Low-cost monitoring to fuel expansion

Saturday, November 1, 2003

ATLANTA - A new installation and take-over monitoring company has formed here that has ambitious plans to take its competitively priced, low-cost monitoring to consumers nationwide.

Ameriguard, which is made up of management from some large installation companies in the industry, is targeting the switch-over market with a $12.12 monthly monitoring fee, offered to both its take-over customers as well as its new installs. The theory behind that price, said Larry Stanley, vice president of operations for the company, is that customers who bought a system through a mass market approach are essentially still paying for their equipment with a $30 monthly monitoring fee.

“At the end of the contract no one goes back to reevaluate that you have paid for your system and to see whatever discounts you should be getting,” he said.

While the company has only its corporate headquarters here, it plans to have 5,000 accounts within a year’s time, and more than 50,000 accounts at the end of five years, Stanley said. The company also plans to open 10 hub branches with corresponding spoke locations in markets throughout the country.

The company is able to offer such a low- cost service because it requires consumers to pay a year of monitoring in advance, eliminating the costly overhead of an accounting and billing department. That is accomplished through a partnership with automation software developer Dice Corp. and American Monitoring Center, a contract central station in Greer, S.C., that provides monitoring services for the company.

All of Ameriguard’s accounting and service scheduling is hosted by Dice on a virtual private network, said Keith Armstrong, general manager of AMC, and automatically updates the company’s monitoring information as changes are made to the accounting side of the account information.

Rick Burrell, Ameriguard’s division president for Atlanta, said that the company is looking to have 80 to 85 percent of its customer base to be switch-over accounts, while the rest would be newly installed systems.