The main GC I work with performs maintenance (of all types) at over 160 gated communities in So Cal. I'm often called in to perform electrical repairs on gates, even before the "gate guys" are called in.
Although I usually let the gate guys handle the mechanical side of things, just performing the electrical work is a pretty good market - albiet inconsistant (but we're all used to that by now, aren't we?).
I'd say that, if you really want to get into it and perform all the repairs (electrical and mechanical), you should probably consider it a full time venture, and be prepared to be on call 24/7. And also, be prepared for some irate homowners and property managers, even if the problems are in no way your fault (we're used to that by now too, I imagine).
The most calls I get are around the holidays, when the communities are putting up all the (badly installed) holiday lights at and around their gated entrances. This tends to be the acid test for an iffy power disribution system.
I don't know if I'd recommend this venture to someone that doesn't like to be at the mercy of the maintenance gods, but there is definately some money in it, especially since most new communities are being built with gates (out here anyway).
As for the actual work, it's pretty easy and has few components to troubleshoot - easy to narrow down a problem, and easy to fix if you have a well stocked truck.
Work on them all the time. Typical problems, poorly installed pavement loop detectors, residential operators installed on high use gates. Lightning damage. Like a lot of stuff I work on, they require electrical, electronic, & mechanical skills. A good install will give years of service with little problems. A good supplier for parts is a big plus. Robert
I am not really that interested in doing it but I was curious why there are not many doing it around here. There are a lot of purely mechanical problems with these gates. They seem to get rammed a lot ... right after the bars close. (2am) The main guy here charges $350 to start his truck and a healthy markup on parts. Even with that, he is not that responsive, a 9-5 guy. They don't really fix much. The other day they wanted $300 for a motor that needed $7 worth of brushes and 2 minutes to put them in. I ended up getting involved because he told my wife it would take a day or two to get the motor. Ace Hardware had the brushes.
Sounds about typical of a guy that is "the only game in town". Around here, lack of response and high mark-ups would get him laughed right out of business. Too much competition.
If the problem is electrical, even remotely, hire and electrician. These gate guys, with their limited knowlege of electrical, would much rather dive-bomb a problem with new equipment than try to figure out a quick and cheap solution.
I must say I have been in a few of these as a "honey do" thing for my wife but I sure didn't see anything hard to fix in there. The cards don't even look that complicated. It is tempting in the vacuum that exists around here, even if I just cherry picked the customers who all had the same hardware. At that point you could carry 95% the spares you need in a tool bag, I did do this kind of thing for IBM so I am not a total virgin.
Most of my involvement with gate operators comes from access control systems. If you work on access control, they control the gates. If you can service both, you avoid telling the customer that the problem is not the access control but the gate operator. The customer just wants it to work.