It’s simple to add profitable services to your locksmith business
By Michael Simon
Recurring monthly revenue (RMR) is a concept that can grow your locksmith business. RMR is the added revenue, a set monthly charge, you get from providing services – above and beyond simply installing locking hardware and moving onto the next job. It’s a way to protect your company with additional predictable income if hardware installations slow or the economy experiences a downturn. RMR is also highly valued by investors and lenders, and they look for this component in a tangible and successful business model.
Many companies live and thrive at the hands of successful RMR models, including cellular phone, internet and utilities providers. And as technology continues to morph at break neck speed, locksmiths need to do all they can to build additional streams of income and profitability in their business, rather than simply installing hardware for one job and walking away.
The basis of RMR
You may already be providing some form of recurring monthly revenue service, especially if you have repair and maintenance contracts for customers. Generally, these agreements charge users for expedited service and routine maintenance/system checks or provide discounts for parts and labor when repair is required. You may offer the ability to remotely unlock doors, change schedules and provide audit trails, but with cloud computing you can offer a seamless user experience and easier access through a standard user interface. Being able to quickly and easily get reports on activity from not only one but multiple locations is a key benefit to your business customers.
But first, as we discussed in our earlier story in the August issue of LL, we explained that RMR can apply to a host of different services. RMR of course is already inherent in your service and maintenance contracts as mentioned earlier. It’s a monthly fee you set for services beyond the installation, including convenience functions, system upgrades and other items. You charge a rate, monthly, quarterly or annually for checkups, system software upgrades or other specific functions you detail in the contract. For example, checking and cleaning all magnetic locks, testing power supplies and other functions. RMR is a way to keep you connected to the customer. You can provide a running list of value-add services and when you stay in front of the customer with these services, they become ‘stickier’ and are less likely to cancel your contract. Here are some of the services that yield RMR and can be managed by you or your customer:
*Remotely lock and unlock entrance doors from any internet connection
*Change time schedules for both intrusion and access
*Troubleshoot systems and provide customer service remotely from your office
*Remotely assess system status
*Generate operational and employee activity reports
* Set customized alerts and reporting
* Manage access control permissions and schedules
* Provide emergency lockdown, elevator control, video verification and energy management
Locksmiths already have a strong base of customers. These existing customers would jump at the chance of having one service provider install not only their locks but security and other integrated solutions. Once you get started you can easily provide more functionality than the basic controls and add other new services such as energy management, temperature monitoring, video surveillance and automation – all easily thanks to the inherent efficiencies and scalability of cloud-hosted management platforms. The cloud also future proofs both you and your customer because it’s always up to date with the latest technology and encryptions.
Here’s an example of how you can build your business with RMR. Perhaps a current lock customer is a health or fitness club. They need to provide quick remote access to cleaning crews or for after-hours delivery. They also need to be able to lock out a customer for non-payment, or get a new membership quickly up and running once they sign up. All those services are available remotely, through the cloud and your management platform. And what a convenience and value proposition to your customers when they don’t have to drive to a site outside of normal business hours to accomplish any of these tasks.
Locksmiths may not be integrators and that’s just fine. Some manufacturers have ‘kitted’ or all-in-one products that easily allow you to learn new technology and move into other vertical market sectors.
The All in One Commercial Package was designed specifically to open opportunities for locksmiths. It lets locksmiths add new features as they become comfortable, taking integration one step at a time. They can begin with access control and perhaps video, which many may already be doing, and then expand their offerings as they become more comfortable to energy management or building automation. There are five easy steps to installing the All in One system:
1. Mount cabinet and connect power
2. Connect Ethernet
3. Connect door lock(s)
4. Affix barcode sticker to door(s)
5. Manage the account through Connect ONE® web-hosted services
Having a pre-engineered system is the perfect way for locksmiths to move their business into new areas of contracting and profitability. You don’t have to worry about your expertise and look around for compatible parts for your integrated solution – we take the guesswork out of the process with this quick-start system that’s literally plug and play. The All in One is a robust, cloud-hosted offering that includes eight doors (expandable) of access control, 10,000 users, eight zones (expandable) and more than 200 time schedules. It’s housed in a UL-listed enclosure with power and a safe, encrypted Ethernet communications connection. And it even gets easier because there’s no software to install or manage.
You can also provide for the growing parts and smarts market with the All in One. More and more IT departments and electrical contractors are willing to do the installation work but do not have the knowledge for purchasing the proper equipment. Why pass up these opportunities? Provide the All in One Commercial Package, remotely program the system and still gain the monthly revenue for the Connect ONE® web-hosted service and third party monitoring.
The cloud hosting difference
Cloud services are more robust and comprehensive than a programmable electronic lock. With cloud-hosted systems there’s increased interoperability between systems, which will open a wave of new opportunity for locksmiths to provide exciting and profitable services to all their customers, residential and commercial. The cloud allows locksmiths an ‘easy does it’ backbone. They can standardize on their integrated security management platforms in every market. They can scale up and add services once they become familiar with the cloud-based interface.
The beauty of cloud-hosted interfaces is that they are extremely conducive to entering new services. You can simplify all your customer’s systems across every market. And they can view, control and interact with all their systems and locations on one screen from any web-enabled device. Finally, remote device connectivity and serviceability with cloud offerings provides greater efficiencies for locksmiths in the field. Think of the cost savings when you don’t have to roll a truck or dispatch a technician to a customer site. Cloud-hosted systems help you support all your customer solutions from a single dealer platform.
While it’s true today that customers expect mobile apps for everything, in reality these software applications don’t make customers sticky or add significant value. Locksmiths, with a cloud management service, will be able to provide extra value to the customer with a host of management capabilities that allow them to easily add and bundle services. Cloud services offer a turnkey solution for locksmiths – once you connect your customer’s security management interface to the cloud they have a viable way to add services, while you differentiate your company from the competition and gain a new revenue stream.
The All in ONE can be access control only or integrate and scale up with other features as you gain expertise – taking integration one step at a time. Start with access control and perhaps video, and then expand your offerings with newfound competencies or even through partnerships. Doing nothing isn’t an option. Take advantage of the cloud to keep your business growing.
Bio:Michael Simon is a former alarm dealer who owned and operated a leading Chicago area security firm for some 40 years. Today, he’s the managing partner of Connected Technologies, LLC where he works alongside his son Daniel. The company is driven to deliver on the needs of the installing market and provide contractors like locksmiths valuable services they can offer to customers that yield recurring monthly revenue. They have developed an “All in One” hardware package pre-engineered for quick and easy installation geared specifically for the locksmith to start generating recurring monthly revenue today.