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#43312 - 10/09/04 09:16 PM Alarm systems  
sparkync  Offline
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 826
Do any of you out there do alarm systems, especially burgular alarms. I've done a little, and am wanting to expand my business.
What kind of success have you had?
I'm trying for different ways to expand my business and after doing wiring for almost 34 years, I kind of like the low voltage end [Linked Image]
Thanks for the replies.. Steve

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#43313 - 10/10/04 01:21 PM Re: Alarm systems  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
In Cali Burgler alarms is a seperate license, that and you have to go through backround checks for every place you get a buisiness license. (Not to mention dominated by large companies with monitoring capability) So for us it would be a little more than pulling some wire, and knowing how to do it. Looks like easy money though. Have branched out to CATV, phone, and data. Easy no hassle low voltage wiring.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#43314 - 10/10/04 01:37 PM Re: Alarm systems  
DougW  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
North Chicago, IL
IL the same... separate license requirements, w/background.

#43315 - 10/10/04 02:31 PM Re: Alarm systems  
caselec  Offline
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 558
San Jose, CA
In my area (same as e57) residential burglar alarm systems are usually installed at or below cost. Virtually all alarm contractors require a 2 or 3 year monitoring agreement at the rate of $25-$35/month. The large contractors (ADT, Bay, Etc.) have their own monitoring centers but most alarm companies sub the monitoring out. The rate they pay the monitoring company depends on how many accounts they have. One alarm contractor I know has about 1000 accounts and pays about $5/month for each account. If he charges each account $30/month he gets $25,000/month for some paperwork. Not bad!

I have been doing voice and data work for many years but have been thinking of getting into the home theater market. Most of the home theater contractors charge substantially more than electrical contractors and they also make a killing on the equipment they sell.


Curt Swartz

#43316 - 10/10/04 04:15 PM Re: Alarm systems  

After 7 years of electrical contracting I have switched to 100% commercial fire alarm. It was pretty easy to figure out the margins since I knew the costs... Not bad and better than electrical. Where I am a masters/electrical contractors licence is required for installs by the state e-board.
However, some local jurisdictions are starting to require NICET certification for installs. I sell the systems by bidding to electrical contractors and more often than not I am selling "Parts and Smarts". In other words I hire an engineer to draw and stamp the drawings. Then I provide the electrical contractor with the parts, final connections and panel programming. In my area at least I can be very competitive and still make better money with much less over head and fewer project/employee problems than I could as an electrical only contractor.

#43317 - 10/10/04 05:01 PM Re: Alarm systems  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
I get called upon to install burglar alarms from time to time. There's not a huge call for it in residential work in my area (relatively low crime rate), but some people like to have one for the feeling of security.

As with general electrical work in England, licensing for burglar alarm installs is non-existant.

#43318 - 10/11/04 12:33 PM Re: Alarm systems  
LowVoltageNinja  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7
Tacoma WA USA
One thing to consider regarding Security Alarm Systems is the Service Calls. A large portion of my installs are commercial applications. I need to provide a very quick "hours vs. days" responce as they depend on their alarm system each night. Also homeowners just won't accept the responce "If you can put up with the siren going off, I can get out there first thing Monday morning"

#43319 - 10/11/04 02:21 PM Re: Alarm systems  
maintenanceguy  Offline
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 300
Southern NJ, USA
as a guy who has hired and worked with a lot of alarm service companies, the late night/weekend responses might suck but they pay pretty well.

I typically pay just over $100 per hour for emergency service with a 1 hour minimum. Not bad when the guy comes out and spends 10 minutes changing a faulty detector - which he also sells to me at over 100% markup.

I'm not complaining. It's not my money I spend and the company I prefer to use provides spectacular service. The owner's become a pretty good friend over the years. He's living comfortably.

#43320 - 10/12/04 02:03 AM Re: Alarm systems  
LowVoltageNinja  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7
Tacoma WA USA
That is why I celebrate the 1 year anniversary of a large install more than I do my own birthday since then the standard warranty expires $$$

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