AlarmWatch embarks on new program

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Saturday, November 1, 2003

HUNT VALLEY, Md. - In an effort to attract dealers disenchanted with the traditional account funding program, a regional central station here is rolling out a dealer program that offers account funding at the outset as well as ownership at the close of the contract.

In conjunction with a consumer finance company, Citizens Finance Co., AlarmWatch is offering the program to dealers both inside and outside its current fold, which encompasses the Mid-Atlantic, South and Mid-West areas. At press time, the company had about 20 dealers already signed up in the program, with hopes of growing to a volume of about 1,000 new accounts per month.

“What we are looking for is a dealer who is doing some degree of volume who is looking to convert from a traditional dealer program to building a company for themselves,” said Bob Lepczyk, president of AlarmWatch.

The program has also gained muscle from an exclusive equipment partnership with GE Interlogix, which is offering a split funding relationship that matches equipment purchases with account funding. The Simon, Concord and Concord Express systems are available through the new program.

To the end-user, the program, known as the CFC Dealer Equity Building Program works much like any consumer loan, where the consumer borrows funds to purchase goods or services. In this case, the consumer borrows the cost of the system as well as the cost of 36 months of monitoring and borrows the money directly from CFC. The dealer maintains the customer relationship throughout the contract term and is not subject to chargebacks or recourse, said Jim Miller of CFC.

“This is a true financing program,” according to Stuart Forchheimer, president of Homesafe Security Systems, also in Hunt Valley who signed on with AlarmWatch and CFC last summer. “I am not borrowing the money, the customer is borrowing the money.”

An authorized ADT dealer, Forchheimer said he is already installing some systems that Homesafe normally wouldn’t be installing under ADT’s credit requirements.

“There are many clients that we see with non-conforming credit that do pay their bills,” Forchheimer said. “We do get paid less, but we have the opportunity down the road to have a good recurring revenue stream in renewals after 36 months.”

Because CFC is a new lender in the security market, “we want to move a little slow, learn about the dealers and how the contracts and accounts are going to perform,” Miller said. “For our lenders this is most important.”

While Miller declined to disclose what lending institutions were participating in the dealer program, the names are well-established recognizable consumer lenders.