running your business like a business. In either event, you should be increasing your RMR under contract. For transactional legal services, which you should seek before you start making deals, make sure you engage a competent alarm attorney - give me a call.
8. Try to pay down debt. Manage your business to operate within its means. That's sound advice for your personal finances as well. Working harder and making better sales decisions is a better way to raise money. Selling your subscriber accounts and contracts is like selling your soul to the devil. If you belong to a dealer program or group that encourage you to sell your subscriber accounts then get out and pick another dealer program. If you sell your accounts to your dealer program you may as well get a job with benefits, you'll probably end up with more money, vacation time, health benefits retirement plan and less headache.
9. Make sure you are getting the best deal from your suppliers, and that includes your central station and equipment distributors. Make sure your central station is using the new Dealer Agreement so you know it is dealing fairly with you. So far the following centrals have obtained the new Dealer Agreement: [alphabetically: Statewide Monitoring, Rapid Response Monitoring, SentryNet, USA Central Station, Times are tough for them too and they are looking to hold on to good accounts, like yours. Be sure you have your own! line into the central station, your own IP addresses and that your control panels are remote programmable. If you pay your bills you have a right to be demanding. Affordable services are available from reputable suppliers; you don't have to continue dealing with suppliers that are not responsive to you or your subscribers' needs and requirements. For a listing of those who want to do business with you, check out The Alarm Exchange. It's updated daily and it's sent out with our daily emails.
10. Get the Standard Alarm Contracts at www.alarmcontracts.com. All of them. They will make you lots of money and protect your business. The longer you wait the longer you put your business at risk and delay in growing your RMR.