Guardian Alarm acquires in Ohio

The Michigan company’s buy of ADS Security Systems adds accounts and highly valued technicians
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.—Guardian Alarm, a super-regional based here, has strengthened its Ohio presence by acquiring ADS Security Systems, of Concord, Ohio, according to Guardian President David Goldstein.

“It’s an acquisition we were extremely excited to get,” Goldstein told Security Systems News. Guardian has an office in Cleveland, but nearby Concord “is an area where we didn’t have as strong a presence as we would have liked,” he said.

Now, he said, Guardian has acquired about 950 accounts from ADS, which are an even mix of residential and commercial and worth between $18,000 and $25,000 in RMR. Also, he said, Guardian has hired the small, family-owned company’s two technicians.

“First, it enhances our presence in the Cleveland marketplace but most importantly it allows us to pick up the additional technicians, which are extremely hard to find in the Cleveland area,” Goldstein said.

He doesn’t know the reason why, but said he’s found in decades of experience that it’s difficult to find good techs, installers and sales reps in that market. The new ADS techs, he said, will help provide quicker service to Guardian’s existing customers as well as continuing service to the ADS accounts.

Guardian also has hired former ADS owner, Dennis Hutson. “Dennis, the previous owner, is a great guy and he’s coming on as a sales rep for us,” Goldstein said.

He said Hutson developed many long-term clients over the more than two decades ADS was in business. “Everything Dennis did was by word of mouth or reputation, so we’re extremely excited to have his abilities with us,” Goldstein said.

Guardian is an 80-year-old company and in addition to Michigan and Ohio, also serves customers in Florida and Indiana. It has served the Cleveland market for 22 years.

In a prepared statement, Hutson said he’s satisfied his customers will continue to receive excellent service with Guardian. “Also, with Guardian, we have the opportunity to offer products and services that a larger company can provide,” he said.

Goldstein said, “We shared the same products lines, Honeywell and DSC, … so [ADS customers] will be able to connect into our Guardian smart home and all the other things we offer, and it shouldn’t be that big a challenge for us to go in and add to those systems.”

Assisting ADS in the transaction was Steve Rubin of Long Grove, Ill.-based Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group. Goldstein declined to discuss terms of the deal.

He also declined to reveal specific revenue and RMR figures for Guardian but said its residential business grew 11 percent in 2013 and its commercial business 17 percent.

In 2014, he said, “Our continued organic growth is always important to us, but we are specifically looking for acquisitions. We want to bolster our position in [the states where we do business].”