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Fire alarm installation contracted by architect or owner / Rolling service into inspection charges – don’t do it
February 4, 2021
NOTICE:  K&K has two clients looking to sell alarm accounts.  One company is near Orlando FL and the other outskirts of Miami FL.  More details in The Alarm Exchange in the Merger and Acquisition category.
Fire alarm installation contracted by architect or owner
          We recently had an architect that signed our proposal and paying us to install a fire system for a building, which is being monitored by another company.  For contracts, who would be responsible for signing the contract for the installation, the Building Owner or the Architect?
 Thank you for your help with this matter
          Especially with a fire alarm you are better off getting the building owner to sign the contract.  Though some architects also provide construction management and some even do general contracting, you haven’t provided sufficient information whether that’s the case in your situation.  Even if it is the case, get the owner to sign the contract.  That puts you in direct contractual relationship with the property owner, who is less likely to “disappear” on you.  Use the Fire All in One if you can.  If you have to sign another contract form I suggest you engage me to review.  If you’re not a Concierge Client I suggest you join and take advantage of the monthly contract review benefit as well as other benefits.  Join here: or call our Concierge Program Coordinator Stacy Spector,Esq at 516 747 6700 x 304 or for more information.
          Too bad you’re not getting the monitoring, inspection and repair work; that’s where you really add value to your business.
Rolling service into inspection charges – don’t do it
          From time to time we get a new subscriber that needs some servicing and/or repair work.  At times we do the work at a reduced rate or just roll the cost into the monthly cost for inspection and testing.  We clearly state that the initial work was done and the cost is part of the monthly inspection cost.
          After reading your article from January 18, 2021, Avoid finance charges and other creative ways to charge interest, raised the question, is this an OK way of doing things or can it result in problems?  We are not charging interest, just spreading out the initial service cost under the inspection agreement.
          I am concerned with more than how you are charging the customer.  It sounds like you are getting a new customer for fire alarm services and doing some repair work to get the system functional, but having the customer sign only for Inspection and Testing Service.  You don’t charge for the repair work but calculate the inspection RMR to cover the repair work.  That’s a convoluted way to structure your “deal”, though should clearly indicate that you did the repair service in anticipation and in consideration of getting the long term inspection contract.
          You should be using the Fire All in One, and I know you do, though your form needs to be updated.  The Fire All in One, like the other All in One agreements, separates RMR services; they are essentially line items, each separately charged.  
          Repair service is “per call” and paid for at time of service.  The better way is to use the Service Plan option, which calls for a monthly charge [though you can bill it quarter annually or annually, however you agree] for the term of the agreement.  Repair service does not include inspection or testing.  
          Inspection service does not include repair service.  
          You can’t always count on collecting the full term of your agreement.  If you have anticipated charges for work performed in your RMR calculation you may end up being disappointed.  Better plan would be to get paid for the repair when performed, then charge for on-going Repair Service and separately for Inspection Service; monitoring too.
           You should join the Concierge Program so you have closer working relationship with K&K for contract review - before you sign the contracts!!

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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